Welcome to the 2017 Sony Xperia XA and XA Ultra review. Over the last 12 months Sony have revamped their smartphone lineup and the XA is year another model they introduced. The Sony XA and it larger brother the XA Ultra are the new X Series smart phones targeted at other  mid-range competitors in specification and pricing. The Sony XA Ultra in January 2017 recommended retail is $799 but you’ll never pay that unless you are brain dead – basically. Currently the XA Ultra appears to be in run out mode so you will be able to find them for under $450 Outright. The smaller Sony XA in January 2017 usually sells for under $300 which is about right. Note that as always there are cheaper high spec phones from other brands but they are not a Sony.

In terms of construction the Sony XA feature an edge to edge bubble screen, metal frame and plastic back plate. It’s feels good to hold despite the plastic back and looks good too. The flaps for the microSD and SIM (separately) on the side are typical Sony so no complaints while there are benefits we prefer the tray solution as championed by Samsung. The XA Ultra has a significant increase in the camera and features a 16M selfie and 21MP rear camera the regular XA is quite ordinary in comparison.

In terms of hardware the CPU is a cheaper Mediatek P10 and basically means it’s a different solution to the usual Qualcomm ones. It is championed as a cheaper solution but is all honestly we didn’t pick up any difference. The XA’s screen is a 72op IPS not the usually LED Triluminos usually used by Sony but the older BRAVIA engine and you can tell it’s not the best image but it’s not the worst either much like the iPhone. The XA Ultra has a 1080p HD screen but same image engine. Overall it’s a mixed bag of specs. The XA has a reasonable 16MP main and 8MP selfie but the XA has the much better 21MP and 16Mp selfie camera. The Sony ‘secret source’ rarely  mentioned by main stream reviews is the ‘Clear Audio’ system on the phones which means bluetooth streaming and music via the ear phones are equal or better to the top end phones even the iPhone.

In terms of use the Sony XA is pretty good, smooth and fully functional the best feature is the music processor branded Clear Audio and when turned on works amazingly well for this price point, easily superior to the cheap models from Huawei and Oppo and even iPhone. The Android OS has not been significantly modified so works predictably although the smart apps still bugs us. Overall there’s nothing to truly complain about.

The Sony XA is a decent mid range phone but a little overpriced however the XA Ultra is much better and for not much more if you shop online. Sure the XA Ultra has a bigger screen hence size but in 2017 the more screen you can see the better your eye site will be in the long run. The Sony XA Ultra is a hidden gem and bargain priced at the moment.

Specifications

  • Sony XA and XA Ultra
  • Network
    Quad-band GSM – All
    Tri-band 3G – All
    Tri-band 4G – All
  • Design
    Touch screen
  • (XA) L143.6 x W66.8 x D7.9 mm (XA Ultra) L164 x W79 x D8.4 mm
  • Weight (XA) 137 grams (XA Ultra) 180 grams
  • Display
    (XA) 5 inch 1280 x 720 IPS
    (XA Ultra) 6 inch 1080 x 1920 IPS
  • Camera
    21MP auto-focus LED Flash
    16MP auto-focus LED Flash
    2nd forward facing video call camera 8MP or 16M
  • Video Camera
    4K UHD 30FPS main video camera
  • Connectivity
    Wi-Fi,  NFC, Bluetooth V4
  • CPU
    Octa-core 2 GHz Mediatek
  • Memory
    2 or 3 Gig RAM
    Up to 16 Gig for user
    Up to 200 Gig micro-SD expansion
  • Features
    A-GPS, Compass, Accelerometer,Proximity, Ambient Light
    Sony Clear Audio system
    FM Radio with RDS
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Li-Po 2300 mAh battery or Li-Po 2700 mAh battery
    Up to 22 Days Standby
    Up to 17 hours Talk Time
  • Price history
    Approx (XA) Under $500 ($300 usually) AUD
    (XA Ultra) Under $799 ($500 usually) January 2017 (Outright)

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