A phone that justifies the "Pro" name
Sony tidied its naming convention up with last year's Xperia 1, then quickly confused things again by launching the mid-range Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus, and later the high-end Xperia 5. Now we have the Xperia 1 II (pronounced 'mark 2'), as well as the Xperia 10 II. Confused? Sony seems to be.
With this mix of numbers and numerals, the new Xperia Pro stands as a refreshing outlier. It's arguably more deserving of the "Pro" moniker than any other phone ever released, primarily because of its intended use in professional broadcasting rather than as a consumer smartphone.
What can the Xperia Pro do?
The few minutes that the Xperia Pro was allocated during Sony's presentation, highlighted the key differences between it and the Xperia 1 II.
To look at, it offers a markedly similar form, with the same 6.5in 90Hz 21:9 4K OLED display, giving it a tall, slender silhouette. A thicker bezel and frame are the only real external indicators that this is a different beast. It's much the same on the inside too, with a Snapdragon 865 processor at its heart, backed up by 8GB of RAM, plus the same 4000mAh battery to keep things running. It does, however, benefit from twice the internal storage, at 512GB of ROM.
One of the Xperia 1 II's key selling points is the addition of 5G, but in truth, it only supports sub6 5G protocols - a faster and wider-reaching iteration on the current LTE network technology. The Xperia Pro, meanwhile, also accommodates mmWave 5G technology, allowing for far greater data transfer over shorter distances.
Sony mentioned that it had already been trialling mmWave 5G technology with Verizon and NBC Sports in the US, and the Xperia Pro is the final product based on these trials.
It uses a unique four-antenna design to offer 360-degree coverage and while the Xperia 1 II reintroduced the headphone jack, the Xperia Pro boasts a microHDMI port too, allowing it to interface directly with broadcast cameras.
When is the Xperia Pro available?
For a consumer-focused presentation, it seemed odd that "Sony's innovative solution for professionals" also got some stage time. By its very nature, it's unlikely that the Pro will ever arrive on store shelves and instead will probably only ever appear as a purchase option through business-to-business retail channels.
Sony didn't cite a release date for the Xperia Pro on stage but with the underlying technology already having been trialled and the similarly-specced Xperia 1 II set to launch in late Spring 2020, it stands to reason that the Xperia Pro won't be far behind.
As for how much it'll cost, we won't know until it does release, however, it's nature as a piece of professional broadcasting equipment suggests it'll be markedly pricier than its consumer-focused counterpart.