The  Sony XPERIA XA2 Ultra was announced on January 8 2018 and was initially targeted at the mid-range market. At publishing time, the XPERIA XA2 Ultra price was not officially announced, but this product line has historically been sold between $350 and $450. This model model greatly improves the battery life, the LTE connectivity and the selfie camera technology.

With cost as main criteria (and display size as the secondary one), we chose a group of suitable competitors which will be used to assess how the Sony XPERIA XA2 Ultra fits in its immediate smartphone landscape. Sony XA1 Ultra (~350 USD), Xiaomi Mi Max 2Huawei Mate 9 (~595 USD), Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (~370 USD).

Key Specs

  • 6” IPS LCD Display (1920×1080)
  • 23 Megapixel Camera, ( f2.2 aperture?), no Optical stabilization
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 platform 4 RAM, 32,64 GB of Storage + MicroSD (256 GB max)
  • 3580 mAh battery capacity
  • Android 8.0

Note that the Huawei Mate 9 is here because of its display size, but it is priced in a different category. The same would be true for other large-display phones such as the S8+ or the LG V30, which can sell for well above $600.

We put the link to the XA1 in case you are curious about what changed since last year. A quick glance at the specs reveals that the main processors represent the major change, going from a Mediatek chip to a Qualcomm chip.

Industrial Design

With a width of 80mm (3.15 inches) and a thickness of 9.5mm (0.37 inches), the smartphone feels slightly large in hand. We use U.S M-size gloves for male hand-size reference, so this will vary from person to person. The device weighs 210 grams which we would consider to be slightly above average for its size, but all the others are within 10% of this weight, with the XA1 Ultra being the smallest of this list at 188g.

Build Quality

The build quality and the general industrial design of this handset seems nice. We will come back to this section with  more photo examples, but the construction is very decent, although not as fancy as Sony’s high-end models, which is completely normal given the price range of this product.

The frame all around the phone is made of Aluminum and the corners are made of non-brittle materials, which is good in case of a drop. Granted, there are more seems and this makes it easier to hide where the antennas are. Metal normally blocks the radio signal, that is why many phones have obvious antenna slits.

There is always a risk if glass shattering, but because there isn’t glass in the back and on the edges, the odds are relatively low with this model. Corners and edges represent 50% of the impacts.

Durability

Surprisingly, these models don’t have an IP-rating, which is a bit weird since Japanese customers usually demand some water protection. Also, Sony was among the first OEM to include it back in the days.

Without an IP rating or a Mil-Spec certification, it is very hard to tell how much this smartphone design can endure. Out of caution, you should assume that the XPERIA XA2 Ultra will not sustain the same level of water/dust exposure and shocks/vibrations than those that have received the certifications. Without an official rating, some device may resist more or less, but you should consider that to be luck. Do not count on it.

The XPERIA XA2 Ultra has not passed the MIL-STD 810G certification. You can check the link we added to see all the details, but this standard is a series of test by the U.S military to ensure that devices can survive a certain level of shocks and vibrations.

Design Ingenuity

This handset design has decent performance in relation to its size. From another angle, the amount of battery capacity the customer gets is quite good for a phone of this size. However, there are phones with bigger batteries. The Mi Max 2 has 5300 mAh of capacity, which is 48% more than the XA2 Ultra, but that Xiaomi model is not easy to find in all markets. The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro has 4000 mAh, or 12% more.

The screen display-to-body ratio isn’t particularly impressive because the phone has big bezels at the top and bottom – but the bezels on the left/right are quite thin. In the mid-range category, it us not completely surprising, but you can bet that competing models will come out with that “all screen” feel later this year.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about CES, CES 2018, Sony, Sony Reviews, Sony Xperia.

ProductXPERIA XA2XPERIA XA2 Ultra
Display Diagonal (inches)5.2" (13.2cm)6" (15.2cm)
Megapixel Count23 Megapixel23 Megapixel
Battery Capacity (mAh)3300 mAh3580 mAh
Processor/Soc NameSnapdragon 630Snapdragon 630
RAM Options3 GB,4 GB,
Street Price$315 XPERIA XA2 on Amazon$395 XPERIA XA2 Ultra on Amazon
Link to full specsXPERIA XA2 Full specs and detailsXPERIA XA2 Ultra Full specs and details
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