Sony’s mobile division has had a rough couple of years. Even with an extremely busy release schedule seeing two high-profile flagships launched in a single year, the Japanese firm still struggled to eke out both mind share and market share with its main rivals. It’s not surprising then that we saw Sony revamp their mobile ambitions this year during MWC, killing the high-end Xperia Z lineup and replacing it with the Xperia X.
With the new lineup comes three new devices, and while the Xperia X and X Performance share a common design language, it’s the XA that really caught our eye. Today we’ll be taking a look at the new phone and see if it has what it takes to entice new customers to the Sony brand.
Initial impressions: a gorgeous body with an almost bezel-less display
We’ve seen the Xperia XA in photos before, but to see it in person is something else. While Sony tweaked their OmniBalance design philosophy, the phone is still an Xperia device through and through. What makes it stand out is how incredibly narrow the body is – at just 66.8mm, it’s one of the narrowest phones around, and if you have gorilla paws like us, the phone feels absolutely tiny when you’re holding it.
The extremely narrow body is achieved via the use of an almost bezel-less, edge-to-edge display. It’s amazing how much real-estate is freed up when phones are able to omit the side bezels in their design. Because of the dimensions of the phone, one-handed use is a breeze, and even people with dainty fingers will easily be able to reach the end of the display without any problems. The 5-inch display may just be HD, but it still looks pretty good, and at that size it’s difficult to discern the difference between HD and full HD anyway.
Unfortunately Sony had to make a few compromises in the materials used in the phone. Despite its looks the frame is made out of plastic, though the back of the phone is metal. Going through the phone’s physical features, you’ll see the power button on the middle of the right side of the device, with the volume rocker right below it. There’s a physical shutter button on the same side as well, near the bottom that can do half presses for focus. Speaking of the camera, the XA uses a 13-megapixel rear camera along with an 8-megapixel front.
Powering the phone is MediaTek’s MT6755 octa-core processor, better known as the Helio P10. There’s 2GB of RAM on board and 16GB of expandable storage. All of that is powered by Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Sony’s gone ahead and canned most of the UI elements that many people derided in their previous phones, and the device sports an almost stock Android experience.
That’s probably why we were a little puzzled when we felt that the phone wasn’t fast enough. Navigating through the phone feels a little iffy, and the device just doesn’t feel smooth as compared to other mid-range devices in its same price range. To be honest the phone feels as if it doesn’t have enough RAM. It’s the same issue we encountered with the similarly specc’d Flash Plus 2, though again this may just be a case of the phone’s software not being final. Hopefully Sony addresses that little hiccup.
As far as pricing goes, the Xperia XA is priced at Php 13,990. We’ll be getting our review unit soon, so stay tuned till then.