Sony Xperia Pro smartphone shoots for the creative market
Sony has launched a new Xperia phone – but with the ability to act as an external monitor for a camera, 5G connectivity, a mini-HDMI port and a hefty price tag, the Xperia Pro is very different to a lot of the smartphones we're going to see in 2021.
The new phone is aimed squarely at serious digital photographers and videographers, doing the jobs of both an external screen for framing shots more accurately and viewing clips at a larger size, and a portable modem so that images and footage can be uploaded to the web from just about anywhere.
All this comes with a steep price tag of US$2,499.99, but Sony's argument is that it's still less money than you would spend on a separate external monitor and portable modem for professional use – and here you get both devices in one. If this is your business, then the Xperia Pro could be a worthwhile investment.
With on-board 5G, you can stream footage directly to YouTube, as well as to Twitch and Facebook Live through third-party apps. Sony says the phone has a specially configured 360-degree antenna design to make sure you're always getting the best cellular signal possible from your location.
The HDMI input sits alongside a USB-C connector and can accept video streams up to 60 frames per second in 4K with HDR processing. It should work with any cameras that have an HDMI output, though Sony is keen to advertise it as a companion device for its own Alpha range.
Once the Sony Xperia Pro is hooked up, it offers a few benefits over the standard viewfinder of the camera that it's connected to: you can zoom in on the action, for example, or put grid lines on top of the frame.
In terms of the rest of the camera specs, this is very much an adapted version of the Xperia 1 Mark II we saw launched last year. The phone features a Snapdragon 865 processor, 12 GB of RAM, 512 GB of on-board storage, and a 4,000-mAh capacity battery, plus a 6.5-inch OLED display that Sony is advertising as 4K but which actually has a technically not-quite-4K resolution of 3,840 x 1,644 pixels.
There's IP68 waterproofing here and Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the screen, so it should be able to take some knocks and drops. The phone has a camera of its own too of course: a triple-lens 12-MP+12-MP+12-MP affair with ultrawide and 3x optical zoom capabilities.
"Combining the speed of 5G and the connectivity of an HDMI input, Xperia Pro is designed to empower creators with real-time content sharing and distribution, opening up a new world of possibilities for professional workflow," Sony Electronics executive Neal Manowitz said in a press statement.
If you want to spend $2,500 on your next bit of kit, the Sony Xperia Pro is available to buy now, from "a select group of Sony's authorized dealers" in North America. Sony's promotional video of the phone in action can be seen below.
Product page: Sony Xperia Pro