Sony Xperia Pro review: Phone, 4K camera monitor and 5G
Is the new Sony Experior pro and it is absolutely one of the most compelling phones I've seen in a long time.
Let's take a look
Over the past few years.
Phones like the exterior one mark two and the exterior five mark to move Sony phones away from the mainstream and competently toward photo and video enthusiasts.
The new Sony Xperia Pro is the most extreme example of this move to date.
The 20 $500 phone isn't meant to compete with the likes of the iPhone 12 Pro max or the Samsung Galaxy S 21 Ultra.
What makes it unique is how an HDMI input transforms the exterior pro into several other devices for photographers, videographers and live broadcasters It's a phone, a camera monitor, a speedy photo file transfer device and a 5G broadcast live streaming machine.
I got my hands on a pre production experience pro which is essentially an experiment one mark two repackaged into a new slightly bigger body complete with a micro HDMI port.
It looks unabashedly plain and utilitarian which is fantastic.
Luckily, Sony kept the squared off side so you can still stand it up on its own.
It has a dedicated shutter button, a side mounted power button slash fingerprint reader and a hardware shortcut key.
It has the same easy to open dual SIM card tray that can also be used with a micro SD card.
For expanded storage, it has the same cameras and seems capable of taking the same excellent photos and videos as the exterior one mark two.
This also means it has the same Snapdragon 865 chip and still runs Android 10 though It did get a boost in ram, and now has 12 gigabytes.
So since 90% of this phone is the same as the Xperia I mark II, I encourage you to take a look at my review video of that phone, quite an indepth analysis of all of those features.
So, you might be wondering if it's the same as the Xperia I mark II, why does it cost $2,500?
Well, that's where things get very interesting and very niche.
You see the experience pros 6.5 inch 4k display, 5G connectivity the first for a Sony phone in the US and HDMI input, turn this into a handful.
Professional tools for photographers, video shooters and content creators.
And even if you're one of those people, this still might not be exactly for you.
The experiment pro could be used as a 4K field monitor for a dedicated external camera.
It works with any camera that has an HDMI output, you simply connect the phone and the camera Turn the camera on, open up the aptly named external monitor app on the exterior pro depending on your camera settings and output, you'll see a preview of what you're filming on the phone.
To give you an idea of why you might prefer the exterior pro over a cheaper camera monitor.
Here's the affordable 4k camera monitor I use and you can see attached to it is a giant battery.
That powers it, which maybe lasts 45 minutes or less, depending on how bright the screen is.
The Xperia PRO has a 4,000 milli-Amp-hour battery, which lasts for hours.
And if I need to charge it, well on the camera, I could plug it in with a USB-C cable and a portable charger or a portable battery.
Instead of controlling the monitor with these goofy, early 2000s generic computer display buttons, I can interact with the exterior probe like a phone.
To zoom the image in or out, I simply pinch.
The app also has tools for Screen Lock brightness control gridlines framelines and a 180 degree image flip that smartly Sony hasn't made any of this functionality proprietary.
I tried the pro out with both a Sony A seven s three camera and a Panasonic s one a mirrorless camera and the app worked great for both some nitpicks here now since the Image of the video feed is well it doesn't take up the whole screen.
I wish I could offset it to the left or right side of the display, and then have the other half of the display for easily accessing controls and menus.
And since most mirrorless cameras nowadays have their own app for remote control, it would be nice to see a version of the external monitor app that lets you access menu settings.
And the ability to stop and start a recording.
And maybe that's the kind of functionality that would be limited to Sony cameras since Sony makes the act like it doesn't exist, but it would be welcome.
But the fun doesn't stop there you see the phone can accept really any HDMI input.
So I plugged it into my computer using an HDMI cable and put the phone inside a mini teleprompter stand.
So if I'm in a zoom meeting, I can use the video feed from my camera into the computer.
And then I can use the other person's zoom feed through the experience pro and it shows up on my teleprompter.
And now I don't have that weird back and forth icontact thing going on and this is.
Great for a zoom video or any video chat that is being recorded I get the nice image quality out of a dedicated camera without constantly looking away from it when I'm listening to the other person.
As a field monitor the exterior pro does a pretty good job however, indoors I did have trouble seeing the screen sometimes because it doesn't get very bright in sunlight.
I would definitely need to add some sort of shade around it if I was gonna use it.
I should also mention that the external monitor app seemed buggy to me.
But again, this was a pre production unit that I was testing.
Hopefully, it's something addressed in the final version.
And yeah, it just shouldn't be buggy for $2500.
Now, I do wish there was a way to record a video signal Coming in from HDMI, like other high end monitors can, that kind of functionality would really appeal to me and the kind of work I do.
Then using a combination of 5g and the micro HDMI port, you can actually live stream 4k video content from a dedicated external camera was great as you can do this directly to social media platforms like YouTube and And that means I can use a Sony, a seven S three camera and a really nice lens to capture video live and use the Experior pro to upload the video signal over five G.
Preferably millimeter wave.
I should note that this pre production experience protested only supported 5g millimeter wave but I didn't have millimeter wave 5g anywhere near where I was filming to take advantage of the speeds.
The final version of experience pro will support both sub six and millimeter wave 5g so that means you can basically use it anywhere.
You can also use the built in cameras On the phone to stream live but come on when you have access to such a fantastic, dedicated camera like a Sony A 73 .Why would you want to use the phone cameras to do that?
Remember when it said that this film was aimed at a niche audience?
Well, this particular feature definitely is now an interesting proof of concept.
That Sony shared with me was unfold display along the sidelines of NFL games in the form of a camera rig, nicknamed the mega dome.
It's made up of a Sony Alpha mirrorless camera, a gimbal, a monitor and a cellular modem which was in the camera operators backpack.
And that cellular modem allowed the cameras to share his signal To the broadcast truck wirelessly so that means a camera operator isn't tethered to a giant physical cable.
And it's not hard to imagine an exterior probe being used in lieu of a cellular modem and or the monitor to find the best 5g support.
There's a built in network visualizer app that can help you pinpoint the best way to position your phone for a live broadcast.
So one of the reasons behind the practical looking body of experience pro That it has four different 5G antennas.
So those antennas along with that app allows you to get the optimal signal for a live broadcast.
Since where I was feeling only had sub six 5G support and the phone doesn't support that.
The network visualizer app only showed me 4G LTE availability which.
Literally surrounds me.
And last, just as the Xperia 5 Mark II broad support for USBC tethering to the A7S III for speedy photo file, transfers to an FTP server, File Transfer Protocol, the Xperia Pro inherits the same ability.
With the addition of 5g, you could have even faster speeds in theory.
To wrap things up aside from proving all of its capabilities, the $2500 price will definitely cause sticker shock for many people but if you add up its functionality phone, 4k monitor, 5g cellular modem the price becomes a lot easier to swallow, but the question remains Is the experience Pro for you?
So I want to hear from you guys.
What do you think of the Sony Xperia Pro?
Are you someone who lives and breathes photography and video capture?
Are you into doing live broadcast over 5G through your thoughts in the comments
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