We've grown accustomed to somewhat outrageous pricing on smartphones in recent years. There's the $2,000 Galaxy Z Fold 2 and numerous smartphones just below the $1,500 mark. However, Sony has taken things up a notch with its new Xperia Pro.
At $2,500, this is one of the most expensive smartphones to hit the market in recent memory, excluding those draped in Swarovski crystals. But before you start questioning whether Sony is deliberately tanking its smartphone division –– it's addressing a very specific niche and after taking a closer look it just might work (via Engadget).
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Despite maintaining a fair amount of brand cache, Sony has never managed to make inroads in the U.S. smartphone market and even in the U.K. it is far from one of the top names in mobile. Every year I see the latest and greatest smartphones from Sony at trade shows. And they are typically beautifully designed with solid camera performance, the total package never manages to hold up to the competition, particularly when considering the value.
Now all of that pretty perfectly captures the Xperia Pro as well, but there's a big difference this time as it isn't trying to go head-to-head with the iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21, this smartphone is aimed squarely at broadcasters and creators. The Xperia Pro takes last year's Xperia 1 ii, a very competent, but expensive smartphone at $1,200, and adds a micro HDMI input that allows you to use its 6.5-inch 4K OLED display as an external monitor.
Now that alone is a handy trick for creators. Otherwise they're forced turn to external monitors that are considerably thicker and heavier than the Xperia Pro, and that's before you add the external batteries. But Sony's taking it one step further. The Xperia Pro will be a 5G smartphone with support for both mmWave and Sub-6 networks, which offers the ability to stream high-quality video or photos from your camera live to social media or to an RTMP server. To ensure that you are getting the best stream possible it includes a Network Visualizer app that displays your reception, the direction of the strongest signal and the current throughput.
Now how much would you pay? Still not $2,500? Fair, but again you are almost certainly not the target for this smartphone. If you are someone that needs to create broadcast or streaming video content for the web, this device is replacing a number of tools in your arsenal and shaving off a lot of weight. And while it won't hold up to the standalone Sony camera you are attaching it to, it is pretty solid on its own with a wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lens capable of 4K HDR video at up to 60fps and 120fps slow-motion video.
So while again this isn't the best phone for most people by a large margin, it's the best phone for some people and that's more than I've been able to say about a Sony smartphone in recent memory.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.