Sat. Apr 4th, 2020

Do ultra panoramic phones make sense? The case of the Sony Xperia 1

For a long time the phone screens had some 16: 9 ratios, but this began to change with the arrival of phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8. Whose screen had 18: 5 ratios. Which translates into a more panoramic screen. That phone he was welcomed with some strangeness for this detail, but since then the phone screens have maintained that panoramic design or have even accentuated it.

What is not so clear is that manufacturers are willing to make the leap to use, at least massively, ultra panoramic screens. These have proportions 21: 9, which are the ones that use movie screens. Sony is incorporating them into their phones Xperia 1, Xperia 5 and Xperia 10. This kind of screens are a rarity. Although there are numerous computer monitors with 21: 9 ratios.

Sony Xperia 1.

Sony Xperia 1.
(Ramón Peco)

Sony is not the only manufacturer that introduces such screens on phones. The famous folding smartphone Samsung Galaxy Fold Undisplayed displays a screen with 21: 9 format. Motorola has incorporated them into its mid-range One Vision and One Action models. There is even a fairly inexpensive phone from the Oukitel company that uses such a panel. But with a size somewhat smaller than 6 inches. This is the Oukitel U18, which can be found for about 150 euros.

The first thing that catches the attention of this kind of screens is that significantly alter the design of the phone. Well, they make it much longer. So it may not be easy to carry it in your pocket if the screen has a large size, as is the case of the 6.5-inch Sony Xperia 1. Although the main problem with these screens is that they complicate being able to use the phone with a hand.


Although Sony has incorporated in its software various tools to use these phones with one hand. Another problem is that the text looks too small when reading vertically, because the screen is too narrow. It is convenient to increase the size of the typography of the operating system and the contents we see on the Internet so that this does not happen.

Now let's see the advantages of this kind of screens. They are clearly oriented for those who usually watch a lot of audiovisual content on the phone, especially movies and certain series. Thanks to its proportions it is possible to watch movies produced in 21: 9 without black stripes, the same as the most panoramic formats used in cinema. Like the Cinemascope. Although if for example we want to watch a video recorded in 16: 9 format, these black stripes will appear because a 21: 9 screen is wider.

Sony Xperia 1.

Sony Xperia 1.
(Ramón Peco)

Although such a screen is primarily designed to view audiovisual content, it also provides an important advantage in the face of performing several tasks with the phone. It takes much better advantage of the Android mode to use two applications at the same time.

On the huge 6.5-inch screen of the Sony Xperia 1 we found it extremely easy to write while using the calculator, because the screen is divided into two almost square halves. Although we can vary the size dedicated to each application.


Sony has introduced a very interesting function also in its Xperia 1 and Xperia 5: a professional application for video recording with cinematic parameters in 4K with 21: 9 ratios. Although it attracts the attention that when taking a photo we see huge black stripes in the native camera application. That happens because the photos, as in the vast majority of phones, are taken with a 4: 3 ratio if we use the entire resolution of the camera. A bad issue for a widescreen

What we have no doubt is that these panoramic panels, designed primarily to view audiovisual content, only make sense if they are of high quality. In the case of the Sony Xperia 1 we are talking about a spectacular screen: OLED technology, HDR, 4K resolution and ability to display a huge color palette.

These panoramic panels, designed primarily to view audiovisual content, only make sense if they are of high quality

Sony has also incorporated into its software something very similar to Filmmaker mode, which has just been announced for televisions. With the so-called Creator Mode it is possible to watch movies or television series with great fidelity. At least those broadcast on Netflix, which has incorporated a system that alerts the phone to activate that Creator Mode.

A Dolby Atmos sound system has also been added, which produces reasonably good sound. Although many surely prefer to listen to the sound using headphones. The Sony Xperia 1 is ready to play high definition audio. Another thing that is important in a phone designed for the intensive reproduction of audiovisual content: a large capacity battery.

Another thing that is important in a phone designed for intensive reproduction of audiovisual content, a large capacity battery

The Sony Xperia 1 in this regard should improve, because its 3,300 mAh battery simply does not fit to intensively reproduce audiovisual content. Even less if we also record video or take photos with some frequency. Luckily it is compatible with fast charging technology.

In short, the 21: 9 screens are surely not going to become the standard that the industry mostly uses, but the public that gives importance to watching quality movies or series on a phone will quickly forget about the ergonomic problems of this class of phones. In addition, this type of panels may be more demanded in the future when 5G technology begins to become popular. Well, with the new networks, streaming content will gain in image quality.

The public that gives importance to watch quality movies or series on a phone will quickly forget about the ergonomic problems of this kind of screens

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