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Tested: Sony Xperia XA

Bits & Bytesby Michel09/11/2016

Is it really as good as it looks?

We all know that Sony produces good smartphones: the Xperia series has slowly become a global classic. Recently, the Japanese manufacturer released a new line of Xperia X phones. Its key attributes, according to Sony? A brilliant camera and a premium look.

The latest addition, the Xperia XA, is the cheapest model in the X series. It looks just as good as its bigger, more expensive brothers, but is it also good on the inside? I found out for you.

The verdict: a robust phone with a good camera
Design

On the outside, the Xperia XA looks awesome. The curved display and rounded frame immediately catch your eye. It results in a nice big display for a normal-sized phone. The color runs on from the back to the front panel, with the home screen in the same color – nice little touch, that. You can choose between graphite black, white, rose gold or lime gold.

The left and right edges of the phone are made of aluminium, and the back is made of a kind of plastic that looks a lot like aluminium. Yet the phone feels very solid and robust. I suggest you get a protection cover though because after just a week of testing I noticed a few scratches on the back.

Display

The 5-inch display is OK for the price, but that's about it. It has HD resolution, yet many competitors offer Full HD for the same price. Of course, only a trained eye can tell the difference – we’re talking about individual pixels.

In terms of color and brightness, the Xperia XA seems to underperform with unnatural colors. But if you make the necessary adjustments to the settings, you can fix this quite easily and get a good image on your screen. The colors are quite true to life, and when it comes to brightness, you can use the device any time, even in direct sunlight.

Camera

For me, the best thing about the Xperia XA is the camera. Especially the front camera, which is very good in this price category. With 8 megapixels and bright, clear colors, you can take awesome selfies.

The rear camera is also good, especially outdoors in daylight. I was pleasantly surprised with the "Hybrid Autofocus" feature: the camera seems to follow the object you focus on, even if you move with it, so your photo never comes out blurred.

A weak point of the camera is quality in low light. Photos are often grainy, although this applies to most cameras in this price range.

Battery

No surprises as far as battery life goes. There's enough juice to get you through the day if you're a heavy user, but Sony's claim that you can easily go two days without charging only applies to very frugal use, combined with the built-in, energy-saving Stamina feature.

The Xperia XA has fast charging to rescue you when the batter goes dead, but you need a special adapter for this, which doesn't come with the phone.

Multimedia and games

On the surface, the Xperia XA appears to be a very reliable smartphone with a robust octa-core processor. Indeed, I had no problems with the normal, everyday stuff. I could use several apps at the same time or watch a HD video or snap chat without any problems. I was impressed with the rather understated Android 6.0.

However, if you use heavier apps for too long, the Xperia XA starts to buckle under pressure. I noticed that especially with larger games. So, if you're a die-hard heavy user, you're better off spending a bit more on a more powerful model. However, the Xperia XA should be adequate for a whole lot of people.

In short...

The Xperia XA is no doubt the prettiest in the class. It will make many a heart beat faster. And if you're also looking for an affordable phone that takes good pictures, then this Sony is definitely worth considering.

Sony Xperia XA

Attractive and robust, like we're used to from Sony

8/10

Pros:
  • Robust, premium look
  • Good camera, especially the front one
  • Strong software
Cons:
  • Screen resolution
  • Less suitable for heavy apps
Michel

Michel

Hi, I’m Michel. Motivated by novelties, I sure work in the right team at Proximus: the Devices team. I’m glad to share the innovations we encounter, from a user’s perspective as I find the pure technical specs less fascinating. My passions are photography, modern and contemporary arts and being out and about, getting fresh air.

Hi, I’m Michel. Motivated by novelties, I sure work in the right team at Proximus: the Devices team. I’m glad to share the innovations we encounter, from a user’s perspective as I find the pure technical specs less fascinating. My passions are photography, modern and contemporary arts and being out and about, getting fresh air.


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