The Sony XA1 Ultra is Sony’s large 6-inch screen mid-tier smartphone, an update of the Xperia XA Ultra announced in May last year.  The design looks similar to the previous model with some differences here and there, the feature list is comparable, the hardware and the cameras got an upgrade. The body is a hair thinner and lighter than the predecessor, at 8.1 mm (vs. 8.4 mm) and 188 g (vs. 201 grams)

Sony’s idea is to provide a great build-quality with a mid-range SoC (processor) and good cameras in a mid-tier product. Sony did not share anything regarding pricing, so at the time of publishing, we cannot provide an opinion on the bang for the buck, however, we can expect a mid-range price knowing that the previous model, the Xperia XA Ultra sells now for about $290, and was sold for about $370 at launch.

I played briefly with the new Sony XA1 Ultra and here are my first impressions:

Pros: elegant design, good built quality, large 6-inch screen, very good high-resolution front camera with flash for selfies addicts.

Cons: mid range processor, could be slower than pricierey devices for the compute intensive tasks, rear camera is good but last-gen high-end camera module (Xperia Z5), no fingerprint sensor – if pricing is done right, at about $350 / $370, this can be a very good smartphone for the price.

Bottom line: a good device with an elegant and thin design in a large form factor with good cameras, for a sweet price. Our guess is about $300, like the predecessor and the category’s competitors, however we still need to get the pricing from Sony. The device will certainly appeal to people who want a well designed  affordable smartphone, who do not need to perform compute intensive tasks, who like to look at pictures, read books and documents on their large smartphone, and take a lot of selfies at night.

What’s New: Xperia XA Ultra vs. the new Xperia XA1 Ultra

The Xperia XA1 Ultra features the same 6-inch 1080p (1920×1080) touch display at 367 ppi as its predecessor, which is the way to go when you need to preserve the performance while using a mid-range processor, since it gets less pixels to move around. In my opinion, 1080p is a sufficient resolution, even for a 6-inch form factor, as long as the image quality and the panel brightness are good, which is the case for the Xperia XA1 Ultra.

Sony upgraded the mid-tier Mediatek SoC, from the Octa-core Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10 (2GHz) to the MediaTek Helio P20 Octa Core 64bit (Quad core 2.3GHz + Quad core 1.6GHz). On the camera side, the XA1 Ultra, like the XA Ultra, features a  high resolution 16 MP with a “Smart Selfie” Flash, however, the rear camera got an upgrade, from a 21.5 MP to 23 MP sensor. According to Sony, the rear shooter is the same as the one in the Xperia Z5, and it is very good, and as a matter of fact, many handset manufacturers, including Huawei, use the Sony mobile camera sensors.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Android, Mediatek, MWC, MWC 2017, Sony, Xperia.

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