Review of Sony Xperia 1 IV phone 2023

sony 1 iv
sony 1 iv

Honest Review of the Sony Xperia 1 IV.

Good stuff:
Nr.1 highlight of the device are the 3.5mm headphone jack (AUX), and the tool-free SD-card expansion slot.
These are the main reasons I bought this phone over any other device at the market.

Other good things and design choices: looks good.
Screen is 120hz 4K and there really is nothing at all that I could complain about it. bezels are good size, big enough to allow good speaker outpusts and undisturbed selfie camera outside the screen. + you wont accidentally hit the screen with your palm when holding the device. But they are small enough to not be disturbing. over all well done.

Battery life is surprisingly good and even though charging is not the fastest it’s still quite fast and supports wireless charging which is a plus!

It also has a great camera which on the other hand is also one of its biggest dissapointments. The cameras require a lot of light. in other words you have to be outside in the day light to be able to take good photos.
The zoom camera quality is absolute garbage indoors.
The cameras are for pro photographers who adjust each photo in aftermarket (Sony does not provide a photoshop/lightroom mobile app) photoeditor to make them look really good. For daily point and click the photos are washed, dull and grainy.
In conclusion the much hyped camera is the biggest let down, not because of hardware, but because of the non-existing software to do your work (which you have to do to _every_ picture you take). I cannot emphasize how bad the cameras are for a normal user compared to any other flagship device produced after 2019.

The device has poor heat managments and thermals are usually really high and forces heavy throttling that affects everything in the phone, network speed drops after 30 sec from +100 MBit/s to below 5 MBit/sec speeds. I tried gaming and using 1 IV to share internet like I did with my old ZTE Axon M (no issues except battery dying) and the 1 IV struggles immensely to output steady internet connection even via USB-C cable.
The cameras suffer from over heating if used for extended periods of time or if used straight after gaming. I havent experienced any noticeable lag during offline gaming on the phone and expect the Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1 to be quite good even when throttled.This leads to the biggest issue with this phone.


The software is really lacking, it’s poorly optimized (they did get rid of the over heating when taking Video during the spring of 2023 updates so they slowly still fix stuff). But like the thermals at the start, the camera and pretty much all other aspects of the phone suffer from bad software, either due to a small team or incompetence in Sonys department.
One of the annoying bugs is the Volume warning bug when using headphone jack at full volume. in this case Google automatically lowers the volume down to “safe level” and prompts the user about the damage high volume can do to your ears. Now Sony has blocked the pop-up because it’s a stupid pop-up, but in doing so they have failed to stop it from lowering the volume. This leads to a scenario where your Volume output suddenly drops but the UI still shows you to be at “max-volume”. I’m not sure if the pop-up has a timer to prompt again, but in my case I get it around 20-30mins after it lowers the volume again. I guess this is as the UI volume is set at max, Android propably thinks my hearing needs saving again, leading to my audio slowly fading to miniscule levels after couple of hours of listening via aux.
This is just many of the software issues plaguing this phone compared to many other manufacturers.

Also the fingerprint sensor is in very good place and works nicely when it works, though usually its disabled because the software is so bad it is constantly being blocked as it senses ghost tries and locks it to deny usage by wrong fingerprint.

one last minus is that the phone is really slippery, and as being such tall device tends to try to slip from your hand without a case.


Imo only thigs that separeate this phone from a 300-400€ mid range device is the premium screen, good built quality frame with ip68 rating, good battery with wireless charging, aux port (that has software issues) and a really well done sim + SD-card slot that needs to be credited again.
And you get the notification led, which is super lovely.

The cameras are trash for daily use. Unedited photos are on par with a common 2023 mid range cameras you get on a random Huawei.
Most of the extra power from the Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1 is wasted to poor thermal design which constantly needs to be throttled down. 5G speeds are meaningless as the phone thermal throttles quickly and is only capable of very short burst.

In paper this is one if not the best phones you could buy with all the necessary hardware side features you could hope for (considering non-folding / expanding phones). It is only hindered by software and thermal managment.
like man, 120hz display, IP-68, NFC, Wireless and reverse charging, Fingerprint sensor on the side, two-step camera button, Notification led, good bass stereo-spekaers, headphone jack and an SD-card slot. this thing really had it all.


Do whatever you want with this information, I really like Sonys approach to phone making, and speccing in the hardware side and would absolutely love to see more of these devices out there. I’d love to get new models come up with the aux and sd-card slots even after 2024.
But in all honesty I cannot recommend this phone to anyone else than hardcore photographers who run Sonys equipment already (these sync really well together tbh and have some great features there). But for a normal user I’d say this is worth it, if you buy it second hand for 400 – 475€.

Now do mind that most of these problems are fixed in the Sony Xperia 1V (5th version)