Best Sony phones 2021: find the right Sony Xperia smartphone for you

Our ranking of the best Sony phones is easily topped by the Sony Xperia 1 III now. It’s very expensive so it won’t be for everyone, but that’s where the rest of our guide comes in.

Best phones by brand

Huawei phones


LG phones

Motorola phones

Samsung phones

Nokia phones

Oppo phones

Xiaomi phones

Honor phones

Pixel phones

OnePlus phones

Picking out the other best Sony phones can be tricky because the company’s naming system isn’t particularly clear when it comes to separating the top-end handsets from the more budget-friendly choices. For instance, Sony launched the Sony Xperia 5 II – a high-end handset with a smaller screen than its previous flagship device, the Sony Xperia 1 II – albeit at a lower price.

It can be confusing but, fortunately, we’ve helped decipher the confusing naming conventions so that you can learn all about the many quite impressive Sony phones out there. Besides these aforementioned phones, there’s also the Sony Xperia 1 and the Sony Xperia ZX3 stoically sticking to the bottom of our list.

Later in the year we’re expecting that the Sony Xperia 5 III may feature somewhere too, but that’s not out just yet so don’t worry about it right now. For now, these are the best options when it comes to the best Sony phones.

Each ranking includes a complete rundown of what makes them so good and what they might be lacking. Keep checking back for updates to this list to see what changes in the world of the best Sony phones throughout the rest of 2021.

  • Best phone | Best Android phone | Best iPhone | Best budget phone
  • These are the best cell phone plans available right now
  • Sony smartphones: a complete history of Xperia flagship phones

Best Sony phones 2021

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony Xperia 1 III

Sony’s best phone for quite some time

Release date: August 2021
Weight: 186g
Dimensions: 165 x 71 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.5-inch
Resolution: 1644 x 3840
CPU: Snapdragon 888
Storage: 256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP + 0.3MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Great battery life+Incredible display

Reasons to avoid
Tricky to handle, for someNo in-screen fingerprint sensor

The Sony Xperia 1 III is the top Sony flagship, with the highlight being that it’s the world’s first smartphone with a 4K 120Hz display. That’s arguably overkill, but it’s certainly impressive, with its 6.5-inch OLED display being among the best screens you’ll find on a smartphone.

Other aspects of the Sony Xperia 1 III also impress a lot, particularly its battery life, which in our review we found outperformed most flagships, despite the phone only having a middling 4,500mAh capacity.

This is that rare flagship phone that also has a 3.5mm headphone port, which will be a big selling point for some, and the Sony Xperia 1 III additionally has top-end power, and a capable camera setup, which along with main, ultra-wide and depth sensors also has a 12MP adaptive telephoto camera, which can shift between 2.9x and 4.4x optical zoom.

There’s no in-screen fingerprint scanner, and the long and narrow design won’t suit everyone, but those issues aside this is up there with the best flagships from any brand – and it’s priced accordingly.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 1 III

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony Xperia 5 III

Great performance in a compact form

Release date: April 2021
Weight: 168g
Dimensions: 157 x 68 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2520
CPU: Snapdragon 888
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Great performance+Excellent triple-camera system+Good battery life

Reasons to avoid
No wireless chargingExpensive for what it offers

With an elongated design that prioritizes landscape media content, the Sony Xperia 5 III is a great option for those that love to stream on the move. Alongside that, it also offers excellent performance for its size and a fantastic triple-camera system that’s highly flexible.

It lacks a few finer points such as wireless charging and its screen isn’t quite as sharp as other Sony phones, but with a focus on media right down to strong audio performance, it’s still appealing if you can afford the price tag.

Look out for a feature-packed photography experience in particular. Speed and precision is everything with Sony’s camera system and it makes a big difference.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 5 III

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony Xperia 5 II

Like an Xperia 1 II, but smaller and cheaper

Release date: October 2020
Weight: 163g
Dimensions: 158 x 68 x 8mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2520
CPU: Snapdragon 865
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Great cameras+120Hz screen looks great

Reasons to avoid
Still quite a high priceAntiquated unlock button

The Sony Xperia 5 II is basically a smaller, cheaper version of the Xperia 1 II. Sure, there are some differences beyond the screen size to get the price down, but the essence remains intact, and this phone arguably strikes a better balance between price and specs.

