Sony Xperia Pro overview: A flexible 5G cellphone that is not for you – TNE

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The Sony Xperia Pro can be utilized as an exterior area monitor for a devoted digicam. It can present a reside video preview from the digicam’s HDMI output.


Patrick Holland/TNE

The Sony Xperia Pro is totally one of the compelling telephones I’ve examined in a very long time. But it is not for everybody. The $2,500 cellphone continues Sony’s transfer away from smartphones designed for a mass client viewers and confidently towards gadgets for picture and video fanatics. (UK and Australian launches have but to be confirmed, however the US value converts roughly to £1,830 or AU$3,250.) Last yr, we bought the fantastic Xperia 1 II and the Xperia 5 II, which was the most effective cellphone Sony made in years. The Xperia Pro takes this narrow-appeal strategy to the following stage. It is not meant to compete with the likes of the iPhone 12 Pro Max or the Galaxy S21 Ultra. In truth, there actually is not one other machine prefer it that gives the identical performance.

A 6.5-inch 4K show, 5G connectivity and HDMI enter rework the Xperia Pro right into a handful {of professional} instruments for photographers, video shooters and content material creators. And even in case you’re a type of folks it nonetheless won’t be precisely for you.

Like

  • Professional stage video monitor options
  • Robust utilitarian construct
  • Live broadcast streaming over 5G
  • As a cellphone its primarily the Xperia 1 II

Don’t Like

  • Price is excessive limiting its slim enchantment
  • 2020 specs and Android 10
  • Wished it recorded video through HDMI enter

The Xperia Pro is basically an Xperia 1 II repackaged into a brand new barely larger physique with the addition of a micro-HDMI port. It appears to be like unabashedly plain and utilitarian, which is acceptable for a severe piece of apparatus. It has a devoted shutter button, a side-mounted energy button that is additionally a fingerprint reader, and a brand new {hardware} shortcut button.

It has the identical easy-to-open dual-SIM card tray that can be used with a microSD card for additional storage. It has the identical cameras, and it appears able to taking the identical glorious pictures and movies because the Xperia 1 II. The Xperia Pro additionally has final yr’s Snapdragon 865 chip and runs Android 10, although it bought a lift in RAM to 12GB. Since the vast majority of the Pro is identical because the Xperia 1 II, I encourage you to learn my Xperia 1 II overview for a in-depth evaluation of all these options. Note that I used a preproduction mannequin of the Sony Xperia Pro, which is why I have not given it a full, rated overview.

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You may be questioning that if the Pro is so just like the Xperia 1 II, why does it value $1,400 extra? That’s the place issues get very attention-grabbing and very area of interest. The Xperia Pro is a cellphone, a digicam monitor, a speedy picture file-transfer machine and a 5G broadcast/livestreaming machine. I used to be positively wowed by the way it can streamline the inventive workflow of photographers, videographers and reside broadcasters. But after every week of testing, I additionally understand that it isn’t for all photographers, videographers and reside broadcasters.

Aside from indicating that its capabilities are far past the strange, the $2,500 value will certainly trigger sticker shock for a lot of. If you add up the Xperia Pro’s performance (cellphone, 4K monitor, 5G mobile modem) the worth turns into slightly simpler to swallow. But the query stays, is that this cellphone for you?

The Xperia Pro as a 4K area monitor

Oftentimes, when capturing video with a devoted digicam, you need a bigger display to preview the picture to verify issues like focus and publicity. The built-in screens on cameras are severely restricted by their small measurement. There are a lot of 4K exterior screens you should purchase ranging in value from a few hundred {dollars} as much as practically $7,000.

One of the primary appeals of the Xperia Pro is that you should utilize it as a 4K area monitor. You merely join your digicam and the Xperia Pro utilizing an HDMI cable (one which has a micro-HDMI connector for the Pro). Next, you activate the digicam and open up the aptly named External Monitor app on the Xperia Pro. Depending in your digicam’s settings and output, you will see a preview of what you are filming, in your cellphone.

It is totally fantastic utilizing the Xperia Pro as a digicam monitor. The first profit comes when it comes to measurement and weight. The standalone digicam monitor that I exploit to movie TNE movies is cumbersome and heavy. In truth the Xperia Pro weighs 75 grams much less and that is not even accounting for the burden of the enormous batteries my monitor wants for energy. And talking of batteries, the Xperia Pro and its 4,000-mAh battery lasted hours when used as a monitor in comparison with the 45 minutes or so I bought with my 4K digicam monitor. If I must cost the cellphone whereas it is mounted on the digicam, I can plug in a USB-C cable and a transportable battery.

