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Sony Xperia XA2 Preview: A solid mid-ranger with 4K video capture and bigger battery

23 January 2018 5

At MWC 2016 the Japanese giant Sony announced Xperia X lineup smartphones as a successor of Z-lineup. The new X-lineup marks the death of Z-series. Under the new X lineup, Sony launched a number of smartphones including the budget-friendly solid mid-ranger XA series with an edge-to-edge design with a solid metal body. Last year Sony took the MWC stage to showcase the mid-rangers successors XA1 and XA1 Ultra. The devices were well appreciated by gadget geeks due to their premium metal build and solid hardware.

This year Sony did a little bit hurry to launch the successor of XA1 series. The XA2 and XA2 Ultra were the company's first offering for this year. Both these latest mid-rangers were showcased at the CES 2018. The new year is kicked off by a number of companies with the mid-rangers. Samsung started this year with Galaxy A8, A8+ 2018, Sony brought XA2 and XA2 Ultra and last but not the least HTC announced pocket-friendly phablet U11 EYEs. All these devices fall into the mid-rangers category.

Like always, whenever a new smartphone is announced we put in competition with the latest offerings in the same category from other OEMs. Same is the case this year we compared the XA2 and XA2 against all their key competitors. The latest XA2 brings top-notch cameras, solid hardware.

The new XA2 is slightly different from the Sony's traditional OmniBalance design, Will the new design turn the tables for the Sony which still seems a bit off the pace from the current gen smartphones. Today we will preview the XA2 in detail to know all the aspects of this device, We are hopeful this preview will certainly allow you better decide whether you should opt the XA2 or not. Without any further delay, let's start with the design.

70 x 142 x 9.7 mm
5.2 inches - 1920x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

Sony once again opted their tested OmniBalance design with few refinements but these refinements are still nowhere near the latest bezel-less smartphones. Sony probably the only company which still retains the thick bezel design. A square metal slab design with significant bezels on top and bottom. The company reduced the bezels to reduce the overall size of the device still they are much bigger than competitors.

The XA2 dimensions are 142 x 70 x 9.7mm, it is slightly thicker and wider than the predecessor. One of the reasons behind thickness is the inclusion of fingerprint scanner on the rear side below the camera module and also the company packed a gigantic battery cell. The XA2 weighs 171g due to metal construction. The chassis is made up of metal with plastic covering the rear. That is why the device looks premium from the front but the plastic rear slightly affects the overall premium feel of the device. The rear side is adorned with single camera module with a flashlight.

Despite having an overall flat design, it has a very slight curve on the rear to make it an easy grabbable device. Thanks to small 5.2-inches display the overall feel of this device is compact and you can easily use it with a single hand. For connectivity, it has USB Type-C port. Unlike most of the latest devices, it comes with 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge. A single speaker is on the bottom edge to provide soothing audio experience. Unfortunately, the XA2 doesn't have water and dust resistance capabilities when most of the smartphones of this range have this feature.

Display

The display certainly an aspect which Sony upgraded from the predecessor for this year XA2. The new XA2 is featuring a 5.2-inches IPS display with full HD screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The display is bright, the contrast ratio is good with a very good pixels density it is pretty clear. The XA2 pixels density is 424 pixels-per-inch with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Despite having thick bezels, the display is seamlessly connected to the edges that's why while watching movies it seems like the display screen is stretched. The display is perfect for those who want a smartphone for web browsing, messaging and emailing but certainly not the best option if you an avid gamer or love to watch video content on your device, in this scenario you may prefer the XA2 Ultra with a larger display.

Hardware

Being the latest mid-range the Qualcomm's latest best offering in the segment Snapdragon 630 chipset is powering it. Under the hood, the chipset is accompanied with 3GB RAM and built-in native storage is 32GB. The good thing is its storage is further expandable via MicroSD card.

The predecessor XA1 was running on the MediaTek chipset, So definitely it is a commendable upgrade. The latest Octa-core mid-ranger SoC from Qualcomm is one of the fastest chipsets in the category. That is why the XA2 navigation is pretty slick and smooth. It comes with Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity which is worth appreciating because even not all the latest flagships have this feature. The XA2 is bringing enough juice under the hood that it can be your next daily driver. It doesn't lag at any aspect which certainly will lure those who wants a solid performing device but at the same time don't want to spend heavy amount.

