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Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra Preview: A solid mid-range phablet with hefty price tag

26 January 2018 5

The Japanese giant Sony kicked off this year with the two mid-rangers Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra. Both the latest XA2 series devices were showcased at this year CES show. The new mid-range series bringing a number of features to lure customers. The new gen devices not only have upgraded hardware but also they are packed with the latest hardware, gigantic battery, latest OS and higher resolution display. The XA 2 is the standard mid-range device with 5.2-inches display whereas the XA2 Ultra as the name suggests fall in the phablet category.

The Xperia XA2 Ultra emerges as one of the best affordable mid-range in the market and it will lure those customers who want a large display powerful device but can't afford Mate 10 Pro or other high-end phablets. Like always whenever a new smartphone is announced everyone is keen to know more about its pros and cons. We always put new smartphones in comparison with their competitors to know everything about the device in detail and how well it competes against other options available in the same niche. Our comparisons certainly help buyers to easily decide whether they should grab the device or opt for any other option in the same niche.

Today we will be previewing the latest XA2 Ultra to know everything about this device in detail. We already put it in head to head comparisons with a number of devices and already previewed its smaller sibling XA2. Now is the perfect time to preview XA2 Ultra to know more about the Sony's latest offering in large display segment. Without any further delay let's start with the design of XA2 Ultra.

80 x 163 x 9.5 mm
6 inches - 1920x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

The design of XA2 Ultra for sure will disappoint you if you are looking for an ultra-thin bezels design. The company is yet not ready to enter the arena of bezel-less smartphones instead the company still retains the thick bezels Omni Balance design which they are adopting from half a decade. Ahead of the XA2 series announcement, we heard rumors that Sony might bring this series with an updated design but that's not the case instead the company only slightly trimmed the bezels.

For sure on the first look, you can easily identify it as a Sony branded Xperia smartphone. The chassis is made up of metal which looks quite premium but the polycarbonate rear slightly deters the premium feel. The front side has a large display with thick bezels on top and bottom. The rear side comes with a single rear snapper. The XA2 Ultra dimensions are 163 x 80 x 9.5mm and it weighs 221g. So the device is not only gigantic in size but also one of the heaviest smartphone in the market.

Due to its large design its simply not an easy task to grab the device in one palm, So you need to use it with two hands while checking notifications. The fingerprint scanner is shifted to the rear side below the camera module. It is the Sony's first smartphone with a fingerprint scanner at a convenient place. The new location is quite easily accessible for both left and right-hand users. Unlike most of the latest devices, it still retains the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. For connectivity and charging it has USB-C port.

The power and volume rockers are on the right edge. Unfortunately, it lacks IP-ratings which means it isn't water and dust resistant.

Display

One of the key selling features of XA2 Ultra is its gigantic display panel. Despite the fact it has fairly large bezels it still comes with a 6.0-inches display with Full HD screen resolution. Its an IPS LCD display with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The display pixels density is 367 pixels-per-inch.

The XA2 Ultra is amongst the few smartphones which feature such gigantic display with thin bezels. Last year almost all smartphones with 6.0-inches display have a bezel-less design so that large displays can fit easily in a small package but that's not the case here. The XA2 Ultra will attract those buyers who want a large display device to watch Netflix and online video contents but don't want to spend hefty amounts on it. The XA2 Ultra display is brighter but not as sharp as XA2 Ultra due to low count of pixels-per-inch.

Camera

The Xperia XA2 Ultra is the company's first offering with dual camera setup on the front. So far it's not the only mid-range this year with dual selfie cameras, we already saw the Samsung Galaxy A8 series with dual cameras on the front for selfie lovers. So if you are a selfie lover for sure the XA2 Ultra will lure you. Like most of the mid-rangers, the rear side is adorned with the single camera module.

The rear primary module is the 23MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture. Although the aperture is small the company doubled the ISO to 12,800 to ensure better photography even in low-light conditions. Although the primary sensor remains same as the predecessor there is number of upgraded features. It can now shoot 4K video as well as slow-motion 2K videos at 30 fps.

Up front, the dual selfie cameras are 16MP and 8MP. The primary snapper 16MP module has Optical image stabilization whereas the secondary 8MP module is a wide-angle lens with a 120 degrees field of view. The shutter speed of the camera is pretty quick and you switch between the two sensors seamlessly. The wide-angle lens allows the user to capture more people in the single selfie or they can capture more view in a single shot. Thanks to OIS the images are not blurry. A LED flashlight is on board to provide sufficient light even in low-light conditions.

