Phablets and Sony have a protracted relationship – ‘Xperia’ and ‘Extremely’ are two names which were related to one Some Other for a while, Sony telephones frequently being among the very greatest telephones.

The Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra, released in May 2017, is a first-rate instance. With a 6-inch show it might probably rarely be considered petite, and in contrast to some more recent releases it does nothing to cover this measurement behind a trendy facet ratio or minimal bezels.

This Can Be A handset That’s proud of its heritage, borne of a producer which seeks to use the phrase traditional in its design, that that means a boxy profile and bezels for miles.

Sony’s handset division has Long been struggling, looking for its toes in an particularly competitive field, even with a storied brand identify connected. Irrespective Of whether or not it has connected ‘X’, ‘Z’, or Each to the names of its units, success has eluded it.

With an unapologetic rectangular shape, a huge footprint and a number of expectation hooked up, does the Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra do relatively sufficient to continue the somewhat suspect fortunes of the Xperia identify?

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra worth and availability

For The Reason That its May 2017 arrival the Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra worth has dropped and it will probably now be picked up SIM free for round $320, £240, AU$440.

Within The UK the XA1 Extremely can also be picked up from various outlets including Amazon, AO and Argos, and can also be had free of charge on contracts starting at £24 per 30 days.

Key features

  • Large display
  • Qnovo battery tech
  • 23MP primary Digital Camera

Does it actually need to be mentioned?

What the Sony Xperia XA1 Extremely has over virtually all and sundry, is real property. The screen which takes up nearly the whole lot of the instrument, which justifies its whole existence.

And It’s A very nice 6-inch IPS LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY display. It has a 1080p resolution, just right colours and no drop off in brightness or saturation at unusual angles. It Isn’t AMOLED Although, which is a disgrace for the associated fee level, and pixel junkies will wish to seem in other places for his or her pixels-per-inch binge, as there’s no QHD goodness to be had here.

We Normally found that the reveal proved to be sharp sufficient Although, with the slightly reduced resolution contributing to superior battery existence and Efficiency in gaming.

Every Other fascinating addition is the 23MP rear-snapper. The megapixel wars are Lengthy over, yet Sony continues to be on a quest to cram as many pixels as that you can think of into an ever-shrinking sensor dimension, and the XA1 Ultra is jam-packed.

An Entire host of fancy Digital Camera tech has been inherited from the earlier era of ‘X’ flagships, Though Only time will inform if that starts to translate into an actual Performance difference.

A Less attention-grabbing gimmick, but a very powerful one on the other hand, is the inclusion of Qnovo Good battery know-how.

The Speculation is inconspicuous: batteries age badly over time as a result of charging is not currently Good. Qnovo technology solves this downside With The Aid Of monitoring the quantity of cost going into a cellphone battery, keeping its Lengthy-time period health. This Is A fairly new tech, so Most Effective time will prove its efficacy, however It’s A good value add-on regardless.

Design and show

  • Cumbersome but comfy
  • Large and exquisite display

Because The Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 burst onto the scene in 2017, telephone design has never been the same. Consumers now expect trendy shapes, eschewing sharp corners for rounded edges and in search of the total eradication of the rest comparable to a bezel.

With this in thoughts, the Sony Xperia XA1 Extremely is positively retro. The screen is, After All, massive – a 6-inch panel which dominates the entrance of the device. What makes it stand apart is the usage of bezels. Huge ones too, Each prime and bottom, with the edges blessedly ultimate free.

Regardless Of this, and being 165mm tall and 188g, one-passed usage is exceedingly straightforward, even if it still requires just a few feats of acrobatics once in a while. This Can Be A device where Certain ergonomics have clearly been thought to be at each stage of its design, maintaining an excellent balance In The hand.

The rear of the handset is covered in aluminum, which feels very cool to the contact and suitably premium. Everything has a reassuring heft, and the instrument feels as though it may possibly take a knock or two and maintain on going.

The ‘loop’ design that Sony is taking nice pains to promote can be obvious from The Top and the bottom, lending this cellphone one thing different in a sea of cookie-cutter ‘are attempting arduous’ designs.

