The big picture: Sony has significantly scaled down its smartphone business in recent years, but the company continues to launch a few handsets every year. The availability of these devices, however, is largely restricted to Japan, the US, and a handful of countries in Europe. It has now unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia 1 V, with a number of features not often seen at the premium end of the market.

The Xperia 1 V is the successor to last year's Xperia 1 IV and comes with the best hardware the market has to offer. It features a 6.5-inch 21:9 4K OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, and HDR support. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, and has 12GB of RAM along with 256GB of built-in storage.

Interestingly, the phone has a microSD card slot, missing in almost all modern flagship phones from Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and Apple. Another notable feature in the latest Sony flagship is a 3.5mm headphone socket, which has also gone the way of the dodo in premium smartphones, even though they remain part and parcel of most mid-range and entry-level devices.

Imaging options in the new Sony flagship include a triple-camera setup at the rear, led by a 52MP main sensor with an f/1.9 aperture and Hybrid OIS/EIS support. There's also a 12MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 12MP telephoto camera with 3.5-5x optical zoom and 15.6X hybrid zoom. On the front, the device has a 12MP camera for selfies and video chat.

With the Xperia 1 V, Sony is debuting a new image sensor design called Exmor T for mobile. It's a stacked CMOS sensor where the photodiode and the transistor layers are separated, which Sony claims will reduce noise in low-light scenes. The phone also comes with many manual controls from Sony's Alpha cameras, including high-speed burst shooting, real-time eye autofocus, and more.

The Sony Xperia 1 V sports a 5,000mAh battery with 30W (USB PD) fast charging and runs Android 13 out of the box. It measures 165 x 71 x 8.3 mm and weighs 187g. It is priced at $1,399 in the US and £1,299 in the UK, making it an expensive purchase by any yardstick. It is currently available for pre-order on the official Sony website, with first customer deliveries expected by July 28. The phone is available in Black and Khaki Green color options, with the latter available exclusively at