It has an excellent 6.1-inch 1080 x 2520 OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring it feels smooth to use. Even the Xperia 1 II doesn’t have a refresh rate that high, so in at least one way the Sony Xperia 5 II has the specs edge.

It also has a great triple-lens camera, with 12MP main, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, plus a high-end Snapdragon 865 chipset, and a decent build – which, thanks to the smaller size, is much easier to hold than the Xperia 1 II.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 5 II

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony Xperia 1 II

One of the best Sony phones

Release date: May 2020
Weight: 181.4g
Dimensions: 165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.5-inch
Resolution: 1644 x 3840
CPU: Snapdragon 865
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Stunning display+Return of the 3.5mm jack

Reasons to avoid
Difficult to holdVery high price

The Sony Xperia 1 II shows the company listens to feedback, as it fixes some of the biggest issues of its predecessors while bringing a lot more to the table.

The Xperia 1 II – that’s ‘One Mark Two’, as Sony seems to have taken naming inspiration from its Alpha range of cameras – has an impressive 4K display in a 21:9 resolution, three rear cameras that take great photographs, and a long-lasting battery that fixes one of the biggest problems with older Xperia phones.

Sure, the price is definitely on the high side, and the phone is too big for people with small hands (an issue the Xperia 5 II fixes), but if these aren’t problems you’ll mind, the Sony Xperia 1 II is one of the best Sony phones around.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony Xperia 5

Honey, I shrunk the Xperia 1

Release date: October 2019
Weight: 164g
Dimensions: 158 x 68 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2520
CPU: Snapdragon 855
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3,140mAh
Rear camera: 12MP, 12MP, 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Hand-friendly size+Impressive processor performance

Reasons to avoid
Unreliable fingerprint sensorScreen is rather dim

The Xperia 1 might be Sony’s true 2019 flagship, but the Sony Xperia 5 is newer and arguably slightly better.

Sure, its screen is smaller and not quite as sharp, but it’s actually a more manageable size for many people, and still fairly large at 6.1 inches. The loss of pixels meanwhile is unlikely to be noticed unless you have the phone pressed against your eyeballs, as at 1080 x 2520 you still get 449 pixels per inch.

And in most other ways the Sony Xperia 5 matches the Xperia 1 – it has the same 21:9 aspect ratio that makes it great for movies, the same high-end Snapdragon 855 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM, the same amount of storage, and the same triple-lens rear camera.

Plus, the battery lasts slightly longer and the price is slightly lower. So if you want a high-end Sony handset and don’t fancy shelling out on a new model, then the Sony Xperia 5 is a top choice.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 5

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony Xperia 1

The Xperia 1 is one of the best Sony phones from 2019

Release date: June 2019
Weight: 178g
Dimensions: 167 x 72 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.5-inch
Resolution: 1644 x 3840
CPU: Snapdragon 855
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3,330mAh
Rear camera: 12MP, 12MP, 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Useful 21:9 aspect ratio+Impressive chipset

Reasons to avoid
Display max brightness is too dimBattery life on the short side

It didn’t look like 2019 was going to be Sony’s year after the poorly-received Xperia 10 and 10 Plus, but the company knocked it out the park with the Xperia 1. It’s a true premium smartphone, that utilizes the best parts of previous phones and charges it up with improved specs in loads of areas.

The Xperia 1 has a 21:9 screen, and now there’s content to match. It’s also got a dedicated film-making app for budding directors, that recreates the experience of using a Sony Alpha camera.