Specs Xperia XA2
Display 5.2-inches
Screen resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 630
RAM 3GB
Storage 32GB Expandable via MicroSD
Rear camera 23MP with f/2.0 aperture and 4K support
Front camera 8MP
Battery 3,300mAh
USB Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack Yes
OS Android Oreo

Software

As OS the Xperia XA2 is pre-installed with the Android Oreo 8.0 with thin custom UI layer from Sony. It is worth appreciating that Sony pre-loaded their mid-ranger with the latest Android flavor. The amount of bloatware is quite minimum which will be a relief for those who don't want heavy custom layers over the stock version of Android. Another advantage of getting the latest flavor of Android OS is you don't have to wait longer to receive the update when Google is all set for the next big update. The new update brings the latest security patch which means your device is protected against all the latest threats.

Camera

The camera sensor certainly plays an important role in the success of the device, Sony smartphones are known for their top-notch cameras, same is the case with the latest XA2. Sony paid special attention to the camera sensor of XA2 that's why they are much better than predecessor and also on par with the latest offerings from other companies.

The rear camera is a 23MP module with f/2.0 aperture, however, it lacks optical image stabilization which sometimes results in blurry images if your hand shakes while capturing. The company doubled the ISO to 12,800 from the predecessor which results in better images even in low-light conditions. The shutter speed is pretty fast so you can save blur thanks to instantly shuttering capabilities of the XA2. The rear snapper on XA2 is slightly protruding and the lens is covered with a plastic. Another plus point is the device now supports 4K recording as well as slow-motion recording at 120 frames per second.

Thanks to improved ISO, the new now captures pretty well even in low-lit conditions. The front-facing selfie camera is the wide-angle 8MP module with f/2.4 aperture. Surprisingly the selfie-camera aperture is quite odd. The camera field of view is 120 degrees which allow users to capture wide-angle selfies with more buddies. The XA2 front camera FOV is enhanced with the software optimization rather than camera's hardware capability. That is why results are not accurate all the time.

Battery

Another important upgrade with this year XA2 is the battery cell. This certainly a reason behind the increase in thickness and weight. The last year XA1 features a relatively small 2,300mAh battery which was criticized due to its average battery life and also it doesn't have fast charging support. This year Sony certainly listens to the customer's demand and bought a larger battery cell of 3,300mAh.

The gigantic battery cell easily lasts one day on heavy usage, its a 1,000mAh enhancements from the predecessor. On normal to mid-range usage, the XA2 battery survives two days. Another good thing is it quickly recharges again thanks to Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0.

Price and Availability

As far as availability and release is a concern the XA2 is yet not available in most of the regions. The XA2 is currently up for pre-orders in few European countries. The device is yet not released in the UK and the US but what we know so far the device will be available from Three and O2 in the UK whereas in the US it will be AT&T compatible device. For the European region, the device is up for pre-order at 350 Euros which usually will be same for the UK buyers in pounds.

Its a significant increase in pricing from the predecessor. The XA1 was available for £229, a sudden jump in pricing is due to improved display, large battery, and better camera sensors. The XA2 will be a direct competitor to Moto G5S Plus and Honor 7X in this price range.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly the Xperia XA2 is a solid mid-range smartphone with a number of positive aspects. Though the design is not futuristic but still its a welcome change considering the older traditional design. The overall feel of the device is premium. The display is not fairly large but certainly rich with colors due to high pixels density. In hardware section, the device is pretty much capable to handle everything you throw at it during your daily routine.

The inclusion of fingerprint scanner is certainly a new addition from Sony in the mid-range segment. However, the price tag is certainly too high which makes it one of the prices mid-range in the market. At the moment it is still in dark how much it will cost in the US, the device could be released at slightly lower price tag than European region. At the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts in the comments section below regarding the Xperia XA2 Preview. Stay tuned for more comparisons and previews.

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