Sony’s new X series hasn’t meant just a change to their flagship products but they’ve also overhauled the mid tier and brought us the Sony Xperia XA Dual. The UK launch price was just under £240, making this far from a budget handset but places it into the ‘premium-mid tier’ space. The first thing you will notice when looking at the Sony Xperia XA Dual is the almost bezel-less screen. In fact at the time of this review it’s the narrowest 5 inch phone in the world.
Many actually prefer the look and feel of the Sony Xperia XA Dual compared to the Sony Xperia X and X performance. Its certainly up there as one of Sony’s best looking phones from the Xperia range . The screen also follows the design of the rest of the X line up with it’s slightly curved edges. With the absence of bezels makes the transition from glass to the metal sides almost seamless. On the side you will notice a familiar small rounded power key like on the Z3 series, a volume rocker and the dedicated camera button. It does not have the same power key as seen on the Z5 lineup which means no fingerprint sensor. This would be nice to see although it isn’t something you can particularly mark a mid tier handset down for. There is a single slot on the opposite edge for a SIM card and SD card.
Sony haven’t continued on from the Xperia M5 and Xperia M4 Aqua in keeping their mid tier devices waterproof as there is no IP rating on the Sony Xperia XA. This is a little disappointing as most of us were expecting at least a water resistant device.
The XA comes with Android 6.0 on board with the addition of Sony’s recognisable software skin. Sony’s changes are subtle and don’t dramatically change from the stock Android OS. The device has an internal capacity of 16 gigabytes but the out the box you’ll see just 7.83GB of that so an SD card would is advisable. The Sony Xperia XA supports up to 200 GB Micro SD card however Sony have removed the ability for you to format this as internal storage. In terms of performance the XA is powered by the MediaTek P10 chip which is fairly good mid tier processor. The user experience is fluid and responsive and even with heavy gaming it performes well. Of course this is helped by the 720p screen rather than a full HD screen but still a very good performance.
This XA comes with a 13MP rear and a 8MP front facing camera. The camera does also come with hybrid autofocus, which helps track objects in the shot. However this isn’t the same tech you’ll find in the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance. The Sony Xperia XA is much better in tracking moving objects than the Xperia X but that is expected. One change in the X Series line up is the camera boot time which was a real downside to the brilliant camera of Xperia Z5. Now the speed has been dramatically improved across the range and that includes the Sony Xperia XA which comes with a fast-launch camera.
The camera will record video in 1080p which is what you would expect from a mid tier device, with 4K recording usually withheld for the flagship phones. Sony cameras do come with SteadyShot Stabilisation which will ensure your videos aren’t shaky. The photos taken with the device are sharp and the focusing of the camera is fairly impressive as well. One slight negative, is that colours can look washed out sometimes especially when capturing lighter shades of colour such as the sky images . But this isn’t a flagship and for a phone that’s half the price as one it does a very good job.
Sony Xperia XA Dual comes with a non-removable 2300 mAh which isn’t very big. This is down to how slim the phone is and that hasn’t left Sony much room for a big battery. Web browsing seems to be a significant power drain. However, video playback is actually surprisingly good and can manage to get just under 7 hours. If you are wanting to achieve Sony’s 2 day promise then you will have to be cautious and pretty much avoid heavy use all together. A normal user will get a full day of the XA which is good enough for most. You will of course get Sony’s Stamina mode and ultra stamina mode which restrict certain features like GPS, vibration and image enhancement to make sure your battery lasts a bit longer. The XA does support quick charge. This is through Sony’s UCH12 charger which they claim gives you 5.5 hours of use with 10 minutes of charge. This doesn’t come as standard in the UK model. The charger you get in box is the UCH20.
These days even a mid-range device means you pretty much get all the connectivity you will need. The Sony Xperia XA comes with NFC in the rear panel and hasn’t moved to front like in the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance. The device has you covered across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE as well as Wi-Fi as well. There is Bluetooth and a 3.5mm headphone jack for your music needs also. In short, you’re pretty much covered when it comes to connectivity for the Xperia XA.
The Sony Xperia XA Dual is a good phone, and for anyone not wanting to pay flagship prices this phone is definitely something to consider. The only thing that lets this phone down is the battery life, and that’s where it may lose out to some of it’s competitors. In terms of display, performance and the camera the XA does a very good. However so do its competitors so it doesn’t particularly stand out. There is however one thing that gives this phone something different from the rest, and that is the design. The bezel-less, extremely narrow phone feels great in the hand and also looks great. This may just be the deal clincher for some people.
Main Features for Xperia XA Dual
5.0 inch display
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Operating System
Hexa-core 4×1.4 GHz Processor
up to 256 GB
32 GB Internal Memory
3 GB RAM
23 MP Rear Camera
13 MP Front Camera
Non-removable Li-Ion 2620 mAh battery