Sony Xperia 1 VI phone design might lose what makes it special

It might come as a surprise to some that Sony actually makes smartphones. Actually, it might even come as a bigger surprise that it still makes smartphones at this point in time. Its mobile business has definitely fallen on hard times, forcing the brand to exit some global markets and sell only through online channels in others. Despite all that, Sony still believes that a smartphone has a place in its portfolio, especially as a means to access its treasury of entertainment-related content. That has been the guiding principle behind the design of its premium Xperia 1 smartphone series, but it seems that the product line’s sixth iteration will make some small but significant changes that almost undermine all of that in one fell swoop.

Designer: Sony (via zackbuks on Weibo)

Truth be told, the Sony Xperia 1 design has always been an oddity among its peers even today. It easily stands out from the crowd almost literally because of its extra tall and narrow body, designed to support a 21:9 screen aspect ratio that Sony has been advertising as the perfect format for ultra-wide content. It also distinguished itself with its 4K display resolution when all its competitors continue to play in 2K or even 2.5K figures only.

The latest rumor, however, changes the narrative a bit. According to the source, Sony will be downgrading that 4K resolution to something like 2K+ or QHD+, more in line with other high-end smartphones in recent years. More importantly, it is also making the screen a bit wider and shorter to achieve a more “normal” 19.5:9 aspect ratio, again similar to flagship devices from the likes of Samsung and Apple. It’s by no means going to be significantly smaller, as these leaked images show, but it definitely changes the shape of the phone to be less distinctive.

It sounds perplexing that Sony, which has never really minded smartphone trends and fads, would make such drastic changes, but it might all boil down to price. Sony Xperia phones have been notorious for their higher price tags compared to their peers, so downgrading one of the most expensive and uncommon components could actually do a lot to drive the cost down. Unless, of course, Sony decides to offset those savings by including features and hardware that incur just as much expenses.

That’s not to say that the Xperia 1 VI will be bereft of any notable features. Another selling point of the phone is its use of camera hardware close to Sony’s own Alpha line of mirrorless cameras. That said, its photography prowess has rarely been praised mostly because the phone barely reaches people’s hands, so making the next Xperia flagship more affordable could actually help remedy that situation.