The Sony Xperia 1 is the world’s first 21:9 CinemaWide 4K HDR OLED display smartphone. It was announced back at the end of February, but I thought it was worth looking at it a little more closely.
- 21:9 CinemaWide 4K HDR OLED display
- Triple lens camera system with 2x optical zoom and Eye AF
- “Creator mode” and “Cinema Pro” powered by CineAlta
With the growing boom in mobile filming using smartphones, the Xperia 1 looks to be a good option when compared to offerings from Apple, Samsung and Google.
4K HDR OLED display
The Xperia 1 features a 21:9 (1644×3840) CinemaWide 6.5” 4K HDR OLED display that has the same aspect ratio as the cinema. Sony claims that a collaboration with CineAlta professional imaging engineers means it can reproduce colors as directors intended.
According to Sony, the 21:9 CinemaWide display allows you to watch compatible movies on Netflix in the same cinema aspect ratio as they were meant to be seen in. With more people tha ener watching content on smartphones, this is a fairly smart move.
The X1 for mobile engine brings BRAVIA 4K upscaling and HDR remaster technologies to the Xperia 1. Sony claims that streaming content will have more contrast, color and clarity.
The Xperia 1 has a 10-bit equivalent display (8-bit with 2-bit smoothing) that Sony says can display a myriad of colors without banding. 8-bit with 2-bit smoothing, commonly referred to as 8+2 FRC (Temporal Dithering).
This is a way of turning the 16.7 million colors from an 8-bit panel into the 1.07 billion colors that a true native 10-bit panel can display. 8+2 FRC uses various algorithms that flash 2 color tones very rapidly, thus giving the perceived impression of a third color that really isn’t there. This may sound like some sort of sneaky parlour trick, but almost all of the major panel manufacturers are now doing this. Atomos, SmallHD, Flanders, and even your 5K iMac display are all 8+2 FRC displays. 8+2 FRC panels are considerably cheaper to manufacturer than a true native 10-bit display.
The good news here is in reality, 8+2 FRC panels are almost impossible to distinguish from true 10-bit native panels. The only small difference is when it comes to viewing material that was shot in low light conditions at higher ISO values. On an 8+2 FRC display, the image will appear to show more noise than what an actual native 10-bit display will.
The Xperia 1 has a claimed contrast ratio of 1000,000:1. The screen also supports professional level reproduction standards like DCI-P3 100%, BT2020 color space, and D65 White Point.
The screen supports the following image formats: JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, WebP, WBMP, HEIF, DNG, CR2, NEF, NRW, ARW, RW2, ORF, RAF, PEF, SRW
Supported video formats: MPEG-4 Video, H.263, H.264, H.265, VP8, VP9 MPEG-2 (JP)
Triple lens camera system & Eye AF
The Xperia 1 has three lenses with bright aperture and large pixel pitch to capture beautiful images in different scenes and challenging low light situations: 16mm F/2.4 super wide-angle, versatile 26mm F/1.6 and 52mm F/2.4 lens with 2x optical zoom.
Sony has brought Alpha technologies to the Xperia 1. Using a BIONZ X mobile image-processing engine the phone features RAW noise reduction and the world´s first Eye AF (Auto Focus) and 10FPS AF/AE (Auto Focus and Auto Exposure).
The smartphone gives you full manual control of shutter speed and ISO
and you can even do up to 30-second long exposures.
4K Cinema Pro HDR Video
The Xperia 1 can record in 4K HDR, that Sony claims can be captured with exceptional dynamic range and contrast, and true to life colors, even in backlit scenes or low light.
The Xperia 1 also features a hybrid stabilization system that combines optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization simultaneously. This only works when using the 26mm and 52mm lenses. It doesn’t work with the 16mm.
You can record movies with the same parameters and color settings as the professional
This may be a bit of a stretch, but Sony claims that “You can record movies with the same parameters and color settings as the professionals.” By using expertise from Sony’s Digital motion picture camera engineers, the smartphone has LOOK color settings, a 21:9 ratio, 4K HDR and 24fps capabilities.
The smartphone can capture 960 fps Super slow motion video (FHD/HD).
The LOOK color settings is a collection of eight different color settings you can use to film in cinema style looks. One of these looks is actually called VENICE CS.
For storing your videos, the Xperia 1 has 128GB of UFS memory and microSDXC support (up to 512GB).
Sound to match the pictures
The Xperia 1 features Cinematic multi-dimensional sound from Dolby Atmos. This way you can watch your movies and also get a better audio experience.
Price and Avalability
The Xperia X1 is expected to start shipping in the northern hemisphere spring, but so far Sony hasn’t announced any pricing. It is probably safe to assume that it will cost at least $1000 USD.