On top of that you’ve got three powerful cameras, a cutting-edge Snapdragon 855 chipset, and 4K screen. Although it is definitely on the expensive side, it’s close to being the best Sony smartphone you can get right now.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 1

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


A retail listing shows the specs of the Intel Core i9-12900K Alder Lake CPU

© Windows Central Intel Core i9-11900K review The specs of the upcoming Intel Core i9-12900K have appeared on a retail listing. What you need to know A retail listing reveals ... Read more »

Here's when you can start playing Age of Empires 4

© Provided by Windows Central Here’s when you can choose your civilization and begin gathering resources. At long last, Age of Empires 4 is on the way, soon to be ... Read more »

Not just Wix: Another Israeli Technology Enables No Coding Engagement Products

© Storycards Gil Rabbi, Co-Founder at Storycards Following the huge success of Wix in no-coding web design, another Israeli company, Storycards, led by engagement guru Gil Rabbi will bring no-coding ... Read more »

Human brain DECREASED in size 3,000 years ago, study finds

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The size of the human brain has changed numerous times throughout human history, but the vital organ decreased approximately 3,000 years ago due ... Read more »

Rocket failure mars US hypersonic missile test

The Pentagon’s hypersonic weapon programs suffered a setback on Thursday when a booster rocket carrying a hypersonic weapon failed, people briefed on the test result said. © Andrey Rudakov /Bloomberg ... Read more »

The Navy released a scathing report about the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard

This story originally published on Task & Purpose.​ © Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christina Ross/U.S. Navy The Navy sailor who set the 2020 fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard ... Read more »

Get more done with 20% off HP's EliteOne 800 G6 all-in-one and other PCs

If you’re looking for a computer upgrade at work, HP has a few devices on sale right now that will definitely upgrade your office space. With the code HPEXCLUSIVETWENTYOFF, you ... Read more »

Twitter's algorithm favours right-leaning politics

© Getty Images Twitter amplifies tweets from right-leaning political parties and news outlets more than from the left, its own research suggests. The social-media giant said it made the discovery ... Read more »

Samsung's unique Frame TV is $500 off

Samsung’s The Frame doubles as both wall art and an HDR-compatible QLED TV. The television offers a decor-friendly design while also displaying customizable images when somebody’s in the room. When ... Read more »

Best Destiny 2 Exotic weapons and armor in 2021

© Provided by Windows Central These are the most powerful and efficient Exotics in the Destiny 2 sandbox. Exotics are the most powerful and unique items you can obtain in ... Read more »

Lukaku and Werner will miss Chelsea's next two games AT LEAST

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Chelsea have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of this weekend’s clash with Norwich City, after Thomas Tuchel confirmed that they will ... Read more »

10 must-have plus-size clothes to buy from Old Navy

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. I have no qualms admitting it: I love Old Navy. More ... Read more »

UK households offered £5,000 grants to replace boilers with heat pumps

The government recently announced that it will provide £450 million in funding to encourage households in England and Wales to install electric heat pumps. Over the next three years, it’s ... Read more »

New Microsoft 365 service identifies privacy risk before it's too late

Microsoft has announced new controls for Microsoft 365 that will help customers manage privacy of their users in accordance with the local laws. © Provided by TechRadar A representational image ... Read more »

Xbox series X stock - live: AO restock sells out – here's who could drop next

LIVE – Updated at 14:00 © iStock/The Independent Xbox liveblog hero Update: Argos has restocked the Xbox series X for collection in specific stores. Enter your postcode to check your ... Read more »

NASA's Deep Space Food Challenge awards $450,000 to first-round winners

© Provided by Space NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have teamed up for the Deep Space Food Challenge, which aims to spur new ideas about how to feed astronauts ... Read more »

China, space junk and more: Senators voice spaceflight concerns

© Provided by Space Cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky shared this photo of the International Space Station on Twitter on Sept. 29, 2021. He and two colleagues were relocating a Russian Soyuz ... Read more »

Challenge for astronomy: Megaconstellations becoming the new light pollution

© Provided by Space An astronomical image marred by trails caused by satellites of SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation. Satellite megaconstellations are quickly becoming a serious problem to 21st century astronomy akin ... Read more »

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will face '29 days on the edge' after launch (video)

© Provided by Space Artist’s illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope with its massive sunshield fully deployed. NASA’s newest space telescope will face 29 “harrowing” days after launch as ... Read more »

