Sony has confirmed that the Sony Xperia 10 III is in the works and will ship in the next few months. Sony's mid-range phone is certain to compete with the best cheap phones, thanks in part to its 5G connectivity.
Thanks to its upgraded Snapdragon chipset, battery, and cameras, the Xperia 10 III will hopefully fare better than the Xperia 10 II, which tended to have sluggish performance and camera speeds in our tests last year.
Here's everything you need to know about Sony's budget 2021 phone, including when you can buy it, Xperia 10 III specs, and how much it'll likely cost.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Sony's budget 5G smartphone
- When is it out? Early summer 2021
- How much will it cost? We don't know, but it'll be affordable
Sony Xperia 10 III release date and price
Sony says the Xperia 10 III release date will be 'early Summer 2021' but doesn't specify a date. Summer begins on June 20, so we'd expect to see a launch date confirmed for late June or early July. Anything later wouldn't qualify as 'early.'
As for the Xperia 10 III price, we don't have an official number from Sony just yet.
Last year's 10 model cost £319 / $399 (about AU$520), so it's fair to guess this year's phone will fall somewhere in that range. The addition of a 5G chip and larger battery could bump up the price, but likely no higher than £369 / $500 / $AU650.
Design and display
Most of the differences between the Sony Xperia 10 III and Xperia 10 II seem to be internal, based on the Sony's official renders and specs for its new phone.
You'll find the same 6-inch FHD OLED display with Sony's trademark 21:9 widescreen aspect ratio in the Xperia 10 III as its predecessor. Also returning is its notchless design: the selfie camera is stuck above the display so nothing obstructs your view.
The 21:9 aspect ratio is going to be hit-or-miss for some phone users; it lets you stack two apps on top of one another or get more landscape real estate for movies and games, but a mid-range Snapdragon may have more trouble running multiple apps or demanding apps smoothly.
Since Sony didn't mention it, we can assume the 10 III will be made of plastic rather than metal – which the fancier Xperia phones have. It will be available in Black, Blue, and White.
More returning features from last year's phone: Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back, IP65/IP68 water and dust resistance, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a compact design built for one-handed browsing. The Xperia 10 III weighs 169g (6oz) and measures 68mm (2.7in) wide compared to 151g (5.3oz) and 69mm for the Xperia 10 II.
Cameras and battery life
One of the biggest enhancements for the Sony Xperia 10 III is its upgraded battery life. It will sport a 4,500mAh battery, compared to 3,600mAh with the 10 II.
In our battery tests, the 2020 model could last 2 days with light usage but struggled somewhat with heavy media usage. Considering the Xperia 10 III is ostensibly designed for movie watching, this upgrade is a necessary and welcome addition.
Sony says the Xperia 10 III has a 'new triple lens camera,' but spec-wise that's a bit of an exaggeration. The Xperia 10 III will have 16mm ultra-wide, 27mm wide, and 54mm telephoto cameras, but these focal lengths all fall within a few millimeters of the 10 II's cameras. It's possible the new main camera will have a wider FOV and smaller aperture, but nothing drastically different.
In fact, a recent Sony spec leak indicated the Xperia 10 III will have a 12MP main camera, an 8MP telephoto one, and an 8MP ultra-wide – which matches the Xperia 10 II cameras.
There are some neat new software updates to the cameras, like an 'animal detection' tool that identifies dogs or cats in frame and adjusts settings to reduce blur while you're trying to catch them on the move. But we wouldn't buying this phone for the photography.
Performance and software
The other major addition to this phone is the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 5G chipset. Most new 5G phones tend to be pricier, so the Xperia 10 III could compete with other budget 5G phones like the Motorola One 5G and Oppo Find X2 Lite.
Sony hasn't announced RAM and storage for its upcoming phone just yet. However, a recent Geekbench 5 listing indicated that an upcoming Sony phone fitting the Xperia 10 III's description would have 6GB of RAM.
The Xperia 10 II had a Snapdragon 660 and 4GB of RAM, which suggests its successor could get a decent performance boost. Sony has also confirmed that the Xperia 10 III will run Android 11.