A lot of device makers like to throw the word “Pro” around to attract people looking for more premium devices, but when it comes to the $2,500 Xperia Pro, Sony really means it.
While the Xperia Pro shares much of the same guts and design as the Xperia 1 ii, Sony has added a number of significant upgrades designed to help support working photographers, videographers, or broadcasting professionals.
The first big clue is the inclusion of a micro HDMI port (which is a smartphone first according to Sony), allowing users to connect the Xperia Pro to a nearby camera. Once connected, the Xperia Pro can use its built-in 5G modem to take footage from the bigger camera and then upload it to a broadcast station or even livestream content out directly across various platforms. And if your content is a bit less time sensitive, you can also transfer pics or videos to the Xperia Pro via USB-C so that they are automatically uploaded to a specified FTP server.
Alternatively, thanks to Sony’s pre-installed External Monitor app, you can also connect the Xperia Pro to a Sony Alpha camera and use the phone as a 6.5-inch OLED display, allowing you to check exposure and control a wide range of settings via the phone. It’s a handy bit of multitasking, and of course, if you don’t need to tether the Xperia Pro, thanks to its own triple cam module, it can also be used on its own to capture photos and videos too.
One of the big reasons for the Xperia Pro’s high price is that in addition to a built-in micro HDMI port and features like IP 68 water resistance and a Gorilla Glass 6 screen, Sony says it also installed a special 360-degree antenna design to maximize the Xperia Pro’s 5G connectivity. Sony says that when combined with Xperia Pro’s chassis, which was selected to allow radio waves to pass through more easily, the Xperia Pro should deliver peak 5G speeds regardless of how it’s positioned. This might not sound like much, but for people who have used older 5G phones that can suffer from a diminished signal depending on how you hold it, that’s actually a pretty important consideration.
Sony even created a Network Visualizer app for the Xperia Pro, that can be quickly opened using a shortcut button on the side of phone so you can get a more detailed look at the phone’s signal strength, the directionality of your 5G connection, and current data speeds.
That said, one slightly disappointing spec is that because the Xperia Pro has been so long in the making (it was first teased in late February 2020), the phone features an older Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip and X55 modem, instead of Qualcomm’s newer Snapdragon 888 used on phones like the Galaxy S21, which comes with a faster X60 modem.
The Xperia Pro’s 4,000 mAh battery is a tiny bit on the small side too Though Sony says the phone is compatible with the optional UCH32C Fast Charger in case you need to juice up the phone in a jiffy.
Now at $2,500, it’s clear the Xperia Pro is really only intended for use by serious media pros and a niche slice of users, but it’s still nice to see at one phone maker put together a device that takes advantage of 5G for something more than downloading TV shows really quickly.
The Xperia Pro will be available from select retailers starting today, and in the U.S., the phone is designed to work on Verizon, who Sony has partnered with to help deliver optimal 5G connectivity.