Sony Xperia Pro I Review: Is it worth it?

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The Sony Xperia Pro-I is a phone made for photographers and video shooters. It includes a more than sensitive camera sensor than its rivals, as well as software for those who like to accept control over what they capture. All the same, information technology costs a minor fortune, and in some situations you’ll miss the extra computational smarts on offer from the likes of Apple and Google.


  • Light-touch noise reduction leads to natural-looking images at pixel level
  • Photographic camera software puts and accent on transmission command
  • Large sensor pixels


  • Weak low-calorie-free video operation
  • Computational photography capabilities tin can’t match the all-time
  • Very expensive
  • Shots tend to demand punching up in the edit by pattern


  • UK
    RRP: £1599

Key Features

  • 1in photographic camera sensor
    This phone uses a sensor based on that of the Sony RX100 Seven compact, although only 12 of the scrap’s twenty megapixels are used

  • Pro control
    The Xperia Pro-I has three dissever camera apps, based around different means to manually control the phone’southward stills and video

  • 4K display
    Similar some other high-cease Sony phones, the Pro-I has a “4K” screen, with a panel that’s 3840 pixels high


Sony struggles to remain relevant equally a manufacturer of smartphones. At the depression-finish, it’s overshadowed past aggressive Chinese brands like such as Xiaomi. Plus, it doesn’t appear to have put in quite the same investment into software innovation every bit Samsung, Google and Apple tree – which is required to produce a true flagship hit.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I is an example of how the visitor tin can notwithstanding stand up out: by doing something completely different. This is a telephone for photographers and, to an even greater extent, videographers.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I camera does some cracking things. Its software makes taking different approaches to shooting video and stills much easier, and it avoids the annoying side-effects of overbearing camera “intelligence”.

Ultimately, though, I remain disappointed by the results.

Hither’s the problem. The Sony Xperia Pro-I partially trades on the reputation of Sony’due south excellent full-frame Alpha mirrorless cameras – but, even with a better-than-most sensor on-board, you don’t get anything like the post-shoot editing flexibility of those cameras. And the best of its rivals offer smarter camera software, which makes up for the difference in sensor size much of the time.


  • Large sensor, although its effective size isn’t the i-inch claimed
  • Photos are made for editing, not Insta-sharing
  • Good quality, but the software smarts lag backside the best

Let’s start with the Sony Xperia Pro-I’s camera, since information technology’south the only part of the phone that really matters.

There are 3 cameras on the dorsum of the device, and all use decent hardware. There’s a 2x optical zoom with a 12-megapixel i/1.29 Sony IMX486 sensor, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide with the Sony IMX363 sensor, and the chief event is a ane-inch sensor, based on the design seen in the Sony RX100 Seven – a dedicated point-and-shoot compact from 2022 that still costs around £chiliad.

However, Sony hasn’t simply jammed the innards of the RX100 into the Sony Xperia Pro-I. Information technology uses a 12-megapixel “window” in the 20-megapixel sensor. This means the effective sensor size here is actually pretty similar to that of some other phones, including the Google Pixel half-dozen and Samsung Milky way S21 Ultra.

So what is the reason for this? The Sony Xperia Pro-I would probable look quite different using the 20-megapixel sensor size. It would require a larger lens, presumably different electronics to read out the sensor data, too, which may also introduce overheating bug. Overall, you’d be looking at a larger, perhaps even more expensive, telephone.

Sony Xperia Pro-I camera module and large sensor

If you’ve come to the Sony Xperia Pro-I expecting the full ability of a 1-inch sensor, so, you may be disappointed; and you’d be justified. Notwithstanding, we yet get to see what Sony can practice with genuinely big 2.four-micron sensor pixels – figures that rivals can get shut to only by quoting “virtual” sensor pixel sizes accomplished by merging the output of multiple pixels in a Quad Bayer array.

Here’s the proficient stuff. The Sony Xperia Pro-I’s images look more like those of a dedicated camera than only about any other telephone I’ve tested in a long time.

I find this virtually useful when shooting more dim scenes, such equally a patch of sky, where there’s no obvious point of reference for the calorie-free level. Phones will routinely make these too bright, considering mobile image processing typically aims for maximum punch, brightness and impact. The Sony Xperia Pro-I takes a more measured approach. I discover this tends to result in pictures that wait closer to how they appear to my eyes, compared to the Google Pixel 6 Pro.

