The Sony Xperia 1 Review: A 21:9 Take of the Worldby Andrei Frumusanu on July 26, 2019 8:00 AM EST
3D performance of the Xperia 1 is dictated by both the SoC’s GPU and power efficiency, as well as the device’s thermal dissipation design. I found Sony’s design quite weird in this regard as there’s some discrepancy in terms of the resulting thermal performance. For one the SoC is seemingly located on the right next to the cameras which is by far the phone’s hottest hot-spot during heavy operation. I found that however this heat isn’t nearly as well dissipated to the whole body of the phone as other designs, and there’s a big delta between the skin temperature near the SoC and the bottom half of the phone.
In the 3DMark physics test, the CPU throttling situation was actually quite dire as the phone lost more than half of its peak performance during prolonged thermal loads, which is the worst showing of a Snapdragon 855 phone yet, at least in terms of the CPU behaviour.
However when looking at the GPU behaviour, we’re seeing the Xperia 1 not faring nearly as badly, with the phone only trailing the OnePlus 7 Pro which had exemplary throttling behaviour.
The figures continue in a similar pattern for all our other GPU-bound 3D tests, showcasing that the Xperia 1 is surprisingly able to maintain quite high GPU performance even though its thermal dissipation design isn’t the best. It’s an interesting juxtaposition between how the CPU throttles and how the GPU throttles, and it’s obvious the GPU is being given more leeway in terms of the peak temperatures it’s allowed to reach.
Overall, unless your game is quite CPU intensive, the Xperia 1 should offer still quite excellent gaming experience. It’s to be also noted that even though the device does have a 4K screen, games will be rendered at 1440p which is less demanding. Sony doesn’t offer any gaming tools which could further optimise performance or the experience – for example I think the phone would have greatly benefited from a 1080p gaming mode, however the Xperia 1 has to rely on actual games resolution scaling to further improve performance if necessary.
Another gaming aspect of the Xperia 1 that is unique to Sony’s phones is the fact that the phone out of the box supports PS4 remote play, in which your PlayStation 4 is able to stream the game to your phone. You’re also able to pair up with the DualShock 4 game controller - the combination definitely is an interesting. (Note: Yes it’s also possible to do this on non-Sony devices with a modified APK)