Xperia PRO-I unveiled: A camera powerhouse for creative professionals

Sony has formally unveiled the Xperia PRO-I (XQBE62/B), a successor to the Xperia PRO that was released earlier this year. The ‘I’ in PRO-I stands for ‘imaging’ and Sony describes the phone as a “camera with full smartphone capabilities” – looking at the some of the raw specs you can understand why. This phone features a 1.0-type Exmor RS sensor and F2.0/F4.0 dual aperture on the main camera.

Like the Xperia PRO, the PRO-I caters to professional content creators, offering photographers, videographers and cinematographers the ability to shoot, edit and send with a single device.

We didn’t expect an Xperia PRO successor so soon, but remember the PRO was announced in February 2020, sharing much of the same hardware as the Xperia 1 II (Mark 2). It was likely delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic hence hitting shelves a year later than planned. So whilst it may seem a bit of a raw deal for Xperia PRO owners with their phone becoming outdated so quickly, Sony probably always had the PRO-I in development for launch around now.

It is worth noting the language that Sony is carefully using to describe the sensor – it is a 12MP ‘1.0-type’ sensor, rather than a 1-inch sensor. Sony says the sensor is based on the 20MP RX100 VII’s 1-inch sensor, so Sony has effectively just used part of this sensor (12MP out of 20MP). This means that while the sensor is not physically as large as that in the RX100 VII, the pixel pitch is the same at 2.4µm.

The Xperia PRO-I has a 12MP triple lens camera system and 3D iToF sensor bringing fast autofocus.
The PRO-I features ZEISS Tessar optics with a glass aspherical lens, helping to deliver less peripheral image distortion and more intense contrast and sharpness.

All three lenses support phase-detection auto-focus. The main 24mm lens has duel aperture of F2.0 / 4.0, a rarity in modern smartphone cameras. It also offers 16mm (F2.2, 1/2.5-inch sensor, 124-degree fov) ultrawide and 50mm (F2.4, 1/2.9-inch sensor, 48-degree fov) telephoto lens options. Sony has an 8MP 1/4-inch sensor for front-facing selfie camera duties, with a 78-degree field-of-view.

The PRO-I features a larger textured camera button than seen on most Xperia phones, featuring the same shutter switch module as the Sony RX100 series. Long-pressing the shutter will also open Photography Pro and start shooting immediately. A separate shortcut key is also available which you can assign to an app of your choice.

One of the underrated features missing in Xperia smartphones in recent years is a built-in lanyard hole to attach a wrist strap. This makes a return in the PRO-I and we’d love for it to make a comeback on future consumer Xperia models.

For an extra cost, Sony has the “Vlog Monitor for Xperia PRO-I” to complement the phone. As the name suggests, this is targeted for vloggers who want to shoot themselves in the best possible quality available on the phone. The Vlog Monitor features a 1/4-20 UNC type mounting point on the bottom of the holder, which a shooting grip can screw into, such as the Bluetooth-enabled Sony GP-VPT2BT.

The PRO-I has a 4K HDR OLED 120Hz Refresh rate display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset with 12GB RAM, 512GB internal storage with microSD memory card support. Connectivity options include 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB 3.2 Gen 2.

Other features include IP65/68 dust and water resistance and the use of Corning Gorilla Victus Glass. It will pack a 4.500mAh battery and a 30W charger XZQ-UC1, providing 50% of charge in 30 minutes. The Xperia PRO-I has dimensions of 166 x 72 x 8.9 mm and weighs 211 grams.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I will be released in early December 2021 and will cost £1,599 in the UK. The Vlog Monitor will cost an extra £169, as well as a premium anti-microbial leather case for £69. The phone is also expected to launch in Europe for €1,800.

In the US, the Xperia PRO-I will cost $1,800 with the Vlog Monitor and Style Cover Case in Leather costing $200 and $90 respectively. Pre-orders open on 28 October 2021.

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