Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review
A slight tug-o-war ensues in the CodeBro camp as we debate the Sony Xperia XA Ultra and it’s impressive arsenal of features.
Laying all of our cards on the table, the CodeBros are like two faces of a coin, one of us loves Android-Based Smartphones and Tablets, and the other…not so much. I will give you a hint as to which one of us does not roast “Marshmellows” in the Android Camp (see what I did there?). This mighty Phablet was bold enough to make me re-evaluate my opinion, which was based on my passed experiences, however with the responsiveness and the ease of use that the Sony Xperia XA Ultra oozed, I quickly found myself sitting with a very bitter taste in my mouth. It tasted a lot like the bottom of my own shoe.
Not just a pretty face…
The Sony Xperia XA Ultra flaunts a stunning 6inch Bevelled Screen that is surrounded by a very sturdy and also very Slim-Bevelled Metal Frame. The screen bevel on the sides gives you the impression that the screen folds over the edges, making the device seem like it is entirely made up of a screen alone. The positioning of the front camera and speaker rounds everything off nicely, resulting in a very sleek and premium quality look.
The LCD Screen boasts a very crisp 1080px x 1920px Resolution which really comes in handy when using the cameras. The Front Camera records and shoots at 16 MegaPixels and enjoys the benefits of an Optical Image Stabilizer, making for amazing #Selfies or Vlog Recording. Should your setting be a little too dark for proper detail, you can use the Front Camera Flash to provide standard flash, or fill-in flash as a light source.
The Sony Xperia XA Ultra has the Traditional Dedicated Sony Camera Button to easily and quickly record memories, where the Rear Camera gives you gloriously detailed and rich 21 MegaPixel stills, but does not have the Image Stabilizer that the Front Camera offers. Having briefly touched on the Vlog subject, the microphone impressed us greatly as it did a really great job at minimizing ambient noise while recording voice on video.
Look ma, one hand!
Even though the Sony Xperia XA Ultra us quite large (larger than most “big” Smartphones), I found it quite useful to exploit the nifty One Hand Operation Mode which, with the flick of your thumb, shrunk the displayed content to roughly Three Quarters of it’s original size and anchored it to the bottom right corner of the device.
Easy to hold, the device measures in at 164mm (high) x 79mm (wide) x 8m (thin) and weighs in at 202grams.
We found the device to be exceptionally responsive, even with leaving just about all the applications we could open, active in the background. This is thanks to the Octa-Core MediaTek CPU and 3GB of onboard RAM and 16GB of Onboard Storage Space, with the ability to expand using a MicroSD Card. On the downside though, the premium looks and impressive cameras came at a price… eish, the Battery. For the size of the device, we found that the tiny 2700mAh Battery was a less than ideal sacrifice.
While the Talk Time and Standby longevity were average, the battery lifespan greatly suffered when graphic utilization came into play on the 6inch screen. Too much use of the sexy screen would drain the battery faster, specifically while playing games or watching videos, however, realistically speaking, this is to be expected and did not surprise us, it is also not enough reason to be a deal breaker.
The Sony Xperia XA Ultra runs on Android 6 (Marshmallow) and is up-gradable to Android 7 (Nougat) once it becomes available. Sony have added their own flare into the Operating System, by including their Base Applications like the PlayStation Application as an example. When looking at price, you can expect to pay around R6,200.00 cash for the Sony Xperia XA Ultra in South Africa and it also comes in four sexy colours, Black, Lime, Gold and White.
While the battery was a bit of a hitch, the rest of the features outweighed the need to monitor your usage wisely and you will be hard-pressed finding a better alternative in the 6inch phablet range that performs as well as the Sony Xperia XA Ultra does.