Sony has never really been a major player in the smartphone market, but it’s been making niche devices for more than a decade, nevertheless. Now, Sony has found a way to burrow even deeper into a niche with the new Xperia Pro smartphone. This device is aimed at professional and enthusiast photographers who want a powerful accessory for their cameras. It’s also Sony’s first 5G smartphone in the US. But the price is positively jaw-dropping at $2,500.
The Xperia Pro is a well-equipped smartphone, but it’s not running the latest 2021 hardware. You’re looking at a Snapdragon 865 chip with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which is standard for a flagship smartphone in 2020 — not surprising as the Xperia Pro is based on the Xperia 1 II that launched last year. The Pro even has the same 6.5-inch 1644 x 3840 (21:9) OLED screen.
The screen is one of the main selling points of this phone because Sony has paired it with an HDMI input. The idea is that you can plug the phone into a high-end camera to use as an external monitor with support for 4K60 HDR. This is an existing product category, and 4K versions are not cheap. If you’ve got a supported Sony Alpha camera, the phone can even control the settings via a USB connection.
The other feather in Sony’s cap is the Xperia Pro’s 5G support. While the Xperia 1 II had the same 5G-capable chip, 5G was not enabled in the US. The Xperia Pro has both mmWave and sub-6 5G support, but it’s only certified on Verizon right now. The idea is that photographers or videographers can attach the Xperia Pro to their cameras and stream or upload their work from the field. For huge volumes of photos and video, 5G might actually make a difference. While there are plenty of smartphones and hotspots that could do the same, the Xperia Pro is an all-in-one-solution.
You can purchase the Sony Xperia Pro in the US today. Yes, $2,500 is more than twice as much as the Xperia 1 II, with which the Pro shares many features. Still, Sony thinks professionals will pay the high price, and it is fun to see someone trying new things with Android. If you’re not a serious photographer, you should skip this one. Sony says it’s waiting for next-gen networks to become more mature to offer consumer-focused 5G devices.
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