With the entrance being dominated Via the display, it also makes room for a name speaker, a front-facing flash, a selfie Digital Camera and extra (the bezels leave an excessive amount of room).

On the best may also be discovered the ability button (which does not double as a fingerprint scanner), the quantity rocker and hallelujah a two-stage shutter button.

The Top houses a Three.5mm headphone jack, the underside a speaker and a USB-C port, and the left is completely flush.

In all, Should this had been launched in 2015, it will have turned heads, however In The era of the Honor 7X the LG Q6 and more, it feels decidedly retro. For a certain kind of buyer, it represents a singular shape that they’ll snap up regardless, as Sony lovers have achieved for a while now.

The display itself is a cracker. For an IPS panel it has excellent distinction and pretty good daylight legibility, aided in no small part Through Sturdy most brightness. Backlighting is even, and there is not any Colour shift, Even Though as is typical for IPS it has a somewhat cool Coloration cast.

As is the case with Sony telephones, this Colour distinction may also be altered with the show calibration tool built into the settings menu. For Just About any individual, this screen is excellent sufficient on the other hand, and is for sure a pleasure to look at films and play games on.

It need to be said that whereas the feel of the software is good, the attention which went into trimming the side bezels could even have been extended into The Top and bottom.

In The Meanwhile, Within The hand This Is A step far from maintaining a cinder block, this is hoping the following generation will lose a few pounds and slightly top In The course of.

Battery existence

  • All-day battery
  • Smart power management tech for Long cell lifestyles

With a huge monitor and a lot bezel on show, one would possibly have anticipated that the Sony Xperia XA1 Extremely would come packing a whopper of a battery % – Of Course this was once Not the case.

As An Alternative, Sony crammed a 2,700mAh energy cell into the frame, a smaller capability than is in most cases outfitted on phones around 20% slimmer, and lighter.

So does the XA1 Ultra have terrible battery lifestyles? Thankfully No Longer. Aided By Using software optimizations and a power-efficient chipset, This Is A phone to be able to get you from the beginning of the day unless the tip with a little bit juice to spare.

Waking up at 6:30am, with a 50-minute shuttle, being attentive to Tune and answering emails all the way through the day, with some video looking at In The night, we typically discovered that we had round 28% left Via 11pm, a superior displaying General. With lighter usage this may increasingly lengthen to two days for many.

Working our battery check (a Ninety-minute video at native decision with the screen at full brightness) we discovered that the Sony Xperia XA1 Extremely misplaced 21% of its battery existence, which is short of, say, the 12% misplaced By the OnePlus 5T, however comparable to the 22% loss of the Honor 7X.

We discovered that net looking particularly was once a robust suit of this tool, In Case You Are any person who uses their smartphone often for reading This May prove to be of some pastime.


  • Robust Colour and specified photography
  • Cluttered primary app

It’s A common chorus: Sony manufactures cameras, however yet its smartphone snappers are sub-par. Does this apply to the Xperia XA1 Extremely? Only to a level, and It Is mostly subjective.

The Digicam app itself is reasonably easy. By Way Of default, users are placed in ‘Sophisticated Auto’ mode, which judges issues like ISO, shutter velocity and prompts HDR mode as and when required. Via default, the Digicam makes use of the 23MP on hand, producing very Huge information.

Swiping up activates movie capture, swiping down activates the slightly restricted manual mode. Both are a bit straightforward to prompt unintentionally, but This Is offset By the presence of an actual Camera button.

A button which opens the Digital Camera from sleep and may capture pictures – a feat of design straight from 2013, however one which is completely preferred.

The app is surely fast to launch, and Photographs are captured quickly, crucial sides of the smartphone image taking experience.

Sure options of the app are a bit of questionable. The panorama mode is a separate app in and of itself, while the inclusion of an AR mode is a little gimmicky. Sure things like HDR mode are hidden in settings menus, something Now Not precisely best for those who prefer to tinker.

That mentioned, the pictures taken are, on the whole, lovely just right. Colour is smartly represented, with veggies particularly showing well saturated with out Taking A Look ‘nuclear’.