However, in nearly every example this also means you’ll desire to edit images at least a picayune earlier sharing them online. Subdued contrast makes many of the Sony Xperia Pro-I’s photos appear flat past smartphone standards, and details aren’t brought out of the shadows about as much as a Pixel 6 or Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
The Sony produces nice images, but they tend to be relatively flat-looking straight out of the camera

This “await” is more common with snaps taken on cheap phones; but the difference here is that in that location’s a far greater scope to make the pictures announced how y’all want them to through an editing app. The Sony Xperia Pro-I’s large sensor pixels retain far more shadow particular than those on low-cease phones, offering the headroom to radically boost the shadows without ending up with masses of colour noise or mushed-up detail.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I processing has a much softer touch on than its rivals. In the “bones” point-and-shoot mode, Auto HDR processing avoids blown highlights – this is essential, even with larger sensor pixels. The question here is over whether yous desire a phone that produces images that
often 100% ready to share once yous’ve captured them. Every bit is the case with images taken with a dedicated camera, you can but really discover how proficient a photograph is – composition bated – in the edit.

This specific character is nowadays right downwards at the pixel level, too. The Sony Xperia Pro-I’s images will often look less sharp and detailed when fully zoomed in than those from a Pixel vi Pro. However, much of this is down to Google’s far greater use of dissimilarity enhancement and border sharpening.

Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
Xperia Pro-I
Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
The Pixel vi Pro’s have on the scene is significantly brighter and more than contrasty
Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
Here’s a tight crop comparing the Sony (L) and Google Pixel (R). On first glance the Pixel six image appears far shaper and more than detailed, only about of this is downwardly to the processing rather than genuinely more detail “seen” by the photographic camera.

Far-away foliage looks more natural through the Sony Xperia Pro-I camera, even if many (if not most) would likely cull the Google Pixel 6 movie in a blind A/B test.

Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
The Sony Xperia Pro-I’s Auto HDR can be lax, to put information technology mildly, merely the particular is there to be retrieved
Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
Meanwhile, the PIxel 6 Pro’due south images are made to be ready to share and publish

Sony’s approach is likely to appeal to a not insubstantial minority of people, particularly those who already have a Photoshop/Lightroom subscription. The physical interface is quite old-school, too. In that location’south a neat 2-level shutter button on the side, used to capture photos in all modes bar “bones”, which has an on-screen shutter button instead.

Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample

Withal, so far I’ve only been talking virtually shooting in daylight. And the Sony Xperia Pro-I starts to lose its appeal when you shoot in low calorie-free.

This should be where the larger sensor pixels shine; but, instead, it acts as a demonstration of how powerful computational photography is in the very all-time photographic camera phones. Google, Samsung and Apple at present have bang-up computational techniques. Sony? It lags behind a little.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I’south dark-fourth dimension images are slightly weaker than those taken with the iPhone xiii, Pixel 6 or Galaxy S21 Ultra. While the photographic camera does have a Nighttime mode, it just isn’t at the aforementioned level as the biggest players in terms of shadow detail, brightness and clarity. Here’southward a comparison:

Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample

This phone’s low-low-cal video is also very poor compared to that from the Pixel 6. It’southward only flat-out dark, even at the highest sensitivity setting. This is unfortunate, because video is arguably where the Sony Xperia Pro-I’s “manual” photographic camera software is about useful.

Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
A nonetheless from a Sony Xperia Pro-I video: there’due south no sign of the benefit of larger sensor pixels here
Sony Xperia Pro-I photo sample
The Pixel 6 Pro handles the same scene far, far better. Odd low-cal distortions are a outcome of shooting through glass.

The phone has three carve up apps for the cameras, ii for video and ane for stills.

Video Pro is the one you’ll probably apply most often. Information technology looks intimidating at offset, but you lot can use it like a standard casual video app, if you like. However, it also has above-average manual controls for focus and zoom that make it more than piece of cake to create professional-looking, in/out of focus transition effects.

Movie house Pro takes things a step further, making y’all set each parameter manually before starting a clip recording. All of these remain static, and so focus is your only control during capture. There are shortcuts to focal planes, and you tap on these to switch between the 2. How long this transition takes can be altered in the Settings menu.

Sony Xperia Pro-I camera interface
Sony Xperia Pro-I camera interface

Put some thought into what you’re going to shoot and you should be able to get some decent short-pic-style results from the Sony Xperia Pro-I’s Movie theatre Pro mode. All the same, I struggle to see who I’d actually recommend the phone to for this sort of apply. If y’all desire easy, professional-looking results then you’re probably better off opting for an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Its Cinematic style can pull off tricks that the Sony Xperia Pro-I can’t.

If you want a professional experience, yous’re probably better off with a mirrorless camera. However, it would be impossible to pick up the virtually “ideal” of these for Sony Xperia Pro-I money – the Sony Blastoff A7S Iii costs a load more. Just you could pick up a Panasonic Lumix GH5 with a lens for less.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I’s app for stills comes with a bunch of different modes that roughly replicate what you see in a defended photographic camera, merely each tin can also use Sony’southward Auto HDR fashion. “Basic” mode offers the classic smartphone experience, with an in-screen shutter button. Auto is similar – bespeak and shoot – but you apply the shutter button on the side of the phone instead.

