Sony Xperia XA Review – Plenty Of Room For Improvement

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Sony has been struggling to stay relevant in the smartphone industry for quite some time now because they haven’t been able to keep up with the advancements in technology. When I heard about the Sony Xperia XA a few months ago I was hoping that Sony would do a better job with this phone than they had done with their other phones.

 

Sony Xperia XA Review

Sony Xperia XA

3
Battery Life 2.5
Camera 2.5
Software 4.0
Hardware 3.5
Performance 2.5

Pros

  • Nicely designed
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Poor processor
  • Unreliable camera

 

But I was wrong, Sony has continued their trend of poorly made smartphones with the release of the Xperia XA.

 

Sony is a great company that has had a long history of creating great products but for some reason or another, their smartphones have not been up to par with the other smartphones that are currently available.

 

Sony Xperia XA Hardware And Design:

 

The Xperia XA comes equipped with a 5-inch display screen, an Octa-core MediaTek CPU, 13MP camera, 16GB of internal storage and a 2,300 mAh non-removable battery.

 

The Xperia XA looks a bit more attractive than its predecessor the Xperia X. The Xperia XA is a relatively slim phone at 7.9mm, the edge-to-edge display gives the phone a unique look and feel to it, but this phone isn’t waterproof like some of the other phones that are currently on the market.

 

The Xperia XA is made primarily of polycarbonate (plastic) and metal, the chassis of the phone is made of polycarbonate which looks like metal and the back panel is made of metal.

 

The display screen is made of 2.5D glass this means that the glass is curved and the edges are rounded off.

 

The phone fits nicely into the contours of your hand as a result of the curved glass and round edges these attributes makes it easy to handle the phone.

 

The power button is round and it’s located on the side of the phone, it’s almost in the middle, Sony often referred to this as an OmniBalance.

 

The battery and the back panel of the Xperia XA are non-removable this is common among many mid-range-phones that are currently on the market.

 

The phone has a microSD card slot and a nanoSIM slot which are located on the side of the phone and they are covered by a protective flap.

 

Sony Xperia XA Display Screen:

 

The phone has a 5-inch 720p IPS LCD display screen, I’m not sure why Sony opted for a 720p display screen while the OnePlus 3 and some of the other midrange phones have 1080p, I think this was a bad decision on the part of Sony.

 

The picture quality is not bad but it lacks the rich vibrant colors that we’ve seen in some of the other Sony phones.

 

When viewing the screen at different angles there’s a loss of brightness and there’s a blue-leaning white balance issue which has a negative effect on the color tone.

 

However, when viewing the screen outside or in a well-lit setting visibility is good. When the phone is in a well-lit setting the sensors on the display screen will adjust the color to improve the visibility of the screen.

 

The display screen on the Xperia XA isn’t bad, however, it’s not as good as the display screen in some of the other mid-range phones in its price range.

 

Sony Xperia XA Camera:

 

Sony Xperia XA Camera

 

The primary camera on the Xperia XA is a 13MP camera which has phase detection hybrid focusing. The phase detection feature does not work very well, it lags quite a bit when trying to take pictures in a dark setting.

 

The quality of the photos taken in a dark setting is mediocre, to say the least. However, the camera takes good pictures in a well-lit setting.

 

The HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature does not perform well on the Xperia XA and the phone has a hard time capturing details in the foreground of an image that’s well lit. The features of the camera app in the Xperia XA is very similar to that of its predecessors.

 

There is a manual mode which is your typical camera app that gives you access to more scene modes as well as some Manual controls, and there’s the Superior Auto mode that works by pointing and shooting.

 

The Superior Auto mode will work just fine for the typical smartphone user.

 

The Selfie camera on the Xperia XA is an 8MP camera that has autofocus, the quality of pictures taken with this camera are okay but they are not the best. Some of the pictures taken with this camera are not sharp and they do not retain detail.

 

Sony Xperia XA Software:

 

The phone has a custom UI (User Interface), and it runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, at some point, it will probably be upgraded to the Android 7 Nougat. In the Xperia XA Sony has discontinued some of the unnecessary features of its predecessors.

 

The UI is clean, user-friendly, and it has full-width notifications which look great with the edge-to-edge display screen.

 

Sony has a new lock screen feature which can be color customized with different themes. The UI is simple and it bears a slight resemblance to the UI in Nexus phones but the app launcher is slightly different.

 

The phone comes with a set of pre-loaded Sony apps, however, many of these apps can be deleted. I think Sony did a great job with the UI on this phone.

