Which flagship phone is the actual pro’s choice: the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Sony Xperia 1 IV?

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We pitted them against each other.

image credits: topfitness20.online

Sony’s latest enthusiast-targeting smartphone, the Xperia 1 IV, is jam-packed with multimedia capabilities.

Apple, on the other hand, reigns supreme when it comes to designing phones that professionals and journalists adore. Because of its all-around greatness, Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max is in the race to be named the greatest flagship phone in the current market.

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Is Sony in possession of the key to that same restricted club? Let us investigate.

Price and availability of Sony Xperia 1 IV vs iPhone 13 Pro Max

The Sony Xperia 1 IV was unveiled on May 11, 2022, although it won’t be available for buy until June 16 in the UK and Europe, and September 1 in the United States. The only 512GB model will cost $1599 in the United States, while a 256GB model would cost £1299/€1399.

There’s no word on availability in Australia yet, but we’re not holding our breath. Sony phones are usually not sold in the region.

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max will be available in stores on September 24, 2021. The 128GB model costs $1,099 / £1,049 / AU$1,699; the 256GB model costs $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$1,869; the 512GB model costs $1,399 / £1,349 / AU$2,219; and the new 1TB model costs $1,599 / £1,549 / AU$2,569

Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a winner in terms of pricing and availability.

The design of the Sony Xperia 1 IV and the iPhone 13 Pro Max

The Sony Xperia 1 IV shares the same flat sides and unusually tall form factor as the Sony Xperia 1 III.

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Apple has kept the design language of its previous phone with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The 13 boasts a flat stainless steel frame and similarly flat front and back surfaces, just like the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The Sony phone is 185g and is 165 x 71 x 8.2mm. This makes it larger and thicker (160.8 x 78.1 x 7.65mm) than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but also slimmer and lighter. There’s no heavy stainless steel here to weigh it down.

The Sony Xperia 1 IV’s tall forehead and chin bezels are a big cause for its height. Unlike almost every other contemporary flagship, it places the selfie camera above the screen, rather than in a notch.

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Of course, the iPhone has the mother of all screen notches on the top edge of its display. Although Apple claims to have decreased the size of the notch by 20%, it remains an ugly.

Sony is known for packing points of interest around the edges of its phones, which explains the physical camera button and 3.5mm headphone jack, which should appeal to photographers and audiophiles both.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s camera sensors are arranged in a square pattern on the back, whereas Sony’s are arranged in a vertical lozenge.

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The Sony Xperia 1 IV is available in three colours: black, white, and purple. There are more colour options in iPhone-land: graphite, gold, silver, Sierra Blue, and Alpine Green.

Both phones are dust and water resistant to varying degrees. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is waterproof to IP68, whereas the Sony Xperia 1 IV is waterproof to IP68 and IP65.

The Sony’s screen is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, and the iPhone features Apple’s Ceramic Shield, which is manufactured by inserting ceramic nanocrystals into the glass via a high-temperature crystallisation process.

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Display of Sony Xperia 1 IV vs iPhone 13 Pro Max

The 6.5-inch 4K OLED display of the Sony Xperia 1 IV is identical to that on the Xperia 1 III. The ‘4K’ statistic stands out since it translates to a gigantic 3840 x 1644 resolution.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max, on the other hand, has a 6.7-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2778 x 1284. It’s a close match in terms of size and vibrancy, but it’s not quite as crisp.

As a result, the Sony Xperia 1 IV is the only contemporary flagship capable of native 4K playback. With the 21:9 aspect ratio and continuous canvas, Sony is certainly going for that.

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Both screens have a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, making them equally smooth.

The brightness of Sony’s display has been enhanced by 50%. It will be interesting to see if this helps it compete with the iPhone’s punchy display, which is still one of the best in the market.

Cameras of the Sony Xperia 1 IV and the iPhone 13 Pro Max

Both phones feature triple 12MP camera systems, and both companies are noted for their natural colour science. However, that’s where the parallels end.

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Apple and Sony approach photography in very different ways. The iPhone is all about the fire-and-forget experience, with no cumbersome menus or the need to think about what you’re doing.

With an in-depth camera app that matches Sony’s high-end Alpha range of cameras and a tactile two-stage camera shutter button on the right-hand side, the Xperia 1 line is all about pro-level control.