Sony Xperia Pro-I camera interface

Shutter priority lets you set the shutter speed while the camera handles the residue. Manual Exposure lets you control the shutter speed and ISO. And Programme Auto lets you control everything bar shutter speed. At that place’southward no discontinuity priority – the mode I employ most often in my ain photographic camera – considering it wouldn’t make much sense in a camera that only has partial aperture command, in only one of its 3 lenses.

Sony Xperia Pro-I camera interface

There remain a few Sony Xperia Pro-I photographic camera features I oasis’t yet touched upon. Its main lens offers variable aperture, with the ability to switch between f/ii.0 and f/4.0 modes. However, it’s worth remembering that you’re actually getting a roughly 1/1.3-inch equivalent lens here, not a i-inch 1. There isn’t a huge divergence in the bokeh effect/depth of field between the two modes because the crop cistron is so significant.

The f/4.0 mode appears to be by and large of use for shooting video of a bright subject, letting you use a fairly fast shutter speed without overexposure.

And the secondary cameras? They’re both decent – although, naturally, neither is at the aforementioned level as the main, and neither seems particularly remarkable given how much the Sony Xperia Pro-I costs.

The broad produces cleaner images than those from the Pixel 6 Pro in murky lighting, but Google regains an edge in depression light with its Night Vision mode. This is because, again, Sony’south depression-lite algorithms/software are weaker. Both the Pixel vi Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also feature far more powerful zooms; a 2x zoom just isn’t that impressive anymore.

The Sony’southward selfie photographic camera is first-class, at to the lowest degree compared to the Pixel six Pro telephone that I’ve largely used for comparisons here. There’southward enough of particular and it all looks naturally rendered, even in low lighting – as long as you allow the phone use the display as a makeshift flash. You lot wouldn’t think this performance would exist on the cards given the specs – an 8-megapixel 1/4-inch sensor – simply there you become.

Sony Xperia Pro-I camera sample
Sony Xperia Pro-I camera sample
Here’s a quick Photoshop edit of the above image using the DNG RAW file. While y’all can bring out a lot of shadow item, we’re not in total-frame territory hither – non even close (apparently).

Is the Sony Xperia Pro-I camera a smash? In some senses, yes; in others, no. You’re not actually getting a 1-inch sensor camera here. And, while the large sensor pixels allow for a far more naturalistic look down at pixel level nigh of the fourth dimension, the more computational approach used by rivals tin often evangelize better results in the most taxing situations.

However, it’south only video that I find truly disappointing, though. While the software provides for aspiring pic-makers in ways other phone makers practice not, you see very little of the benefit of the big sensor pixels in low-light footage, which generally looks poor.

Here are a couple more samples:

Sony Xperia Pro-I camera sample
A 2x zoom image


  • Familiar Xperia design language
  • IP68 water-resistnace
  • Expert build quality

We’ve covered the virtually important parts of the Sony Xperia Pro-I. How about the rest?

The design is familiar Sony. Y’all get the “monolith” design the company has used for quite some time now, but with Gorilla Drinking glass Victus on the rear and front, plus aluminium on the sides. These sides are ridged – for grip, I suppose – but, visually, in that location isn’t really anything here that catches the eye.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I comes with a headphone jack for audio monitoring during video recording, but you tin also use information technology for music and podcasts. It has some fairly adept speakers, likewise. There’s a stereo pair with decent but not form-leading volume, only enough warmth and bass to avoid sounding thin.

The back of the Xperia Pro-I

Sony adds its Dynamic Vibration feature, likewise, which makes the vibrate motor buzz along to the bass. Merely it’southward a chip silly, really, and doesn’t add together to the audio output, even if you place the telephone on a apartment surface. Gamers might enjoy information technology, though.


  • I of the only phones around with a 4K panel
  • Use of OLED offers rich colours
  • Multiple modes to get the best out of the display

The Sony Xperia Pro-I display is a six.5-inch OLED with a 21:nine aspect 120Hz 4K panel. It apparently renders at a lower resolution nearly of the time, but the high pixel density still makes the pixel structure invisible. I’ve always plant displays of such high resolution a bit pointless exterior of mobile telephone VR, which no-one really uses anymore.

Display colour and image quality are great, every bit long as yous switch to the “Creator” mode. The Standard 1 has a much cooler colour tone and pumped-out saturation.

The panel is an OLED, and then contrast and black levels are splendid, regardless of the manner you decide to go with.

Operation and Bombardment Life

  • High-end Qualcomm CPU
  • So-then battery life
  • Uninspiring accuse speed considering its price

The Sony Xperia Pro-I uses the popular Snapdragon 888 processor, supported past 12GB of RAM and a huge 512GB of storage – which you’d hope for considering how much this phone costs.

