REVIEW | Sony XA2 Ultra, Big and Bold

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Sony has gone big, and on a budget, with the new Xperia XA2 Ultra.

It is big, and I mean a big device. Sony has crafted a very high end looking and feeling smartphone with a massive six-inch screen and extended battery. The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra may not fit in your pocket, but its price will not leave your pocket empty. Steven Ambrose plays on with the Xperia XA2 Ultra.

Sony has a long history of top quality gadgets, and although they have not set the shops alight with their success in the mobile market, Sony consistently turns out interesting and high-quality devices.

The new Xperia XA2 Ultra builds on the previous generation and offers a massive 6” screen in a big and bold body with an excellent array of cameras both front and back.

Hardware

The Xperia XA2 Ultra is one of the largest devices I have used in a while. As more and more manufacturers make mobile phones with all screen fronts and larger screens in smaller bodies, Sony has put a large screen in a large body.

The trade-offs are small; the Xperia XA2 Ultra is not particularly pocket-friendly. However, the XA2 Ultra is comfortable to hold and great for games movies and YouTube watching.

The XA2 Ultra offers a large, well-made body with minimal side bezels but bucking the current trend large upper and lower bezels which make the device feel a little boxy.

The Upper bezel has two front-facing cameras and a flash for the ultimate selfie photography. The one camera has a 16 MP sensor with optical image stabilisation, as good as many high-end rear cameras, and an 8 MP sensor. Together they are the best front camera setups.

The rear camera has not been neglected and is a 23MP beast with phase detect autofocus and a single tone flash. The rear camera is capable of seriously good photography. 4K capture video is also available as well as HDR at full HD with excellent image stabilisation

The midrange price of the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra shows up in the choice of the processor. A midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 is used with 4GB of ram. Overall the performance is snappy, and the 1080 resolution screen does not tax the video subsystem to heavily. Playing heavy graphics intensive games and then switching apps can cause some lag and delay but in overall use, the XA2 Ultra is fluid and relatively fast.

The 6” screen is also excellent for the price and although it only offers full HD or 1080 resolution never looks blurry or pixelated. The size of the screen and its colour accuracy make the XA2 Ultra a pleasure to watch Netflix and YouTube videos. Games also look great, and photos show up extremely well

There is a Micro SD slot for cards up to 256GB and charging is via a USB C port. A 3.5mm headphone jack is thankfully standard, and a dedicated two-stage button for the camera is located on the right side of the phone, a feature that makes for fast, easy photography.

The Xperia XA2 Ultra features a battery capable of a day and a half of normal, and by normal, I mean relatively heavy use. Watching a movie on full brightness will give you just over 6 hours of use, which is good for a screen this size. The inclusion of Qualcomm quick charge 3.0 means you can get to around 80% charge in 30 minutes. The one catch is that Quick charge 3 chargers are not included in the box.

The Xperia XA2 Ultra has Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, proximity and compass sensor.

Software

The Sony Xperia experience skin is standard, and with Android 8 Oreo is fast clean and very user-friendly. The Sony camera app is straightforward to use and makes excellent use of the unique camera setup on the Xperia XA2 Ultra.

There is minimal additional software, often referred to as bloatware. An antivirus programme from AVG is included as well as a PlayStation app and few others. This leaves just over half the 32 GB available built-in memory available for other apps games and pictures.

Conclusion

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is seriously good bang for your buck. If you do not want a big phone and are not interested in the best selfie setup available, then this phone may not be for you.

The camera cluster is excellent both front and back. The rear camera is not outstanding at low light and does not compete with some of the top end setups in detail and flexibility. The dual front camera and rear camera are good enough to make the XA2 Ultra, an easy device to recommend.

The screen is also excellent and build quality and look and feel belies the cost of the XA2 Ultra which is firmly in the middle of the pack. The price alone gets the Xperia XA2 Ultra a recommendation. Competition at the R6,000.00 range is fierce, and there are smaller sleeker devices, but none feel this good and make such a bold statement.

My only observation is that this is a big device which is also relatively substantial. Apart from that, the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is available now from most networks at around R5,500.00.


For more information | www.sonymobile.com/za/ |


 

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