When Sony unveiled the latest additions to their excellent Xperia range earlier this year, the Sony XA took a lot of people by surprise. Sony already had a great reputation for making brilliant phones with great build quality, but the Xperia XA really stood out from other mid-range handsets – and for good reason.
Its design, for a start, is simply phenomenal. Sony have always bucked the trend when it comes to building their phones – something that’s clear in the Xperia XA’s thin form and extra height. It’s certainly eye-catching, as is the sleek metal that forms the sides of the phone, with a robust polycarbonate rear. It looks amazing – and it feels extremely well-made, with gorgeous curves that just run endlessly and smoothly into one another.
But the real design story here is that edge-to-edge display. It’s one of the Experia brand’s most talked about features – and it’s easy to see why. It almost feels like a new way to watch Netflix, view photos or play games, with rich colours and sharp text all displayed beautifully across almost the entire face of the phone. It’s bright, too – and you’d have to look very closely to tell the Xperia XA’s screen apart from that of a higher end phone.
The Xperia XA is fast and powerful, too, with an eight-core processor and 2GB of RAM driving a brilliant user experience. Multi-taking is a breeze, while mid-range games will play out perfectly (although you might get some lag with graphics-heavy titles). Sony have engineered the XA to really maximise the power at its disposal and whether you’re browsing the web, shooting a video or switching between apps, it really does show.
Now that we’ve mentioned video, it’s definitely worth talking about the XA’s camera setup. You’ll find a 13 Megapixel camera on the back, with an 8 Megapixel front-facing camera. The main camera, particularly, shoots clear, crisp photos, which you’d be more than happy to share on Facebook or Instagram. And of course, this being Sony, the built-in camera app offers loads of customisation options, whether you want to shoot in HDR, or do some extra editing. The front-facing camera is superb, too, whether you’re snapping selfies or video calling.
With so many brilliant features, you really have to nitpick to find any flaws here. That said, while the Xperia XA comes with 16GB of built-in storage, you’ll find that only about 8GB of it is actually available. That’s because Sony have added their own, fantastic, multimedia software to the Xperia XA – and it’s certainly worth having said software for your photos, movies and music. The downside is, you’ll need to expand your measly 8GB of remaining storage with a MicroSD Card. Sony have thought ahead though – and it’s easy to slide one into the dedicated slot. They’ve also clearly planned for this software-wise, too, since the XA works absolutely seamlessly with a MicroSD Card.
While Sony promises two days of battery life, there’s a good chance you won’t find that to be the case here. The XA should last a day or more on a full charge, but powering that stunning display does take its toll on the battery. You can choose between two power saving modes, though, both of which should keep you going until you reach a charger.
In case you couldn’t tell, we’re really excited about the Xperia XA. Its build quality, power and camera all exceeded our mid-range expectations. But it’s that edge-to-edge display that really takes the biscuit – you’ve almost got to experience it to see how great it is. Yes, you’ll need a MicroSD card – and the battery life isn’t overly impressive. But they’re two very small issues on an otherwise flawless phone. If you’re in the market for a mid-range handset, the Xperia XA is going to be very, very hard to beat.