There’south very fiddling of interest to see hither. It’s a smashing processor, even if it has since been superseded past the 888+ – and soundly browbeaten by Apple’s A15 Bionic. It scores 3726 points in Geekbench 5 (1109 per core); Ark: Survival Evolved runs beautifully maxed out, and there’southward no obvious lag in the interface. I couldn’t get Fortnite to install considering my review sample seemed to be blocked from side-loading apps, simply I can’t imagine the Pro-I will face whatever issues in this area, either.

Would yous expect anything less for £1600?

The bottom of the Xperia Pro-I and USB-C port

Battery life could be better, though. The Sony Xperia Pro-I isn’t a super-slim handset, but it has the battery of 1, at 4500mAh capacity. While the photographic camera may take up significant space, it won’t extend beyond the whole of the rear, mandating an at-all-time mid-size bombardment.

Its stamina is okay, simply nothing to shout about – which is similar the majority of non-extra-large top-finish Android phones. I have constitute that it will last a twenty-four hour period – just about – without leaving yous with much spare charge to take you into the 2nd. It’s neither great, nor terrible. A shrug.

Charging speed is pretty remedial, too, although Apple and Samsung are inappreciably pioneers in this area either. It takes 28 minutes to reach fifty%, reaching 82% in an hour. A total accuse takes 1hr 46mins.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I uses a 30W charger – far removed from the OnePlus ix Pro and its 65W, 30-minute charger. And OnePlus isn’t fifty-fifty the fastest phone around. According to Sony’due south spec canvass, there’s no capability for wireless charging here either.

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Should you buy it?

The Sony Xperia Pro-I is likely to appeal to those looking for a telephone camera that feels like a defended camera: particularly if proper editing of shots is already ingrained into how you take photos.

Don’t come to the Sony Xperia Pro-I expecting the ultimate phone photographic camera for
single eventuality
: While information technology’due south a stand-out in some respects, its images look flatter than the best rivals straight out of the camera; low-light video capability isn’t great, and there are far more powerful zooms out there.

Final Thoughts

Sony does some interesting things with the Xperia Pro-I – the camera here feels more than similar a dedicated photographic camera than that of a phone. The software offers more than ways to become manual command, the noise reduction is far less abrasive than just almost whatever other phone from any other manufacturer, and images tend to exist spit out as “ready to edit” rather than “ready for share”.

Evidently, this won’t exist for everyone. And it’due south a shame in that location’s limited enhancement of low-light video, which ends up looking dark, even with the highest ISO settings applied. Yous win some, yous lose some – simply you have to pay a whole lot more than regardless.

Information technology’s bully that a phone such every bit this exists, and its differentiating factors are less hollow that I feared they might be. But should you purchase a Sony Xperia Pro-I? Nigh should steer clear; simply if you’re a video producer who loves the idea of a phone that you can utilize as a second camera on shoots, or as a video monitor for your primary one, it may make a lot more sense.

How we test

Nosotros examination every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We utilize manufacture standard tests to compare features properly and we utilize the phone as our primary device over the review period. We’ll ever tell you what nosotros find and nosotros never, e’er, accept money to review a production.

Used as our principal handset during test period

Camera tested in diversity of situations with all modes

Tested with synthetic benchmarks and existent world use

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Is the Sony Xperia Pro-I waterproof?

The telephone has IP65/68 water-resistance rating, pregnant it can handle both submersion in water and jets from whatsoever bending.

Does the Sony Xperia Pro-I offer wireless charging?

In that location’s no wireless charging here, just the cabled kind.

How fast does the Xperia Pro-I battery accuse?

Information technology takes 1hr 46mins according to our testing, and supports 30W power input.

Trusted Reviews test data

We run each phone we review through numerous tests. Below you’ll find the data we generated during the process.

Time from 0-50% charge

Time from 0-100% accuse

Geekbench 5 multi core

Geekbench 5 single core

3D Mark – Wild Life

Sony Xperia Pro-I

28 Min

106 min




Full specs

All the important specs you need to know about the Sony Xperia Pro-I



Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating


Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)


Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Appointment



Refresh Charge per unit





Stated Ability

Sony Xperia Pro-I



half dozen.5 inches






4500 mAh


72 ten 8.9 x 166 MM

211 G

Android 11



3840 x 1644


120 Hz


Qualcomm Snapdragon 888



30 W

Jargon buster


An abbreviation for milliampere-hour and a way to limited the capacity of batteries, specially smaller ones in phones. In most cases the college the mAh, the longer the battery will final but this isn’t ever the instance.


Offering faster download and upload speeds when compared to 4G. Great for game streaming and HDR video playback. Not supported everywhere withal and speeds vary wildly.


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