Element too is very obvious, as you might expect with such a excessive-resolution sensor. It’s when viewing pictures at A Hundred% magnification that the location changes moderately.

How completely different manufacturers Deal With noise discount is largely a matter of style, and Sony has certainly chosen to maintain the digital noise In The hope of also retaining Element, especially at decrease shutter speeds.

This Can now and again make for muddy photography which might Now Not attraction to all, especially in low gentle. One think about its choose as opposed to Detail (and very good distinction) is the devoted viewing modes.

When viewing pictures, the monitor is aware of to change colors consequently (to go well with preferences, and this will also be toggled on and off) to make viewing images a more enjoyable expertise.

The 16MP selfie Digicam captures targeted photography with good sufficient dynamic vary, whereas video capture is unquestionably nothing to write residence about.

In all, Those on the lookout for high category stills is not going to to find them right here, then again It Is A photographic device good sufficient for the majority of people that depend on their smartphone for Photographs.

Camera samples

Interface and reliability

  • Frivolously skinned Android
  • Stutter-free Performance

Because It has accomplished for some years now, Sony has mostly given up the pretense of Running a full Android ‘pores and skin’, Instead choosing enhancements to the core experience of using Android – specifically Android Nougat.

That Is to claim that the interface is generally the same as that of any other instrument the usage of Google’s chief running gadget, with a couple of tweaks here and there.

There May Be a formidable theming engine Integrated, which offers an easy way wherein to vary the looks of the phone, proper down to the navigation keys, all totally free (or a small value). Integrated too on the beginning screen is a helpful guide to putting in the telephone, a gallery app and a Track app.

The latter two are particularly welcome as function-stuffed alternatives to Google Photographs and Google Play Tune.

Albums presentations current Photos taken on the phone, but additionally pulls in pictures from other products and services together with Flickr and Google Force, imparting a complete view of images taken.

Music bargains a view of in the community stored Music, but additionally allows get right of entry to to a few proprietary Sony audio algorithms, making improvements to the fidelity of wired headphone audio significantly, a pleasant boost for many who can take advantage.

Less welcome are additions corresponding to Xperia Longue, which is basically a Sony store filled with ‘deals’. The psapp can also be just a little redundant for those who do not own one – Of Course Though your mileage will range.

Normally, we discovered that the MediaTek chipset and beneficiant 4GB of RAM saved The Whole Thing powering along at an inexpensive click on.

Navigating through the interface never proved a subject, Even Supposing the chipset did current a number of compatibility considerations with a few apps, refusing to play effectively with the likes of Microsoft Launcher. This May Increasingly trade with time however In The Intervening Time proves to be one thing of a bugbear.

On extra intensive apps, dropped frames may be seen right here and there, however This Can Be A cellphone that almost all will have zero issue with on an on a regular basis foundation.

Movies, Track and gaming

  • Solo speaker lacks bass
  • An immersive display and decent gaming Performance

With a huge screen, the Xperia XA1 Ultra used to be made with movie looking at in thoughts, and fortunately it largely does Now Not disappoint. With such an immersive show, It’s straightforward to lose oneself in a good Netflix binge, and yet there’s a caveat: the speaker.

With such Massive bezels, and given the cost level, it could Now Not have been an excessive amount of to predict a pair of dual entrance-firing audio system on the Xperia XA1 Extremely, and but all we receive is one solo downward-facing effort.

That Is Not to assert that It’s objectively dangerous, That Is far from the case, Even Supposing it does damage the experience slightly. Overall, we discovered that the speaker had adequate volume, with Most Effective a bit distortion at larger levels. Of Course, there is no bass, Though That Is to be expected from a smartphone speaker Now Not made By HTC.

Headphone Performance on the other hand is really reasonably just right. Sony’s expertise on this house shines thru, with the Ultra handing over crisp highs and neatly-defined bass, powering a pair of decent headphones without a real problem.

That Is audio aimed at eye-catching Customers – and for this reason is great news for the consumer.

Gaming Efficiency too is pretty just right. Though the likes of Asphalt Eight will drop frames if you happen to push the settings to max, for Ninety% of the titles that individuals play from the app store That Is in point of fact rather enough.

