Sony Xperia Pro is a $2,500 phone and 4K camera monitor that can broadcast video

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Sony Xperia Pro

Here’s the Sony Xperia Pro mounted on a Sony A7S III mirrorless camera. An HDMI cable allows you to use the Pro’s 4K display as a field monitor.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Over the past few years, with phones like the (read as «one mark two») and the , Sony’s moved away from mainstream appeal and aimed itself at photo and video enthusiasts. The new Sony Xperia Pro is the most extreme example of this move to date. The $2,500 phone (which converts roughly to £1,830 or AU$3,250) isn’t meant to compete with the likes of the iPhone 12 Pro Max or the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Its HDMI input transforms it from a phone into several other devices for photographers, videographers and live broadcasters.

Remember in 2007, when Steve Jobs first announced the original iPhone? He teased the audience saying that he had three revolutionary products to release: a widescreen iPod, a phone and an internet communicator. I’d be the first to stop any comparisons between the Xperia Pro and the original iPhone. But following Jobs’ formula, the Xperia Pro is four products: a phone, a camera monitor, a speedy photo file transfer device and a 5G machine suitable for broadcasting and livestreaming.

The Xperia Pro aims to fill the void left by the 2018 Red Hydrogen One phone, which lost itself in the world of 3D (or 4V as Red called it) and disappointed filmmaking enthusiasts and professionals who hoped for the ultimate video recording phone. Aside from a cameo on Dominic Toretto’s dashboard in the F9 trailer, the Hydrogen line of phones shut down at the end of 2019 when Red’s CEO and founder Jim Jannard retired.

Sony Xperia Pro

The Sony Xperia Pro comes in black. In certain light it looks dark gray. The back and the sides of the phone are in what seems like a built-in case.

Patrick Holland/CNET

I got my hands on a preproduction Xperia Pro, which only had support for mmWave 5G (the final phone will support both sub-6 and mmWave 5G). The Pro is essentially an Xperia 1 II repackaged into a new and bigger body, complete with a micro-HDMI port and a USB-C port. The back and the sides of the phone are covered by what seems like a built-in case. Gone is the glass back on the Xperia 1 II.

The Xperia Pro has a dedicated shutter button, a new shortcut button and a side-mounted power button and fingerprint reader. It has the exact same cameras as the Xperia 1 II. Powering the Pro is a Snapdragon 865 5G chip and 12GB of RAM. There’s an easy-to-open dual-SIM card tray that can also be used with a microSD card for extra storage. Even before you connect a dedicated camera to its HDMI port, the Xperia Pro is capable of taking excellent photos and videos.

On paper, the HDMI input along with the Xperia Pro’s 6.5-inch 4K display and 5G connectivity make it an ideal companion for photographers, video shooters and content creators. There’s so much to test and I’m really looking forward to it.

The Xperia Pro’s $2,500 price will definitely cause sticker shock. But if you add up its functionality (phone, 4K monitor, 5G cellular modem) the price becomes easier to swallow. And for a certain type of creative, the Xperia Pro could be worth every penny. The Xperia Pro is now for sale in the US.