10 incredibly stylish clogs to wear this fall

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Walk down the shoe aisle of a department store, open up ... Read more »

Sony's WH-1000XM4 headphones fall to $248, plus the rest of the week's best tech deals

This week brought our first official early Black Friday sale, courtesy of Best Buy. While we expect to see even more of these events before we hit Black Friday proper, ... Read more »

Best smart home devices 2021: automate your home with these gadgets

The best smart home device will ensure your property offers the perfect environment without you having to lift a finger. Whether you want the light dimmed to a certain level, ... Read more »

Trump's social network was defaced before it even launched

It took only a few hours for pranksters to find and deface a test version of former President Trump’s yet-to-launch social media platform called TRUTH Social. According to The Washington ... Read more »

The Verge Merch Store is back!

The Verge is celebrating its 10th birthday on November 1st, so we thought this would be the perfect occasion to relaunch our online merch store! Check out the store here. ... Read more »

Engadget Podcast: Apple's new MacBook Pros, the Pixel 6 and the Surface Duo 2

Techtober continues with a deep dive into Apple’s latest MacBook Pros, powered by the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Cherlynn and Devindra also chat about what’s new with ... Read more »

Micro Center leaks specs and pricing for Intel's new Alder Lake Core i9 CPU

© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Even though someone managed to secure early purchases of a couple of Core i9-12900K CPUs, we still didn’t have detailed information about ... Read more »

Someone got their hands on the unannounced Intel Core i9-12900K CPU

The Intel Core i9-12900K hasn’t even been announced, but someone got their hands on a pair of them. © Provided by Windows Central What you need to know A Reddit ... Read more »

Everything you need to know about the new Surface Duo 2

© Windows Central Surface Duo 2 Hero Got questions? We’ve got answers! Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 is now officially available. Just like last year, we’ve compiled a mega list of ... Read more »

Haunted Chocolatier looks like the perfect follow-up to Stardew Valley

The creator of Stardew Valley has announced the title of his next game: Haunted Chocolatier.  © Provided by TechRadar Haunted Chocolatier logo on a starry backbround In Haunted Chocolatier, you’ll ... Read more »

Fury over 'absurd' GP plans to 'STRIKE'

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Doctors in England were today slammed for threatening industrial action over being ‘asked to do the very basics’ of their jobs, amid a ... Read more »

This Google Workspace update might finally help you be productive working from home

Making the distinction between work and personal apps should be more straightforward thanks to a new update coming to Google Workspace. © Provided by TechRadar laptops The online collaboration suite ... Read more »

Zenfolio is now offering its website builder service to UK photographers

Popular website builder for photographers, Zenfolio has launched a new platform for its UK clientele, six months after the company unveiled its new solution in the US. © Provided by ... Read more »

REvil ransomware gang taken offline by multinational effort

In a welcome move, sources have confirmed that the recent troubles plaguing the notorious REvil ransomware operator are the result of a concerted effort by various cybersecurity agencies. © Provided ... Read more »

This futuristic electric motorcycle is built for the moon

NASA is looking for new rovers for its new Artemis space program, and German design company Hookie thinks it has the perfect solution: a lunar electric motorcycle. © Provided by ... Read more »

Google Pixel 6 Pro

After months of teasers and semi-reveals, the Google Pixel 6 Pro is now officially here, with the company confirming every detail about the new handset, as well as how much ... Read more »

LG CX and GX OLED TVs now support 4K@120Hz with Dolby Vision

LG has begun rolling out a Dolby Vision at 120Hz firmware update for its 2020 CX and GX OLED TVs, just as it promised it would. © Provided by What ... Read more »

How to migrate your Mojang account to a Microsoft account

© Provided by Windows Central It sounds complicated, but it’s not. Minecraft developer Mojang recently began encouraging players to migrate their Mojang accounts to Microsoft accounts. The primary reason for ... Read more »

Tech Tent: The world in 2031

© Getty Images Will robots take over most tasks from manual workers over the next decade? Will we find innovative new energy sources to help us battle climate change? And ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic