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Sony Xperia 10 V preview: Bigger camera, lower price

The Sony Xperia 10 V adds a new camera and promises epic battery life, but where are the much-needed hardware improvements?

The Sony Xperia 10 V is the latest entry into the Japanese brand’s mid-range smartphone lineup and will launch alongside the flagship Xperia 1 V in June. While the flagship models are relative powerhouses with price tags to match, the Xperia 10 Series’ track record is less consistent, with neither the Xperia 10 III or Xperia 10 IV offering enough in the way of value.

The Sony Xperia 10 V is at risk of continuing this trend, but there are a couple of noteworthy changes that could shake things up. The phone is slightly lighter and the main camera has seen its sensor size and megapixel count increased, but the real saving grace might be the price, which has fallen since the previous generation. Only time will tell whether the Xperia 10 V proves good value, but for now, let’s break down the specifications.

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Sony Xperia 10 V preview: Specifications, price and release date

  • Display: 6.1in, 60Hz, 2,520 x 1,080, OLED
  • Chipset: Octa-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
  • Storage: 128GB storage
  • Rear cameras: 48MP (f/1.8) wide, 8MP (f/2.2) telephoto, 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
  • Selfie camera: 8MP
  • Battery capacity: 5,000mAh
  • Dimensions: 155 x 68 x 8.3mm
  • Weight: 159g
  • UK Release date: Mid June 2023
  • Price: £399

Sony Xperia 10 V preview: Design and key features

The Sony Xperia 10 V will cost £399 at launch, which is £30 cheaper than the Xperia 10 IV. The colours on offer – Black, White, Sage Green and Lavender – are the same four choices you get with the Sony WF-C700N wireless earbuds, allowing you to colour match your accessories. If you prefer wired headphones, the 3.5mm port has got you covered.

Compared to the previous model, the Xperia 10 V is a smidge taller and wider, measuring 155 x 68mm, but retains the same 8.3mm thickness as the Xperia 10 IV. Despite the minor increase in overall size, the Xperia 10 V has actually shed a couple pounds compared to the 10 IV, weighing in at an incredibly light 159g. According to Sony, this makes it the lightest 5G phone fitted with a 5,000mAh battery.

The phone has a 6.1in OLED display with a resolution of 2,520 x 1,080 and, unfortunately, the same 60Hz refresh rate we bemoaned on last year’s model. Set above and below the display are two front-facing speakers, which Sony claims are now 20% louder than the 10 IV’s. While most phones use displays in a 16:9 ratio, Sony has preferred 21:9 for a while, and the Xperia 10 V follows suit. As well as being slightly larger than the Xperia 10 IV’s display, the new panel is apparently 1.5x brighter, which should make it easier to use outdoors.

The display is covered with a protective layer of Gorilla Glass Victus 2, for scratch and drop protection, while the rear and the frame are both plastic. The phone is also rated IP65/68 for dust and water protection, certifying it dustproof and able to survive both low-pressure jets of water and submersion to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes.

The camera module is a slim, pill-shaped housing in the top-left corner of the rear panel and houses the 48MP main camera, alongside a pair of 8MP lenses, for telephoto and ultrawide shots, respectively. Flipping the phone over, there’s a third 8MP lens in the selfie camera at the top of the screen, nestled slightly off to the left, in a rather chunky top bezel.

While the selfie, ultrawide and telephoto sensors are pretty much direct replicas of those found on the Xperia 10 IV, the main camera has seen a few changes. The image sensor is 1.6x larger than the 10 IV’s, now measuring 1/2in, compared to 1/2.8in. Megapixel count has also increased from 12MP to 48MP – though, as standard, the camera will shoot pixel-binned 12MP images.

Optical image stabilisation (OIS) returns for the main camera, allowing you to shoot steadier images and video – capped at 1080p at 30fps – but unfortunately hasn’t made its way over to any of the other lenses. The ultrawide I could take or leave, but stabilisation on the telephoto lens would have been a handy inclusion.

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Given that we were underwhelmed by the processing power of the Sony Xperia 10 IV, it’s disheartening to see the exact same chipset trotted out once again. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G mobile platform is usually found on cheaper phones than this – with the £330 Honor Magic 5 Lite and the £299 OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite being a couple of recent examples – so don’t expect the Xperia 10 V to be a strong performer in its price bracket.

The Snapdragon 695 5G chipset is backed up by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage, with the microSD slot allowing you to add a further 1TB to the total. The battery is once again a 5,000mAh unit, but unlike the carbon copy processor, this isn’t necessarily bad news. The Xperia 10 IV landed high on our best phone battery life list, and Sony has said that the 10 V is capable of running continuous video for around 34 hours, so it’s looking likely to earn its own place on that roundup.

When the battery eventually taps out, the Xperia 10 V can be juiced back up via wireless charging or a compatible fast charger, with Sony stating that 30 minutes plugged into a 30W charger will bring the battery to 50%. You’ll need to have your own block, however, as Sony won’t be including a charger or cable in the box. Keeping excess tech from ending up in landfills is commendable, but it’s an extra expense for anyone who doesn’t already own a compatible charger.

Sony Xperia 10 V preview: Early verdict

Even with the minor price reduction, the Sony Xperia 10 V has its work cut out to stand out in a highly competitive mid-range market. Its chipset is more at home in devices that cost at least £70 less than the Xperia 10 V will, while that 60Hz refresh rate is outclassed by plenty of cheaper options, including most of the affordable Motorola phones announced earlier this year.

There are, however, some bright spots: the battery will likely prove to be one of the most enduring on the market, the design is incredibly light for what the phone offers and the extra attention given to the camera suite certainly sounds promising. Whether this adds up to a must-buy phone remains to be seen – we’ll have a full review and final verdict soon.

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