Performance and benchmarks

  • Doesn’t run sizzling
  • Handles most duties smartly

MediaTek, Though it has been kicking around for quite a couple of years at this point, has never slightly shaken its recognition as being the sickly lesser cousin of the glorious Qualcomm. This hasn’t stopped it producing the extraordinary gem of a chipset here and there Of Course.

The Helio P20 powering the XA1 Extremely is roughly similar to the Snapdragon 625 in Each energy and energy effectivity, which is not any dangerous factor given the popularity of the latter for Both.

In on a regular basis use we found that the chipset handled itself with aplomb, this Efficiency extending to harder tasks too, with virtually no warmth production in addition.

Having A Look at benchmarks, we are able to see that with a single core ranking of 832 and a multi core ranking of 3,724 in Geekbench, the XA1 Extremely without a doubt isn’t set to win any competitions. It must always be mentioned Although, benchmarks are for comparisons, Now Not each day use.

In Case You Are among the many most irritating of power users and understand it, the Oneplus 5T will be a better fit, For Nearly any person else alternatively This Is absolutely sufficient for their desires.


The Sony Xperia XA1 Extremely has lots going for it. The reveal is daring, brilliant and energy-environment friendly and the chipset retains The Whole Lot chugging alongside nicely, with nary a Performance glitch in sight.

And Though it Does Not push the boat out in the case of design, It Is no doubt smartly put collectively, feeling worth every penny after which some.

The battery life too is a deal with, Despite the size of the ability percent Integrated. The Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra is good for a day to a day and a half of average use, and the standby time is excellent, losing Most Effective a few share factors when unplugged during the night.

Not The Whole Thing is excellent alternatively. Though the Digicam is stable, in Certain situations, like in poorly-lit areas, it tends to turn photography into a soupy mess. The speaker too is slightly missing in Each volume and bass, which hurts media credentials somewhat.

There are additionally the bezels, which will be majorly off-placing to a few, for they lend a hand this reach the echelons of the largest of massive phones.

Who’s this for?

The Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra is a device That Is easy in design, concept and execution – It Is A Big smartphone for people who want a tremendous smartphone. This an unapologetic, Massive software and won’t fit In The lives of Those with smaller arms.

Should you purchase it?

If You Are after an immense cellphone, there are few higher choices on the price level now that it has taken a tumble, with the Xperia XA1 Extremely presently retailing for around $320/£250/AU$440. The display is beautiful, the battery life is reliable and the Digital Camera is in a position to capturing stable photography.

It Can Be Now Not good, However The phone is Large, boxy, daring and – for a undeniable buyer – all of the higher for it.

Considering The Fact That its liberate the Xperia XA1 Extremely has picked up some Robust competitors, similar to the next handsets.

OnePlus 5T

Even Though a chunk more than the Xperia XA1 Extremely, the OnePlus 5T continues to be first rate worth and offers a in a similar fashion sized reveal, with a trendier side ratio and a truckload of additional power.

OnePlus has a dependancy of releasing a new telephone every six months, and so It Is yet to be viewed what Lengthy-time period tool improve shall be like – but for individuals who are keen to spend a bit of more, This Can Be A lot more telephone on supply than the Sony.

Xiaomi Mi A1

Xiaomi is a name unfamiliar to many Within The west, but its first Android One device, the Mi A1, May well put it on the map. Retailing for around £200/$250/AU$300, it bargains a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 625 chipset and a nifty twin Digital Camera association on its rear.

As is at all times the case when shopping for what’s technically a gray-import, don’t are expecting any Long-time period technical improve if concerns arise. Those looking for a little bit extra security can be easiest with the Xperia XA1 Ultra.

Honor 7X

This new addition to Honor’s spectacular roster includes a in a similar fashion sized display to the Sony, an 18:9 side ratio, a large battery and a very equivalent value point. It also bargains a posh dual-Digital Camera association and a snazzy metallic coat.

But The Honor 7X runs the divisive EMUI skin over inventory Android, which may dissuade some. It Is A very Sturdy competitor which outdoes the Sony in Both appears to be like and ‘newness’, Despite The Fact That it does lack NFC.

First reviewed: January 2018