The camera setup on the Xperia XA2 Ultra is worth appreciating and certainly, you won't disappoint with the performance of this device cameras. The predecessor low-lit capturing capabilities were pretty average but this year Sony paid special attention to this aspect as well which is worth appreciating.

Hardware

After a year delay, Sony once again reverted to the Qualcomm's chipset for their mid-rangers. Last year XA1 and XA1 Ultra were running on the MediaTek SoCs which were not as powerful as Qualcomm and also they lag in many aspects. Being a mid-range we can't expect it to have the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 SoC instead the device has mid-range Octa-core Snapdragon 630 chipset.

It is one of the solid mid-range chipsets from Qualcomm which is powering a number of mid-rangers in the market including the well appreciated Moto X4. The XA2 Ultra Octa-core SoC is accompanied with 4GB RAM under the hood with 32GB built-in storage. The built-in storage is further expandable using MicroSD card. So if you want more storage you don't have to worry as it is further expandable to cater your needs. The Snapdragon 630 and 4GB RAM duo brings enough power on board to handle all your daily tasks.

So if you are looking for a solid mid-range the XA2 Ultra is powerful enough to be your next daily driver. The device performs most of the tasks seamlessly. For connectivity, it has latest Bluetooth 5.0 on board which is worth commendable as not all the latest smartphones have this feature.

Specs Xperia XA2 Ultra
Display 6.0-inches
Screen resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 630
RAM 4GB
Storage 32GB Expandable via MicroSD
Rear camera 23MP
Front camera 16MP+8MP
USB Type-C
OS Android Oreo 8.0
IP-ratings None
Battery 3,580mAh

Software

Although its a mid-range device but the good thing is the company pre-installed the Xperia XA2 with the latest Android Oreo. The company didn't add much bloatware to the latest version of Android OS that's why it is pretty smooth and close to the stock flavor of Android OS. The new UI is pretty clean with few bloatware apps like Xperia Actions and few. The applications opening time is pretty fluid you won't feel lag at any point.

Its good to see Sony brought the latest flavor of Android OS to the mid-rangers. The customers won't have to wait for the latest version instead the next big update is still few good months away. Till then you can enjoy the latest Oreo flavor when most of the owners of the mid-range device are still waiting for it.

Battery

The last year XA1 and XA1 Ultra were much criticized due to smaller battery cell but for this year XA2 and XA2 Ultra Sony packed fairly large battery cells. The new XA2 Ultra comes with 20% extra battery cell than XA1 Ultra. A 3,580mAh battery cell is on board to keep the device lights on. It supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 for fast charging. The device easily lasts two days on a single charge, however, on heavy usage it needs to be recharged again at night. So if you are a heavy user, you certainly won't regret the battery performance of this device.

Price and Availability

Most of the times successor device is slightly expensive than the predecessor as the cost of technology is increasing, same is the case with the Xperia XA2 Ultra. Despite the fact it's not the best amongst the best in the mid-range segment still, it is available for 450 Euros in Europe whereas the smaller sibling can be grabbed for 100 Euros.

The UK and US pricing is still in dark but if the company convert the same price tag for these regions, the XA2 Ultra will become a direct competitor of OnePlus 5T and Honor View 10 which are bringing top-tier hardware at this price range. For the US and other regions, the XA2 Ultra is expected to be available from February this year.

Conclusion:

The XA2 Ultra is certainly bringing solid mid-range hardware with dual selfie cameras, latest Android OS and the gigantic battery cell. However, still, it lacks the wow factor in design. The company claims the XA2 Ultra features a borderless design still the bezels are very thick on top and bottom edge. Surprisingly Sony placed the XA2 Ultra in same pricing category where buyers have options like OnePlus 5T and Honor View 10. These two devices are bringing the best value for money, this aspect for sure will hurt the XA2 Ultra success.

The XA2 Ultra will lure mid-range buyers looking for a large display smartphone with gigantic battery but pricing might force them to prefer any other device in this segment. At the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the XA2 Preview in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons and previews.

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra isn't still available. To be notified when it becomse available click here.

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