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On the left is a 7-inch 4K video monitor with battery hooked up that I usually use to movie TNE movies. On the correct is the a lot smaller Xperia Pro, standing vertically, which has a 6.5-inch 4K show and a 4,000-mAh battery.


Patrick Holland/TNE

Another profit is that I can work together with the Xperia Pro like a cellphone as a substitute of controlling it with early-2000s laptop show buttons and a goofy generic menu interface. I can pinch to zoom the preview picture bigger or smaller. The Pro’s External Monitor app additionally has instruments for display lock, brightness management, zooming, grid traces, body traces and a 180-degree picture flip.

Smartly, Sony hasn’t made any of the performance proprietary. I attempted the Pro out as a monitor for each a Sony A7SIII and a Panasonic S1H mirrorless digicam. For probably the most half, the app labored nice, although a number of instances it misplaced the preview picture. I did not expertise any main bugs with the External Monitor app, however I could not inform if the few instances the connection dropped was as a result of the HDMI cable was free or the truth that this was a preproduction cellphone. Hopefully that is addressed within the closing model.

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The Sony Xperia Pro mounted and related to a Sony A7SIII digicam.


Patrick Holland/TNE

When the preview is displayed on the cellphone there’s plenty of black house on both aspect. I want I may offset the video feed to the left or proper aspect of the show and have the opposite half to simply assess controls and menus. My solely main grievance about utilizing the Xperia Pro as a preview monitor is that open air in daylight its brightness struggled. If I used to be shopping for the Xperia Pro to make use of as a monitor, I might positively need to add some kind of shade to it when filming open air.

I additionally want there was a manner for the Xperia Pro to file a video sign coming in from HDMI, like different high-end screens can. That type of performance would enchantment to me and the type of video work I do.

The Xperia Pro is the right Zoom teleprompter monitor

But the enjoyable would not cease there; the Xperia Pro’s HDMI enter is not restricted to cameras. And due to this it proved to be an excellent answer for Zoom calls. Normally for a Zoom name you would possibly use your laptop’s built-in digicam. But as many people discovered through the pandemic, getting an exterior digicam for Zoom works manner higher. The solely draw back to having an exterior digicam for Zoom is that you simply’re nonetheless taking a look at your laptop display to see the individual or folks you are speaking to.

For my exterior digicam, I exploit a Panasonic S1H that plugs into my laptop with an adapter. I can use one other adapter that connects my laptop to the micro-HDMI port on the Xperia Pro. This primarily makes the cellphone right into a 6.5-inch exterior laptop monitor so no matter is on my laptop display exhibits up on the cellphone’s display.

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For Zoom calls I can movie myself with a devoted exterior digicam and use the Xperia Pro as a teleprompter digicam show exhibiting the individual I’m speaking to. No extra bizarre wanting backwards and forwards between the digicam and my laptop show.


Patrick Holland/TNE

I’ve a mini teleprompter stand that slides onto the top of my digicam’s lens and may assist the burden of a cellphone. I took the Xperia Pro that was related to my laptop and put it into the stand. Now after I take a look at my digicam, I can see no matter is on my laptop display. I can put the opposite individual’s Zoom video feed onto the Xperia Pro/teleprompter and never have that bizarre back-and-forth eye contact factor occurring. This is nice for a Zoom video or any video chat that is being recorded. You get the good picture high quality from utilizing a devoted digicam with out wanting away from the lens to see the opposite individual.

The Xperia Pro can broadcast a 4K video livestream over 5G

The Xperia Pro is Sony’s first 5G cellphone for the US. Using a combo of 5G and the micro-HDMI port permits you to livestream video content material from a devoted exterior digicam on to social media platforms like YouTube and Twitch. That means I can use a Sony A7SIII digicam and a pleasant lens to seize 4K video reside and have the Xperia Pro add the video sign over 5G (ideally mmWave, the quickest type of 5G) to whichever broadcast platform I’m utilizing.

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The Sony Xperia Pro is a cellphone, a digicam monitor, a reside broadcasting machine and a photograph file-transfer device.


