AI News, 10 Best Sony images in 2019
The best smartphones, tried and tested
We've seen a smorgasbord of new smartphone releases over the past 12 months period, with new models from both Apple and Samsung making it harder than ever to choose the very best handset out there.
It’s worth noting that the new releases have tended to be iterative rather than revolutionary, so while the reviews that follow cover the best new models available now, if you find a good deal on a previous model, that's still worth considering.
Whichever brand you choose, if you buy a handset that costs more than about £500 to buy outright, you’ll be getting a good phone with a good camera, a good battery, and a good screen.
Sony Xperia 1 camera review: When three cameras aren’t enough
People buy flagship phones as much for the cameras as for any other feature.
The standard configuration for a modern flagship is now a high-quality primary lens, an optical telephoto lens, and a wide-angle lens.
If you’re interested in learning everything there is to know about the Sony Xperia 1, check out our full review here.
The purpose of this article is to dive deep into the camera situation and assess whether or not Sony can keep up.
About this review: Sample photos have been resized for quicker loading times, but that is the only editing these images have received.
The Xperia 1 has a standard camera, a 2x optical telephoto camera, and a super wide-angle camera.
It contains the vast majority of advanced features flagship phone buyers expect, yet there are some glaring omissions.
Yes, the Xperia 1 has a physical shutter key, located where you expect to find it on the top right corner (when holding the phone sideways.) The button is a subtle two-stage key.
Alternately, you can do what we’re all using to doing at this point: touch the screen where you want the camera to focus and then tap the software shutter button.
basic on-screen toggle lets you switch between photo and video modes, while a series of controls line the opposite edge for functions such as aspect ratio, bokeh, flash, timer, and settings.
for a second, a slider bar appears for zooming between 1x and 2x, and on through to 10x (digitally).
These include portrait selfie, Google Lens, slow motion, AR effect, manual, creative effect, and panorama.
There’s no time-lapse mode, nor is there a dedicated portrait modeor even a night mode, which is both frustrating and puzzling.
What we notice most is the loss of detail in the darker spots, such as the trees in the first image, the sides of the buildings in the second and third images, and the pillars in the fourth.
For example, the yellow and red shades in the second image were brighter in real life.
The fourth image is particularly frustrating, because the tile mural was well lit and I was standing only a few feet away.
Much of the detail in the leaves is lost on close inspection, with the green foliage blending together.
In the last picture, all the parts of the electric meters stand out and you can even tell where the gauges are pointed on the closer units.
What I like about image 1 is that the green looks rich, the sky is still blue, you can read the text on the sign, and even the darker areas have some detail.
Despite the strong shadow, there’s lots of texture visible on the right wall compared to the fully sunlit left wall.
Many of today’s flagships include modes specifically for taking artful shots of our friends and family.
and there aren’t advanced tools such as studio lighting — another shortcoming of the camera app when compared to Samsung, Huawei, and others.
In images 1 and 3, however, I look like I was artificially added to the pictures via PhotoShop.
HDR shots generally blend several exposures to create a balanced whole, with detail visible in both bright and dark regions.
The second shot is particularly challenging because it has natural and artificial light mixed in a dark indoor environment.
In the third pic, I appreciate that the blue sky is visible in the windows at all and that there’s some shading to the wooden roof far above the staircase.
Sure, the AI Cam senses low light situations and takes steps to mitigate the exposure, but there isn’t a dedicated mode for shooting in the near dark.
You can add effects, dial in skin correction, make your eyes larger or your face thinner, and adjust lighting.I captured these samples under a variety of conditions, including bright sunlight, indoors, and at nighttime.
You can see that my face is a bit softer in the third image and the brick wall behind me looks a bit washed out.
It’s hard to recommend a $949 phone when a $479 phone beats the snot out of it in the core category of photography.
Bottom line, if you thought Sony’s adoption of the triple-camera setup would lead to a dramatic improvement in imaging quality, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.
Sony Xperia 1 review
Yes, the company has dipped from shipping 15.3 million units at the end of 2015 to 1.9 million at the end of last year, so there must be a problem, but nothing that can't be fixed.
Like theXperia 10 and 10 Plus, the aspect ratio is designed to match the way films are made, with Sony pointing out that 69 per cent of Netflix content is available in 21:9.
Reaching things on the top of the screen is definitely a two-handed operation despite Sony's best efforts to introduce a one-handed mode by squeezing the sides to bring up popular apps.
There's no headphone jack, and while we applaud the fact that the SIM tray and microSD cardholder can be removed without a point doohickey,we really wish Sony wouldn't restart the phone every time it's taken out.
You still don't have magic eyes, and the chances of you being able to tell the difference between 2K and 4K video on a screen of this size are, bluntly, pretty unlikely.
In fact, it's a damned fine one with wonderful vibrant colours, perfect contrast and great viewing angles.We will say its brightness isn't the best I've seen, with it struggling to be readable in the unseasonable hot London weather, but to be fair most handsets would struggle with this kind of sunshine.
That should come as no surprise to anybody who has glanced at the price, the specifications or both, but it bears repeating because it's an absolute joy to use, once you've got used to its odd dimensions.
That's a score that's level pegging with the best Android has to offer (unsurprising given that the Snapdragon 855 is used in the vast majority of 2019 flagships.) GFXBench tests are equally buttery smooth, with each of the benchmarks that actually reflect gaming smartphone use offering at least 30fps, with some of the lighter ones going over 60fps offscreen (on-screen, the refresh rate caps them at 60fps).
Some 2K off-screen tests dropped as low as 14fps, but again, this is designed to push smartphones to the limits, rather than offering something that's likely to be tested in the next few years.
First of all, aswe mentioned earlier on, the fingerprint reader is pretty fussy.We put this down to its placement on the side of the device, which, thanks to the thinness of the handset, means that only a sliver of your thumb can be placed on it at a time.
The Xperia 1 packs a 3,300mAh cell, which is fairly standard, but it tends to drop more than you'd expect over a 24-hour period.We generally found myself making it to the end of the day with enough charge to not be too worried, but one afternoon where we had to make a three-hour train trip pushed that to the wire thanks to watching some downloaded SD videos from Plex.
Sony's Xperia brand has never been associated with brilliant picture quality in the same way that Google's Pixel or Samsung's Galaxy S devices have, but the camera on the Xperia 1 is actually the phone's trump card.
In both great lighting and low-lit conditions, the Xperia 1 produces pictures of outstanding clarity, packed with plenty of detail even when you zoom in.
- On Tuesday, January 28, 2020
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