Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on

Big-screen lovers rejoice! Meet the 6-inch Sony Xperia XA Ultra, the replacement for the popular Xperia C5 Ultra.
With news coming in of the demise of the C and M series, fans of phablets with top-spec'd selfie cameras may have been worried that they'll be left without options. Well, the Xperia XA Ultra is here to address that as a member of the X-series in a "the king is dead, long live the king" kind of fashion.


The new handset takes the C5 Ultra's concept for borderless display, and mates it with the company's updated design for 2016. It's a close relative to the already announced Xperia XA, but not as much as the name would suggest. Yes, it uses the same chipset, but gets a bump in RAM, a higher-res display and higher-res cameras front and back.

And here's the interesting part - the Xperia XA Ultra has two main cameras. That is, Sony refuses to call either the rear or the front shooter primary, as they each serve different purposes. Yes, the rear cam relies on the proven 21.5MP sensor, but the front-facer is a 16MP unit with OIS (no more exclusivity on that, HTC 10). Who's to say landscapes are of greater importance than selfies?

Sony Xperia XA Ultra at a glance:

  • Edge-to-edge design, 79mm body width
  • 6-inch FullHD display, 367ppi
  • Mediatek Helio P10 chipset, 3GB of RAM
  • 16GB of built-in storage, microSD expansion
  • Front camera: 16MP Type 1/2.6" sensor, optical image stabilization, LED flash
  • Rear camera: 21.5MP Type 1/2.4" sensor, hybrid autofocus with object tracking (not predictive, though), LED flash
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Up to 2-day battery life, quick charge capabilities - 10min charge is enough for 5.5h of use
  • Graphite black, White, and Lime gold color options
Competing in the midrange, the XA Ultra is targeted at the younger crowd that can appreciate the combination of a large screen and a powerful selfie cam. It's the Asian and Latin markets that have a penchant for those, but the smartphone will be available globally, Sony says.


Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on

The Sony Xperia XA Ultra has its roots in the C-series, going back to the C3 from 2014. At the time, the company also had the Xperia T2 Ultra to fly the Ultra banner, the 6-inch phablet itself inspired by the humongous 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra from the year before.
That's mostly ancient history, though, and it's clearly the Xperia C5 Ultra that has given the most of its genes to the new device. Edge-to-edge display, a large lens staring at you from above the display, front-facing flash, the similarity is undeniable.

The borderless 6-inch display is one of the achievements Sony is most proud of. The tag line is "6-inch in 5.5-inch feel" and it's not just marketing talk either. With a width of around 79mm the Xperia XA Ultra is a millimeter-something wider than an iPhone 6s Plus. Admittedly, not a screen-to-body ratio champ that one, but still. On the other hand, the XA Ultra is a tall handset, there's no denying that.
In the hand - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on In the hand - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on In the hand - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on
In the hand
And while the form factor comes from the C5 Ultra, the detailing is present-day X-series, and it's here that the close relation to the smaller 5-inch Xperia XA is most evident.
For one, the contemporary 2.5D front glass gives the XA Ultra a touch of premium feel that the outgoing model didn't have. And while the C5 had two cutouts on both ends of the front glass, the XA Ultra only has the one on top, XA-style.

And while the form factor comes from the C5 Ultra, the detailing is present-day X-series, and it's here that the close relation to the smaller 5-inch Xperia XA is most evident.
For one, the contemporary 2.5D front glass gives the XA Ultra a touch of premium feel that the outgoing model didn't have. And while the C5 had two cutouts on both ends of the front glass, the XA Ultra only has the one on top, XA-style.
Xperia XA Ultra next to the Xperia X - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Xperia XA Ultra next to the Xperia X - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Xperia XA Ultra next to the Xperia X - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Xperia XA Ultra next to the Xperia X - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on
Xperia XA Ultra next to the Xperia X
The new phablet gets a frame much like its bro's, only here it's made of metal, unlike the plastic XA non-Ultra.
The back is nothing like the Xperia C5 Ultra and that's a good thing. Sony used glossy plastic on the previous model, and it was impossible to keep clean. This time, the XA Ultra has adopted the XA's matte back and the result is infinitely better.
Three color schemes, no rose gold though - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Three color schemes, no rose gold though - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on
Three color schemes, no rose gold though
The rear camera has been relocated from the central axis to the upper left corner to be more consistent with the rest of the lineup. It's the setup used on generations of Sony flagships, and even if the midrangers may have strayed from it on occasion, the unification seems logical.
The control layout will be familiar to anyone who has held a recent Sony smartphone. On the right, you have the power button slightly above the midpoint, with a volume rocker under it and a two-stage hardware shutter release button close to the bottom. Both XA models are denied the privilege of a fingerprint sensor in the power button.
Side views - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Side views - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Side views - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Side views - Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on
Side views
On the left there's a flap that covers the card slots, a 3.5mm jack is on top, joined by the secondary mic, while on the bottom you get a microUSB port, the primary mic and the loudspeaker.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Sony Xperia XA Ultra hands-on Reviewed by Dayu Okta on 5/18/2016 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.