The telephoto mechanism on the Xperia 1 IV is a significant upgrade. This time around, the lens has a continuous zoom range of 70mm to 125mm, roughly corresponding to an optical zoom range of 3.5x to 5.2x. That is unprecedented.

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 3x zoom, on the other hand, appears to be a touch worn out.

Nonetheless, the visual quality of the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera is well known at this point. It is, without a doubt, the greatest smartphone camera system currently available.

This is supported by an uncannily constant sensor shift stabilisation technology and a big (and, at f/1.5, wide open) primary sensor that can record some pretty amazing shots in all lighting conditions. This time around, even the ultra-wide can snap excellent evening images.

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Apart from the hardware, Apple’s premier image processing technology is responsible for a substantial part of the great image quality, which helps deliver excellent results with minimal input. Sony’s phones have never been able to attain the same level of control over your photographs, though.

Apple’s cameras have traditionally had a video recording advantage over the competition, but Sony hopes to improve with the Xperia 1 IV. The Sony Xperia 1 IV offers 4K 120fps slow-mo filming, compared to 4K/60fps on the iPhone, as well as a better dynamic range and a Videography Pro mode for live streaming.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max has its unique video features, such as Cinematic Mode, which allows you to apply Portrait-like bokeh effects to your movie and modify the point of focus in post-production.

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Both phones include 12MP selfie cameras, although the one on the Xperia 1 IV has a bigger sensor.

Specifications and performance of the Sony Xperia 1 IV against the iPhone 13 Pro Max

We’ve all heard the story. Android phones can keep outperforming Apple’s latest in terms of performance, but they’ll always fall short.

We haven’t had the opportunity to put the Sony Xperia 1 IV through its paces yet, but we can confidently predict that it will be slower than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. That’s because it uses the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor as the majority of its competitors, including the Xiaomi 12 Pro and the Oppo Find X5 Pro.

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Those phones also fall well short of the iPhone 13 Pro Max in our testing and benchmarking. Apple’s latest proprietary A15 Bionic chip, which is a beast, is the key to this.

Benchmarks aside, the performance difference between the new iPhone and any Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phone is negligible. Both chips are far more powerful than they need to be for any modern work, from multitasking to high-end 3D gaming.

For what it’s worth, the Sony Xperia 1 IV has twice the RAM of the iPhone 13 Pro Max (12GB vs 6GB). Still, given the underlying differences between how iOS and Android utilise resources, this isn’t much.

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However, Apple’s device has far more storage possibilities than Sony’s. Wherever you are, you have a choice of 128, 256, 512, or 1TB. The Sony Xperia 1 IV comes with 256GB of storage in the UK and Europe and 512GB in the US.

Battery life of the Sony Xperia 1 IV and the iPhone 13 Pro Max

The battery capacity of Sony’s flagship phone has been increased to 5,000mAh. That’s a good size for a premium Android phone, and it’s a lot bigger than the 4,352mAh battery in the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

However, as previously said, iOS and Android handle hardware resources in very different ways, and we’d expect for near parity between the two.

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To compete with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the Sony Xperia 1 IV will have to let the cat out of the bag. We found that after a long day on the Xperia 1 III, we only had about 10% of the battery left. We only had a third of a tank left on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Sony’s increased brute force capacity, combined with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and software upgrades, should help close the gap.

When it comes to charging speeds, neither phone is very noteworthy. Sony’s latest phone offers the same 30W wired charging support as its predecessors, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max can handle 27W.

When competitors provide charging speeds of 80W, 100W, and even 120W, these stats aren’t impressive. Nonetheless, both makers claim that their phones can charge to 50% in 30 minutes.

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Neither company offers a charger in the box, but Apple does supply a wire.

Takeaway

With the Sony Xperia 1 IV, Sony appears to have developed another another media enthusiast’s fantasy. It continues where the Sony Xperia 1 III left off, with an improved camera system, a brighter 4K display, and longer battery life.

It’ll be interesting to see if those improvements are enough to close the 1-point deficit between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and its predecessor. Apple’s newest left us speechless with its fantastic fire-and-forget camera, excellent battery life, and unrivalled performance.

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One thing appears to be certain: Sony will always have a special place in the hearts of photographers, audiophiles, and videophiles who care about quality. Is it, however, possible to combine it .

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