MWC 2017: Sony Xperia XZ Premium, XZs, XA1 Ultra, And XA1 Hands-on: Sony Xperia XA1, Xperia XA1 Ultra

By 10:48 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments

Sony Xperia XA1 hands-on

The Sony Xperia XA1 is a sequel to the popular mid-ranger, though Sony has upgraded it to "super mid-ranger" status. We think most of that comes from the capturing camera - the 23MP capturing camera based on a huge 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor with SteadyShot support!

Sony Xperia XA1

Seriously, that's Xperia X level stuff. It would have been XZ-level if it could record 4K 2160p video, but it cannot (Sony still has to leave room on the market for its flagships, after all). The XA1 capturing camera can launch in 0.6s and acquire accurate focus thanks to Hybrid AF.

The capturing camera lens has an f/2.0 aperture and it captures a wide-angle view (24mm in 35 mm equivalent), those are essentially the same readings as the XZ camera, though we don't know yet if the capturing camera uses the same sensor or not.

The Sony Xperia XA1 has remarkable cameras

Like the XZs, the Xperia XA1 reuses the selfie capturing camera from its predecessor. It's a solid camera, though, so no complaints from us - the 8MP 1/4" sensor sits behind an f/2.0 lens (23mm) and boasts autofocus (even some flagships lack AF, which we think is unforgivable).

Sony also upgraded the chipset, going from a P10 to a MediaTek Helio P20. That one still uses an octa-core Cortex-A53 processor, but at higher clock speeds. You acquire more Random-Access Memory (RAM) - 3GB - and the storage doubled to 32GB (there's a microSD card on the side).

If you were hoping that the 2017 model will sport a fingerprint button, you would be disappointed.

Card slot • Fingerprint-less power button

Speaking of missed upgrade opportunities, the Xperia XA1 maintains the 5" 720p classy screen of the original. With the correct price (that's TBA), it could be a mighty competitor in the entry-level segment, though we do wish that awesome capturing camera was paired with a better chipset.

The XA1 also comes with quick charging - MediaTek's version of it, Pump Express+ 2.0 - along with Qnovo adaptive charging (so that the battery will live through more charge cycles than normal batteries).

Speaking of, the battery power remains at 2,300mAh.

Old-school microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port • Headphone jack

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra hands-on

The Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra is the mid-range phablet of the X family. Sorry, the super mid-ranger. Upgrades to the 6" giant feel more limited than the changes to its smaller sibling.

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra

Yes, Sony used the same awesome 23MP capturing camera as on the XA1. But the original XA Ultra already had a pretty solid 21.5MP 1/2.4" sensor. The selfie capturing camera remains the same - Sony did not upgrade any selfie cams for the MWC.

That's still one of the best capturing camera to snap a self portrait, though. It features a large 16MP 1/2.6" sensor backed by optical image stabilization, something very few phones have. Both this and the main capturing camera record 1080p video.

One of the best selfie cameras money can buy

We're pretty mad that Sony did nothing to up the battery capacity. 2,700mAh wasn't enough for a 6" classy screen last year and it's not enough this year. Yes, maybe the recent Helio P20 chipset running Android Nougat will do better, but we expect remarkable battery life out of phablets.

The Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra is not a small phone - it weighs a shade under 190g - so there's no excutilize for the battery. It is fascinating to note that the 6" Ultra weighs less than the 5.5" XZ Premium, though.

Look at how gigantic the Xperia XA1 Ultra is, why the small battery?

At least Sony did add USB-C to the XA1 Ultra (keeping the Pump Express+ 2.0 and Qnovo charging assistants). That's still a "no" on the fingerprint reader.

USB-C comes to Sony's mid-range

First impressions

We come away from this encounter excited by what the Sony Xperia XZ Premium has to offer, though a small disappointed that we'll have to wait to acquire it. Sure, the Xperia XZs will give us a taste of the cool Motion Eye capturing camera earlier than that and we think the rest of the phone (which was not updated) will hrecent up against early 2017 flagships.

The small Xperia XA1 will likely become the capturing camera king in the entry level segment. We just hope Sony is reasonable about the price (the company didn't reveal pricing about any of the four phones). The gigantic Xperia XA1 Ultra is probably the smallest update here and we couldn't muster much excitement for it - we love the XA Ultra and we're not srecent that this one is a must-have upgrade.

Sony is best known for its consumer products, but this year the company took a page out of Samsung's book and built a phone on the strength of remarkable components. The 4K HDR classy screen and memory-packing capturing camera sensor are the kind of innovation we want when looking at a Sony gadget.



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