The Sony Xperia 1 III gives you $200 earbuds when you preorder in the US — and for $1300, it should

Sony Xperia 1 III Cameras
Sony Xperia 1 III Cameras (Image credit: Sony)

What you need to know

  • The Sony Xperia 1 III is up for preorder in the United States.
  • Sony is offering a free pair of wireless ANC earbuds for a limited time.
  • The smartphone retails for $1300 and ships on August 19.

The Sony Xperia 1 III (read "one mark three") is finally available to preorder in the United States. The device will not come cheap, retailing for $1300 with seemingly no carrier partnerships available for device installments.

Sony hopes to justify the price with tempting add-ons to sweeten the pot. The company is offering a free pair of its previous flagship wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM3. They were released in 2019 but still feature impressive active noise cancellation that rivals even the best wireless earbuds.

For gamers, Sony also includes 43,200 CP points for Call of Duty: Mobile, valued at $540. These points are used to purchase items and weapons in the game to enhance your player.

These freebies will be available to anyone who purchases the Xperia 1 III from Sony by September 26.

Of course, Sony also hopes that the smartphone's strong spec sheet will entice potential buyers. The Xperia 1 III is the world's first smartphone to feature a 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The 6.5-inch OLED display comes in a 21:9 aspect ratio which Sony touts as ideal for entertainment since it's the standard that most films are shot in.

James Peckham over at TechRadar was fairly impressed with the display, particularly with the 120Hz refresh rate and the tall aspect ratio, although he finds 4K can be wasted on smartphone screens:

If you're looking for a phone on which to watch films, videos or TV shows, the Xperia 1 III is a great option. The 21:9 aspect ratio also offers something unique for mobile gaming, as it allows you to see more of the playing environment than on other handsets.

The device also has a new 12MP variable telephoto lens capable of switching between 70mm and 105mm focal lengths. Changing focal points is usually something that phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra require two separate lenses for, so it's impressive that Sony managed to achieve the same feat with just one sensor.

Patrick Holland over at CNET found this to be a strong point for the smartphone in his review, saying that the zoom lens "captures excellent photos, especially in terms of image quality and detail." Unfortunately, he wasn't completely impressed with the camera software due to some changes Sony made by rolling the "Basic" camera app into its pro apps.

It's strange opening the Photo Pro app in order to record videos and access a slow motion mode. There has to be a better way. When you record a video in Basic mode, there is a long delay between hitting the stop record button and the recording actually stopping.

The Xperia 1 III has much of what you'd expect from a 2021 flagship. It's powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, so it's quite speedy, especially given its mostly stock version of Android 11. It also has a 4,500mAh battery, stereo front-facing speakers, and wireless/reverse wireless charging.

Unlike its predecessor, the Xperia 1 III will also include support for 5G in the United States, but only the sub-6 flavor; there's no mmWave support here unless you spring for the much more expensive Xperia Pro.

The Xperia 1 III is expected to ship on August 19 and is available through third-party retailers and Sony, where you can score the bundle deal until September 17.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

5 Comments
  • This phone will put Apple and Samsung out of business. But seriously, I've never seen a single person with a Sony smartphone ever.
  • It's unfortunate because, despite the lack of 5G in the US, the Xperia 1 II was a great phone, and I loved the cameras. Sony needs carriers to get on board to help break up the cost and to get it in the hands of more consumers.
  • I owned the original Xperia 1, I now have the Xperia 1 II, and I will soon have the Xperia 1 III. Used Galaxy Notes before that and Windows Phone before that. The Xperia's are the best phones I have ever owned. They have everything any other flagships have and then add a 4k screen, headphone jack, SD card slot, shutter button, no notch or hole punch and amazing pro camera features if you want to use them.
  • I am with note series since Note 2 and also a Sony alpha user. Really tempted to get Sony 1 iii, but all the images and videos in the reviews are very flat/smooth and with low dynamic range. Is this the problem with your Sony 1 ii also?
  • Dynamic range struggles sometimes by blowing out the sky or maybe a light source, things like that. If you change the focus to the sky or light source it's immediately corrected. Photos aren't flat at all, they are exactly how you see them, including night shots. No crazy over saturation, very true to life. I love pics that Samsung and Apple devices produce, but they're not as true to life as Sony. It's a personal opinion thing that I even sometimes go back and forth with. I shoot Alpha as well and If you are used to the Alpha cameras, you know what to expect with this phone. The front facing camera is... Not great. If that matters to you. But I can't imagine ever going back to Samsung, Apple, or anything else at this point. Absolutely love these phones and the experience I get using them and taking pics.