Sony Xperia 1 VI vs Xperia 1 V: The Times They Are a-Changin’

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Intro

The times they are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan sings, and in the case of Sony flagship phones, this change manifested itself in the latest Xperia 1 VI phone. It’s different, but not radically different from its predecessor.

Today we’re going to dive deep into all the differences between the Xperia 1 V and the new Xperia 1 VI. Even though some fundamentals, such as the aspect ratio and resolution of the screen, have changed, the new Xperia is still unmistakably Sony.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it. Here’s our detailed Xperia 1 V vs Xperia 1 VI comparison.

Xperia 1 VI vs Xperia 1 V differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Re-frame the picture
If you put the Xperia 1 VI next to its predecessor, the difference will be pretty obvious. The new phone uses a different aspect ratio, which translates to a difference in size. The thing is, if you just have one of these phones on you, it will be extremely difficult to tell which one it is, especially from a distance.

The design is quite similar, with an elongated camera system housing the three snappers on the back. Even the LED and mic placement are identical on both phones, along with the ZEISS T* logo.

The button and port placement and the materials used are also identical; both phones feature a grippy, textured Gorilla Glass Victus on the back and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on top of the display. The ridged aluminum frame is also extremely similar, and the only perceivable difference, at least at first glance, is that the Xperia 1 VI is 3mm shorter and 3mm wider than its predecessor.

Sony didn’t bother to change the colors either. There are three color options, and they are exactly the same for both models: Khaki Green, Platinum Silver, and Black.

The retail box is also identicalβ€”just a white cardboard two-piece box with a sleeve to hold it together. No cable, no charger, nothing. So, with all this out of the way, let’s focus on the most obvious change: the display.

Display Differences

Where’s my 4K?

This is a typical “good news, bad news” situation. The Xperia 1 VI features a 6.5-inch OLED display with FHD+ resolution (1080Γ—2340) and a dynamic 1-120Hz display refresh rate. This translates to around 396 PPI, which is not the greatest pixel density out there, especially on a flagship phone. The aspect ratio is now 19.5:9, similar to the one found on many modern high-end phones, the Galaxy S24 Ultra being one example.

The old Xperia 1 V features a 4K OLED panel with the same diagonal and Sony’s 21:9 aspect ratio, something of a staple for Xperia phones of late. Well, until now. The 4K panel can do 120Hz but can’t dynamically change the refresh rate. The pixel density here is a whopping 643 pixels per inch.

Sony claims that the display in the Xperia 1 VI is 50% brighter than its predecessor, but we can’t confirm or deny (very CIA like) that until we run our display tests. When it comes to biometrics, both phones use a similar, side-mounted fingerprint scanner (which was Sony’s bane for a couple of generations), so we will have to test it and see if it’s gotten better.

Performance and Software

The vapor chamber is cool, literally!
In terms of hardware, we have the typical generation leap. The new Xperia 1 VI comes with the latest silicon from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, while the predecessor uses Gen 2. The big difference, however, is the presence of a vapor chamber in the cooling system (for the first time in a Sony phone). This is pretty cool (both literally and metaphorically), as there have been some overheating issues in the past with Xperia phones, especially under continuous load.

Stay tuned for our benchmarks to see if the aforementioned vapor chamber works as advertised. Regarding RAM and storage, there’s no difference between the two phones. Both start at 12GB/256GB and offer one additional storage option at 512GB. Both come with a microSD card slot, so the storage can be expanded with up to 1TB.

There’s one big and important difference in the software department. The new Xperia 1 VI features a single Camera app, which houses inside all the pro-grade software we know (and some of us love) from the previous generations. The Xperia 1 V, on the other hand, comes with separate apps such as Photography Pro, Cinematography Pro, and Videography Pro.

This move is kind of understandable, as Sony is obviously trying to cater to a wider audience and make things easier for the normal point-and-shoot crowd out there.

Another important change concerns the software support cycle. The new phone will receive three major OS updates and four years of security patches. Not on the same level as a Pixel phone, but still an improvement.

Camera

Zoom in, more, more, more
On paper, the only hardware difference between the Xperia 1 VI and Xperia 1 V in the camera department is the extended zoom range on the new model. The telephoto on the 1 Mark V offers 85–125mm focal length with everything in between, as it’s a true vario system. The new phone extends the range to 170mm, or 7.1x if we compare it to the main camera of the phone.
Speaking of the main camera, it’s the same on both phones, using the Exmor T sensor for mobile. It’s a 1/1.35″ sensor with a 1.12 ΞΌm pixel size, sitting under a lens with an F1.9 aperture.

The ultrawide camera has been carried over to the new model as well, so no changes here; the same 12MP, 1/2.5″ sensor with an F2.2 lens resides in both phones.

Sony boasts new AI-infused algorithms in the new Xperia 1 VI, so we have to snap some samples and put them side by side to see if the Japanese company has indeed jumped on the AI bandwagon.

Audio Quality and Haptics

The similarities continue in the audio area; both phones feature the same front-firing stereo speakers. They are good; the quality is decent, but the overall loudness could’ve used a bump up. The good news is that the 3.5mm audio interface is still present on both phones, so you can use your audiophile headphones with either of these two devices.

We suspect the haptic engine is also the same on both phones, but we can’t confirm without doing a JerryRig procedure, and Sony won’t be happy about it, we suspect.

Battery Life and Charging

Same capacity but fewer pixels to drive
There’s a 5,000mAh cell in both phones, but Sony advertises the new Xperia 1 VI as a “two-day phone.” We understand where this comes from. One of the most power-hungry components of a smartphone is its display. The older model has over six million pixels to drive, while the Xperia 1 VI, with its FHD+ screen, has only two and a half million.

We will put this battery life claim to the test once the phone arrives on our test bench, so stay tuned for that. On the charging front, things have remained unchanged. Sony doesn’t list the exact charging speed, but we know it’s 30W if you charge wired and around 15W wireless. It’s rather disappointing, even when you compare it to regular non-Chinese flagship phones (the Galaxy S24 Ultra supports 45W).

Specs Comparison

Summary

Well, there you have it. Even before we’ve done all the tests and benchmarks, we can safely say that there’s little to no reason to upgrade if you already own the Xperia 1 V. Things are a bit more complicated if you want to buy your first Xperia phone today or if you’re coming from a much older Xperia flagship.

If you want the 21:9, 4K screen of the old Xperia, as well as separate sophisticated pro-grade software, you should go for the Xperia 1 V. Even more so now that the new model has been officially unveiled at the same starting price of 1,399 euros. Expect huge discounts on the previous generation, and this might be the best time to get the old Xperia 1 V, actually.

But if you want to try the new 19.5:9 aspect ratio and the new size of the Xperia 1 VI, as well as the more mainstream approach in the camera department, you should check out the new model.


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