Patrick Holland/TNE

The preproduction Xperia Pro I examined solely had assist for 5G mmWave. The solely 5G close to the place I used to be filming was the sub-6 selection, nonetheless, which did not work on the Pro. The closing model of the Xperia Pro will assist each sub-6 and mmWave 5G. Also you should utilize the built-in cameras on the cellphone to livestream, however when you will have the flexibility to make use of a devoted digicam with a lot better picture high quality, why would you?

Remember after I stated the Xperia Pro was aimed toward a distinct segment viewers? The livestream/broadcasting characteristic positively is. An attention-grabbing proof of idea Sony shared was on full show alongside the sidelines of NFL video games within the type of a digicam rig nicknamed The Megalodon. It’s made up of a Sony Alpha mirrorless digicam, a gimbal, a monitor and a mobile modem (within the backpack) to share the sign to the published truck. That means the digicam operator is not tethered to a large bodily cable. It just isn’t laborious to think about an Xperia Pro being utilized in lieu of the mobile modem and/or the monitor.

Most stadiums have 5G mmWave assist. And as 5G and particularly mmWave broaden extra within the US and once we get again to a degree the place we’re touring for video shoots once more, I can positively see the enchantment of streaming a 4K video broadcast reside over 5G. But for now, this characteristic is aimed toward huge reside occasions like skilled sports activities.

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A community visualizer app helps you place the Xperia Pro in the most effective course to get the strongest 5G sign.


Patrick Holland/TNE

Xperia Pro 5G community visualizer

To discover the strongest 5G connection, there is a built-in community visualizer app that may make it easier to pinpoint the easiest way to place the cellphone for a broadcast. One of the explanations behind the sensible wanting physique of the Xperia Pro is that it homes 4 totally different 5G antennas. The app exhibits add and obtain speeds in addition to which aspect of the cellphone (high, backside, left or proper) has the strongest 5G sign. The thought is you’ll transfer the cellphone towards the strongest aspect. Since I solely had sub-6 5G out there, the app confirmed 4G LTE availability, which accurately surrounds me, as a result of it is mainly all over the place in comparison with 5G.

Xperia Pro gives FTP server assist for pictures

Lastly, the Xperia Pro has assist for file switch protocol, or FTP, through USB-C tethering. This was a characteristic Sony first launched final yr on the Xperia 5 II and Sony A7SIII for quick picture file transfers. But with the addition of 5G, you could possibly have even quicker speeds — in concept. 

Compare Sony Xperia Pro specs vs. Sony Xperia 1 II, Sony Xperia 5 II



Sony Xperia Pro Sony Xperia 1 II Sony Xperia 5 II
Display measurement, decision 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED; 3,840×1,644 pixels 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED; 3,840×1,644 pixels 6.1-inch FHD+ HDR OLED; 2,520×1,080 pixels
Pixel density 643 ppi 643 ppi 449 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.7x3x0.4 in 6.5×2.8×0.3 in 6.22×2.68×0.31 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 170.2×76.2×10.16 mm 165.1×71.1×7.62 mm 158x68x8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.9 oz; 225g 6.4 oz; 181g 5.75 oz; 163g
Mobile software program Android 10 Android 10 Android 10
Camera 12-megapixel (normal), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 12-megapixel (normal), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 12-megapixel (normal), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto)
Front-facing digicam 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K 4K
Processor Snapdragon 865 5G Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 865
Storage 512GB 256GB 128GB
RAM 12GB 8GB 8GB
Expandable storage Up to 1TB Up to 1TB Up to 1TB
Battery 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Right aspect Right aspect Right aspect
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes
Special options 5G sub-6 and mmWave, rated IP 65/68, adaptive battery charging and care, Dolby Atmos, Zeiss lens coatings, time of flight sensor, {hardware} shutter button, {hardware} shortcut button 5G-enabled (not in US), wi-fi charging, rated IP 65/68, adaptive battery charging and care, Dolby Atmos, Zeiss lens coatings, time of flight sensor, {hardware} shutter button 5G-enabled (not in US), 120Hz refresh charge show, rated IP 65/68, adaptive battery charging and care, Dolby Atmos, Zeiss lens coatings, time of flight sensor, {hardware} shutter button, {hardware} Google Assistant button
Price off-contract (USD) $2,500 $1,200 $950
Price (GBP) Converts to £1,830 £1,099 £799
Price (AUD) Converts to AU$3,250 Converts to AU$1,960 Converts to AU$1,430
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