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Sony Xperia XA first impressions: the mid-range Xperia gets a refresh

|February 22, 2016 |Android Phones, Mobiles, Sony, First impressions, MWC 2016

"The Sony Xperia XA offers an edge-to-edge curved display and hybrid autofocus"

Sony Xperia XA_4

There were multiple rumours surrounding Sony's MWC 2016 launch event, with speculations pointing towards the a new device codenamed the Xperia PP10, and even the Xperia Z6. However, Sony surprised us by launching an entirely different range of products. The company showcased its next-gen connected accessories, which include the Xperia Ear, Xperia Eye, Xperia Projector and Xperia Agent, as well as the RM-X7BT in-car Bluetooth commander. In addition, the brand unveiled the new lineup of Xperia X smartphones, which include the the Xperia X, Xperia X Performance and Xperia XA. While the first two are more high-end devices, the Xperia XA is a mid-ranger. We spent some quality time with the handset, and here's what we thought.

Sony's OmniBalance design language has received several modifications over the years, but was starting to look stale. So we were pleasantly surprised that the Xperia XA brought in some refreshing changes. While the basic design ethos still remains, Sony has added an end-to-end display that curves at the edges, making for a stunning facade. Rounded metal rims and a matte-finish back panel with a pearlescent sheen add a touch of class to the device. Our demo unit was white, but you can also get it in Graphite Black, Lime Gold and Rose Gold colour options. Sony will also be offering matching Style Covers for the Xperia XA.

Sony Xperia XA_7

The display on offer is a 5-incher with HD resolution, but it gets Sony's Bravia Engine 2 display and a super-vivid mode, which make colours look vibrant and text appear sharp. Above the display you'll find the earpiece, Sony branding, front camera, notification LED and sensors. The bezel below the screen is bare, with the Android navigation keys moving up to the display as onscreen controls. Considering the compact size of the display, and the ample bezel below it, we'd have preferred dedicated navigation keys on the smartphone.

Sony Xperia XA_5 Sony Xperia XA_6 Sony Xperia XA_11 Sony Xperia XA_12 Sony Xperia XA_13 Sony Xperia XA_14

Moving over to the right spine, you'll find Sony's trademark crown power button, followed by a volume rocker and a dedicated camera shutter key. The left spine holds an ejectable flap which conceals a micro-SIM card slot and microSD card slot. The Xperia XA will also come in a dual-SIM configuration, which we expect will be available in India. The bottom of the smartphone features the micro-USB port, loudspeaker and primary microphone, while the top edge is home to the 3.5mm audio jack and secondary microphone. The back panel features only Xperia branding, an NFC logo, the primary 13MP camera and the LED flash. 

Sony Xperia XA_9 Sony Xperia XA_10

Since we're on the subject of the camera, we should mention that the Xperia XA's primary shooter features Sony's new Hybrid Autofocus technology with object tracking and super fast autofocus speeds of 0.03 seconds. The front camera on the other hand is an 8MP unit with an 88-degree wide-angle lens, and as a pleasant surprise, features autofocus as well.

Moving over to what you get inside, the Xperia XA is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755) processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. You get 16GB of internal storage that's expandable via microSD up to 200GB, and on our demo unit we spotted a generous 11.26GB of free space. Fuelling the Xperia XA is a 2,300mAh battery, which the company claims can offer up to two days of battery life thanks to its battery STAMINA mode. Sony has also equipped the XA with Qnovo's adaptive charging tech, which effectively doubles the battery's life span. Apart from this, the battery also supports quick charging, but unfortunately you'll need to purchase the quick charger as an optional accessory. In terms of software, the Xperia XA runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, layered with Sony's custom UI. The connectivity options on board include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, NFC and A-GPS.

Sony Xperia XA_2

The Sony Xperia XA will roll out internationally starting summer 2016, but we don't have any details on price as yet. We expect the smartphone to be launched in India later this year, and we'll keep you posted on the price and availability details when we have them.



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