Leading the new mid-ranger lineup of Sony is the Xperia XA series. The biggest and the most capable on the current category is the Sony Xperia XA Ultra. Packing an improved design, upgraded dual camera setup, and faster processor, could the new phablet live to its name? We will find out in our full review and in-depth test of the Sony Xperia XA Ultra Dual SIM model.
We’re happy to see that Sony has started complimenting the hardware design of their devices to their packaging. Of course, the real stars here are the content inside the box. The wall chager or power adapter has now higher amperage rating at 1.5A prodivind faster charging time. Other accessories are the stereo headset with mic, USB data cable, and set of papers.
Design and build
Like its name suggests, the new Ultra still carries the unwieldy aspects of its predecessor, the Xperia C5 Ultra. It’s huge and one-handed use is a challenge in my case. However, overall design feels noticeably better. The back looks premium despite made from a satin plastic material while the front is beveled 2.5D scratch-resistant glass with one of thinnest screen bezels.
The ports and buttons are more than enough, thanks to the extra dedicated camera button on the right side. The on-screen navigational keys are still present and need some getting used to if you’re coming a capacitive set of keys. There will be options between a dual and single SIM models with either of the two getting a microSD card expansion for up to 128GB.
Splashed with a new lime gold color, the XA Ultra is attractive though not so flashy. Other color variants are the graphite black and white.
The missing fingerprint scanner may be an issue for some. Nevertheless, overall build and design of the XA Ultra is a refreshing take and proves that Sony is improving every aspect of their new devices.
At 1080p resolution and 6-inch wide, the enormous 2.5d curved display of the Xperia XA Ultra produces really bright output and crisp details. The colors are as not as vivid on the Triluminos screen of Xperia X series, but for a mid-range, it’s already good enough with sharp and high viewing legibility.
Dual camera with the best selfie shooter
Sony have dramatically improved the dual camera setup on their new selfie-centric mid-ranger. The main camera is now 21.5MP to be exact while the selfie is a 16MP paired with OIS. The missing OIS on the back is understandable since Sony uses proprietary electronic stabilization on its Xperia camera phones.
The quality and color accuracy are just impressive as on a flagship camera phone. There are times of inaccurate white balance, but most shots look pleasing with photos having the extra details due to the high res sensor.
Perhaps the 16MP camera the best one we’ve encountered in a mid-ranger and it’s really great for selfie lovers. There’s a noticeable fuzzy issue in preview mode, but actual shots are top notch with incredible sharpness, color rendering, and white balance control.
The video shooting is 1080p max with the really good quality for a mid-ranger camera and the image stabilization behind works effective than some OIS-equipped shooters.
Performance and benchmark
Under the hood is an Mediatek Helio P10 with octa-core processor. It scores averagely in our Antutu benchmark test and with smooth actual performance. The Android 6.0 Marshmallow and 3GB RAM did not leave us hanging in everyday tasks.
The gaming performance is comparable to the Xperia XA with up to moderate graphics in NBA 2K16. Overall, the new set of internal hardware makes the phablet a reliable daily driver and performer.
Battery and charging
With a really huge footprint, we’d expected that Sony would go for a bigger battery cell. Sadly not, in this case. Instead, we are treated with a 2700 mAh non-removable one that barely last up the second day without using the Stamina Mode.
Our Endurance Rating shows average for the phablet with screen-on time peaks at 3 hours using cellular and WiFi connection. Meanwhile, charging time is quite slow using the default charger.
Audio and speaker
What the battery failed to deliver is what did the set of audio features make up for. The Sony Xperia XA Ultra has one of the best mono speakers in a phone, it’s loud and has clear and crisp vocals. It easily matches the power from the big phablets like the Samsung Galaxy A9.
Price and Verdict
The Sony Xperia XA Ultra retails for P17,990 to P19,990 price ($400 USD) in pesos in the Philippines depending on which you will buy the unit.
For its price, this phablet will be worth the buy especially focusing on its multimedia aspect. Overall, Sony impressed with the Xperia XA Ultra with gorgeous design, solid build quality, and one of the best selfie cameras to date.
Pros and Cons of Sony Xperia XA Ultra
+ Great, wide display
+ Premium feel
+ Selfie expert
+ Accurate camera
+ Loud mono speaker
– No fingerprint scanner
– Average battery life
Sony Xperia XA Ultra dual Full specs, Official price, Release Date in the Philippines
- Display: Edge-to-Edge 6-inch Full HD, 367 ppi
- Design: Metal frame, 2.5D curved arc glass, scratch-resistant glass, super thin bezel
- Size: 8.4 mm thick, 202 g weight
- Chip: MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core CPU clocked at 2.0GHz each core
- GPU: Mali T860 with 700MHz graphics
- RAM: 3GB
- Memory: 16GB internal storage + 200GB max microSD card
- Camera: 21.5MP main camera, hybrid focus, 1080p Full HD video, OIS (front), LED flash
- Selfie: 16MP front-facing, LED flash, OIS, 1080p video
- Connectivity: Dual 4G LTE nano SIM, WiFi a, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS
- Audio: Single or mono loudspeaker, FM Radio with RDS
- Ports: micro USB 2.0
- Fingerprint scanner: N/A
- Battery: 2700 mAh, non-removable, Fast Charging support
- OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Xperia UI
- Colors: Lime Gold, White, Black
- Price: P17,990 to P19,990 price in pesos (~$400 USD)
- Release date: July availability in the Philippines