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Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra Review: The Bigger, The Better

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At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 2018 (CES), in addition to the Sony Xperia XA2, the larger “Ultra” variant was also announced. It is slightly better equipped but is characterized mainly by its huge 6-inch display and a correspondingly large housing. We looked closely at not just the exterior, but above all the performance of this large mid-range model in our full review.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra specs:

  • 6.0-inch FHD IPS LCD display (1080 x 1920) 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor
  • Adreno 508 graphics
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 64GB internal memory
  • 4GB RAM
  • 23MP (f/2.0 aperture) rear camera, PDAF, LED flash
  • 16MP (f/2.0 aperture) + 8 megapixel (f/2.4 aperture) front camera
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 4G/LTE, WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth, Fingerprint Scanner, USB Type C
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 3,580 mAh battery
  • Price: P22,990

HARDWARE AND DESIGN

The Xperia XA2 Ultra is a great smartphone. So big that some would call it the “phablet”. With a weight of 221 grams and a thickness of 10.1 millimeters, this Sony smartphone is not a phone for small handy users. The operation with one hand is sometimes a bit difficult.

The design appears more modern on the series than on its predecessor. Sony brings narrow side edges and a curved housing made of metal and glass on it. Sony has rounded the edges, and so the Xperia XA2 Ultra is now much comfortable in the hand than the previous models of the Ultra series.

The device does not have a unibody design, although suitable materials such as aluminum are used for the workmanship purposes.

DISPLAY

The display has a size of 6 inches and equips with full high definition, with 1920 x 1080 pixels. The content sharpens the display. Brightness and white balance are fine, whereas the color lacks some saturation.

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE

On the Xperia XA2 Ultra, Android runs in the version OS 8.0 “Oreo.” That is quite up to date, even if Google has already reached 8.1. The security patch installed on the phone is from June 01, 2018.

With the Xperia XA2 Ultra, the fingerprint sensor sits on the back instead of sideways, as Sony has previously implemented on its devices. The round surface is positioned underneath the camera and slightly embedded in the housing. Unlocking works most conveniently with the index finger. The fingerprint sensor works fast and accurate at all times. This means that the system responds even when the display is switched off and accepts the authentication of the user quickly.

The Xperia XA2 Ultra features a Snapdragon 630 from Qualcomm. The processor is supported by 4GB of RAM. The eight-core processor clocks at a maximum of 2.2 GHz and provides enough power for everyday use. Games with high demanding graphics can be played on the device satisfactorily. In synthetic benchmarks, the Xperia performs well too, in Antutu it reaches 88,000 points.

It also offers a memory storage of 64GB. The company has installed numerous apps on the phone and therefore leaves users only 52GB of memory. The memory of the smartphone can be expanded with a microSD card up to 400GB.

CAMERA

The main camera of the Xperia XA2 Ultra shoots photos with 23 megapixels. The image sensor and the optics with the aperture of f/2.0 come from the flagship models of the past years. Technically, it is similar to the smaller model Xperia XA2. The camera delivers good results in almost all situations, except in low-light situations. The automatic mode controls the configurations almost always correctly but sharpens too much.

Videos record the Xperia XA2 Ultra in the resolution of 1080p with either 30 or 60 frames per second, which is quite impressive. The camera does not only capture high-contrast photos but also videos in HDR.

Auto (outdoor)

Auto (indoor)

Low-light

The two selfie cameras on the front are much more interesting: with 8 and 16 megapixels as well as 120 and 88-degree viewing angles as they offer two different perspectives for self and group portraits. Sony, however, installed it on the front of the Xperia XA2 Ultra instead of on the back.

The selfie cameras are ideally designed for different lighting situations. They have a low-light and bright aperture. The 16-megapixel camera has even been preceded by an optical image stabilizer (OIS) to avoid blurred images at slow shutter speeds. And for absolute darkness, an LED is ready between the two cameras.

Selfies

Group selfies

AR Stickers

CONNECTIVITY

The Xperia XA2 Ultra goes into the Internet via LTE or WLAN ac with 2.4 and 5 GHz. In addition to GPS and GLONASS, Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC are also available. The smartphone also outputs music via the integrated speaker. Streaming music works wirelessly on free-standing speakers through the lossless transmission protocol Qualcomm AptX, as well as connecting to wireless headphones.

BATTERY

The battery in the Xperia XA2 Ultra is permanently installed and has a 3,580 mAh capacity. For a smartphone of this size that is rather under-proportionate. Devices from other manufacturers almost reach the 5,000 mAh mark, especially on affordable Chinese smartphones. However, the battery time of the Xperia XA2 Ultra is excellent, even beating some of the smartphones in its category with much more battery capacity. Using PC Mark test in 50% brightness and average sound, it ran in the test for 13 hours which is above average. For moderate use, the phone can be used for two full days on a single charge.

VERDICT

The Xperia XA2 Ultra is a great smartphone with good workmanship for a price of P22,990. It is not dust and waterproof but made of high-quality materials.

Technically, the Xperia XA2 Ultra is up to date and offers more than enough power for everyday use. The strength lies in the battery as well as the selfie camera with OIS and a LED flash. If you’re looking for a big smartphone that wants to take quality pictures of yourselves, and you’re not serious about Sony’s cluttered software, you’ll love the Xperia XA2 Ultra.

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