Sony Xperia 1 V vs Sony Xperia 1 IV: What’s new with Sony’s 2023 flagship?

Sony has lifted the lid on its latest flagship smartphone, the Sony Xperia 1 V. Replacing the outgoing Sony Xperia 1 IV, what’s new with this year’s model?

While the two look similar (read: almost identical) there are a few key features that separate the Sony Xperia 1 V from its Xperia 1 IV predecessor, not only in terms of camera hardware but processing power and, arguably most importantly, thermal performance. 

The latter was a huge issue with the Xperia 1 IV and Sony has worked hard to make sure it’s not the same story this year, though that’s something we’ll have to verify once we get a sample in for review.

So, with all that in mind, here are a few key differences between the £1,299 Sony Xperia 1 V and the Sony Xperia 1 IV ahead of its full release in June. If you’re curious about how it stacks up against the flagship competition, we compare the Sony Xperia 1 V and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra separately.

The Sony Xperia 1 V has an improved rear camera setup

The main difference between this year’s Sony Xperia 1 V and 2022’s Xperia 1 IV is the camera setup, and more specifically, the rear main lens. It has not only seen a bump in resolution but the underlying camera sensor tech too.

While we thought the main 12MP lens of the Xperia 1 IV was fine but not quite as capable as the spec sheet would suggest, particularly with hit-and-miss exposure and unintelligent picture processing, but that shouldn’t be the case with the new Xperia 1 V.

That’s because the Xperia 1 V features a brand new 52MP Exmor T sensor with a CMOS with a unique two-layer transistor that Sony claims is twice as good at capturing night shots compared to its predecessor. 

That’s also helped by the fact that the sensor is 1.7x larger than that of the Xperia 1 IV, and Sony claims that when combined with its more advanced computational photography, it can capture shots on a par with a traditional DSLR. That’s a mighty bold claim that could make it one of the best camera phones around, and one we’ll be putting to the test once we get a sample in for review. 

When it comes to the ultrawide and zoom lenses, there’s very little – if any – difference. Both models sport a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide and a 12MP 85-125mm f/2.3 – 2.8 telephoto with optical image stabilisation. 

Sony Xperia 1 V

Sony Xperia 1 V boasts a top-end chipset

At the heart of the Sony Xperia 1 V, you’ll find Qualcomm’s latest and greatest chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

While we’ve not tested the Xperia 1 V just yet, we’ve used plenty of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-equipped smartphones over the past few months including the OnePlus 11 and Xiaomi 13 Pro and all have delivered blisteringly fast speeds both in real-world conditions and benchmark tests. We expect the same here. 

That’s not to say that the Sony Xperia 1 IV is slow, sporting the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset that was the very best in the biz back in early 2022. In fact, we thought the Xperia 1 IV was super-capable in our review, and that hasn’t changed in the past year. However, it’s not the very latest chipset and as such won’t be able to beat newer 2023 flagships in benchmarks. 

Regardless of which you choose, you’ll get an accompanying 12GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage depending on the option you go for. 

The Sony Xperia 1 V shouldn’t overheat as easily

If there was one word to describe the Xperia 1 IV, it’d be “hot” – and no, we’re not talking about a pleasing aesthetic. We mean it literally got hot, quite often, to the point where the high heat alert would appear and disable certain features. 

This wasn’t always triggered by high-end gaming either, with the alert sometimes triggering when performing basic tasks like downloading files while browsing the internet. That kind of thermal performance meant the chipset would be throttled much of the time, and that’d have a knock-on effect on overall performance but particularly in games. 

We suspected it was more to do with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset than the overall hardware as the chipset has quite a reputation for running hot, but it seems Sony isn’t taking any chances with the Xperia 1 V this year. 

As well as the more power-efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 under the hood, the phone sports a heat diffusion sheet 60% larger than that of its predecessor, and the camera module is said to use 20% less power too, so hopefully the overheating issues will be a thing of the past. 

Sony Xperia 1 IV. Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Xperia 1 V should last longer on a single charge

The Xperia 1 V shares the same 5,000mAh battery capacity as its predecessor, which should suggest a parity in battery performance between the two, but the Xperia 1 V’s more power-efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset will likely see it pull away in real-world tests – but we’ll have to wait and see once we get a sample in for review. 

Regardless, Sony claims that it’s capable of 20 hours of 4K video playback, or for the less video-inclined, an entire day of mixed-use, slightly more than you’ll get from the Xperia 1 IV. 

The charging isn’t quite as impressive, however, with the same 30W charging as its predecessor. That’s fine, but it’s far from rapid compared to the 125W charging of the Xiaomi 13 Pro which provides a full charge of its 5,000mAh cell in just 24 minutes. 

Wireless charging has made a return, as has reverse wireless charging to top-up accessories, but neither is any faster than that of the Xperia 1 IV.

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