 

Sony Xperia XA Performance:

 

The Xperia XA comes with 2GB of ram and a MediaTek processor Sony hasn’t used this type of processor in years. I’m not sure why they decided to use a MediaTek processor instead of a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which would have been more reliable.

 

When it comes to performance the phone isn’t always responsive and it can be glitchy at times.

 

A few times while using the phone the UI became frozen, whenever it happened I turned the screen off for a split second then I turned it back on and that momentarily solved the problem.

 

If you’re someone who enjoys playing video games on your phone then the Xperia XA may not be the best phone for you.

 

The predecessors to the Xperia XA supported PS4 Remote Play, however, the Xperia XA does not, Sony probably did this because the processor isn’t powerful enough.

 

These issues are due to the MediaTek processor in the phone, Sony needs to stop using these processors because it’s hurting their brand.

 

Sony Xperia XA Battery Life:

 

The Xperia XA comes with a 2300mAh non-removable battery, this battery isn’t powerful enough for a smartphone with a 5-inch display screen.

 

The battery will not last for a full day of moderate use, and if you plan on heavily using the phone make sure you have access to the charger because the battery life isn’t very good.

 

Sony felt as though the phone’s fast charging technology will compensate for the poor battery life that it possesses. However, I think most smartphone users will disagree with this.

 

My Final Thought:

 

The Sony Xperia XA is a slim mid-range phone with round edges that fits nicely in your hand.

 

However, the mediocre battery life doubled with a bad processor is hurting the overall performance of the phone, the Xperia XA does not perform as well as the other mid-range phones that are currently on the market today.

 

Please let me know your thoughts about the Xperia XA in the comment section below.

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Marvin,
    i had the same requirements for Sony´s XA but i´m completely disapointed. It has no chance to compete with the market leaders. The gap is too big although the design is good. You did a great product review. Is there any Sony mobile that can compete with the other brands?

    • Thanks for the feedback Pascal, I don’t think that there is currently any Sony phone that can compete with the other manufacturers at the moment.

  2. Having a unreliable camera really turns me off from the xperia. On my current phone i use my phone like a camera more then a phone .with such poor battery life you can’t do much with the phone unless your constantly connected to a charger i like to travel and when i do i want to be able to use my phone without being connected to a charger. what were they thinking especially with the low battery life ?

    • I think Sony needs to put a bit more effort into the creation of their smartphones. They have created so many great products throughout the years but their smartphones have not been the best, maybe they will get it right next time.

  3. Sony has consistency disappointed me. This phone their last chance at redemption for me. The Xperia XA does not improve on the previous model enough for me to switch from my iPhone.

    The camera issues alone tend to make me a bit nervous and as you mentioned with the terrible processor its going to trail behind the competition.

    Marvin do you think Sony will get their act together soon?

    • I hope that Sony will get their act together and improve the quality of their phones, I would not recommend switching from your iPhone to a Sony phone, that would be a bad move.

  4. Sony’s decisions can be REALLY weird sometimes. Personally, I always thought that Xperia series smartphones were quite good, but I didn’t pay much attention to their specs until now. After reading your review I must say that I’m really disappointed.

    The choice for CPU is really strange – can’t argue with that. Also the battery is really weak, but that’s the problem of the majority of modern smartphones – I never understood why for the life of it they don’t include at least a 4000 mAh battery for them. The fact it’s non-removable makes things even worse, but, again, this also seems like a trend lately, and a greedy one at that (I think I shouldn’t even explain why).

    Anyway, thanks for writing an honest review, man.

  5. I agree that Sony is once has a good reputation in technology.

    With its Its Xperia XA, it is really frustrating that Sony does not evolve its products to compete with its rivals in the market.

    To be fair, but this review is a proof that there is a need for Sony to change their direction if they can’t afford to lose the game.

    SORRY Sony.

  6. Hey Marvin,

    Sonny has indeed been left behind in the smartphone market due to his own faults. I’ve never personally used a Sonny smartphones and, with your review, that time will be indefinite now.
    It does surprise me the lack of visuals in terms of resolution and the mediocre camera as Sonny is no stranger to the importance of these aspects.
    The battery is a bummer too.

    An objective, all around review. Good article!

    Diego S

  7. I love the Sony experia X range. Just because of the fact they look so stylish and are so easy on the eye. Sony has really worked hard on making this phone stand out; it’s just a shame that they didnt to much work on the actual interfae of the phone. As after trying it myself werent too great.

    Have you tried the Sony experia X? Thats a lot better but does cost around the $500 area

    • Thanks for the feedback Joshua, some people like Sony phones and some people don’t. I have tried the Sony Xperia X but unfortunately I didn’t like it.

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