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Highlights

Sony Xperia XA Ultra Quick Review




The Xperia XA Ultra is the biggest one in Sony new line of Xperia X and XA series. It succeeds the popular Ultra line of super-sized Android phones in the mid-range market, more specifically the Xperia C5 Ultra and the T2 Ultra.

Design and Construction

The Xperia XA Ultra can be considered a successor of the highly popular Xperia C5 Ultra from last year. In fact, it took a lot of the main features and improved on them. The design is characteristically very similar to the C5 Ultra and the new Xperia XA (read our review here) but with a more polished finish.

It’s got the same large form factor but still comfortable enough to use with one hand. Texting though will need to be done with both hands, unless you set the one-handed UI.

The front panel is completely covered in glass with a slight beveled edges that’s wrapped with a smooth metallic frame. The edges a bit rounded so it’s easier to hold with one hand. The on screen buttons are present with the typical Home, Back and Recent Apps list.

The power button on the right side used the old design with a circular metal knob. Just below that is the volume rocker and flushed at the bottom end is the dedicated camera shutter button.

On the left side is the SIM card and microSD card slots. Up top is the 3.5mm audio port and noise-canceling mic and at the bottom is the speakers, primary mic and micro USB charging port.

For a 6-inch phone, it does not look like one. Compared to the 5.5-inch Z5 Premium that we’ve been using as one of our primary phone, the XA Ultra is almost the same size with only a slight difference in height.

The back panel comes in a smooth polycarbonate material with a smooth matte finish, a departure from the glossy finish of the old C5 Ultra. The slight improvements, including a more rounded metallic rim, were spot on and we’re really liking the new look of the XA Ultra.

Display

The Xperia Xa Ultra sports a 6-inch IPS LCD display with full HD resolution, giving it a decent 367ppi pixel density. The rather large is great for media consumption like browsing or watching movies yet the body is still compact enough to be comfortably held with one hand, thanks to the 76.6% screen-to-body ratio.

The clear and bright display is crisp and got good viewing angles. Outdoor visibility is good when you crank up the brightness to the maximum level. The edge-to-edge display looks really nice and makes the body look slimmer than it actually is.

Camera and Multimedia

The Xperia XA Ultra takes the cake in terms of mobile photography with a 21.5MP phase detection autofocusrear camera that features hybrid autofocus and a large 16-megapixel selfie camera with optical image stabilization, HDR and LED flash. You can check out sample videos fo the rear camera and the selfie camera in the clip below:

What’s more interesting is the 16-megapixel front-facing camera that has an even wider aperture of f/2.0 compared to the f/2.2 on the rear camera. That means better low-light performance on both stills and video.

It also support optical image stabilization and its own dedicated LED flash. It’s pretty obvious Sony is putting a lot of focus on the front camera, the reason for the selfie-focused agenda.

The dedicated camera shutter on the right side provides easy access when taking photos or videos in landscape. At the bottom end of the device is a mono speaker that produces decent to good sound quality. Nothing really notable here but does the job just fine.

Performance and Benchmarks

Our initial benchmark results showed a score of 44,900 points on Antutu. That’s only a bit better than the 42k score of the C5 Ultra from last year. Nevertheless, the XA Ultra performed really well on all basic tasks and games but still can handle heavier tasks or intensive games on medium to low settings (like NBA2k16).

Antutu: 44,900
PCMark: 4,345
Storage Score: 2,697
3DMark: 421 (Sling Shot ES 3.1)
Quadrant Standard: 23,607
Vellamo: Chrome (3,327), Metal (1,230), Multi-core (2,470)

The XA Ultra uses an octa-core chip which is comprised of a 2.0GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 processor for highly intensive tasks; while the second cluster is a power-efficient 1.0GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 processors. This is paired with a Mali-T860MP2 GPU which should be able to manage most of the games you currently play on your phone.

Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life

It’s interesting to note though that the XA Ultra only comes with 2,700mAh of battery. It’s better than the 2,300mAh of the Xperia XA but a bit lower than the 2,930mAh of the C5 Ultra from last year.

In our standard battery bench using PCMark Battery Test, the Xperia XA Ultra only clocked in 6 hours and 54 minutes which is just average. Using our standard video loop test, the XA Ultra got 7.5 hours at 50% brightness and 0% volume and in Airplane Mode. The Qnovo Adaptive Charging intelligently adapts to the charging performance optimal lifespan of the handset.

Call quality is very good — sound is loud and crisp over the regular line, cellular and WiFI receptions are pretty solid, and we’re glad there’s NFC support as well.

Conclusion

The Xperia XA Ultra sets a good balance of beauty and performance. It’s got its own share of hits and misses, though more of the former than the latter. The improved design, generous display size and intriguing selfie camera will attract a lot of Sony fans.

However, the average battery performance and slightly higher price tag might also turn off others.

The Sony Xperia XA Ultra is now in stores with a suggested retail price of Php21,290 and available in either black, white and gold colors.

Check out our hands-on video below for more details on the Xperia XA Ultra.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra specs:
6-inch Full HD IPS display @ 1920×1080 pixels, 367ppi
MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 2.0GHz CPU
ARM Cortex-A53 octa-core processor
Mali-T860MP2 GPU
3GB RAM
16GB internal storage
microSD up to 200GB
21.5MP Exmor RS Hybrid AF rear camera, f2.4 w/ LED flash
16MP front camera w/ OIS, LED flash
Single/Dual-SIM
4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
GPS, A-GPS
FM Radio
2,700mAh battery
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
164 x 79 x 8.4mm (dimensions)
202 grams (weight)
Black, White, and Gold colors

What we liked about it:
* Good performance
* Beautiful design
* Great display
* Pretty good selfie camera

What we did not like:
* Average battery life
* Low internal storage
* Slightly expensive than its predecessors



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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