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Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review

Sony Xperia XA Ultra

Posted: , posted by Chris P.


Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review


Beginning in early 2016, Sony transitioned away from the exclusively high-end, flagship Z line, to the more inclusive X series, with products spanning the echelons beyond mid-range. For months to come, we won't know if this re-branding exercise will positively affect the company's bottom line. But we're now in a pretty good position to guess.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review
Say hello to the Sony Xperia XA Ultra - the last of the X line to stumble upon our doorstep. It's a gigantic 6-incher, encased within a metal frame, with a pronounced, high-resolution selfie camera with flash, and featuring some pretty decent hardware underneath.

With a $369.99 sticker price, however, our prodding and nudging best reveal some unexpected strengths, lest it follows its brethren into the strictly average category.


Signature Sony, larger canvass

So the XA Ultra is huge. Like, really, really big. And heavy, too, tipping the scales at 6.7 oz (190 g). Combined, these factors equal a monstrous device that isn't for the faint-hearted and is firmly entrenched in phablet land.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review
Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review
Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review
Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review
Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review

Beyond its dimensions, the XA Ultra is yet another familiar Sony face, built on the principles of its rectangular design philosophy. The phone is protected by a solid, metal frame, with the display up front almost floating out of it thanks to those extra slim side bezels. The rest of the phone is made out of polycarbonate.

On the right, Sony has cleverly positioned the volume rocker and power key, both of which are easily accessible even when you're holding this monster phone with just one paw. Better yet, tactile feedback and travel times are excellent, and we're including the physical shutter key here, as well.

Overall? Absolutely no surprises here except, perhaps, the Cyclops eye up front that is the selfie camera, along with the Lime Gold coloring of our review unit. This is strictly personal opinion, but it comes across as tacky, so make sure to check out the white and black options as well.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra
6.46 x 3.11 x 0.33 inches
164 x 79 x 8.4 mm
7.13 oz (202 g)

Sony Xperia XA Ultra

Google Nexus 6P
6.27 x 3.06 x 0.29 inches
159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm
6.28 oz (178 g)

Google Nexus 6P

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
6.37 x 3.19 x 0.29 inches
161.7 x 80.9 x 7.4 mm
7.05 oz (200 g)

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)

Xiaomi Mi Max
6.81 x 3.48 x 0.3 inches
173.1 x 88.3 x 7.5 mm
7.16 oz (203 g)

Xiaomi Mi Max

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


An extremely bright display with disappointing color accuracy

Sony Xperia XA Ultra Review

This being a massive phone, the 6-inch, 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution LCD display is obviously the highlight of the show. But right off the bat, we were disappointed with its quality.

And our scientific measurements prove it.

Not only is the Ultra's display not good, it's actually downright disappointing. We start off our unpleasant journey through its properties with an extremely cold color temperature of 9400K, significantly twisting color reproduction towards blue—and most visibly, whites and grays. That's not a surprise, given how much blue dominates between the primary red, green, and blue, with the former two being seriously underrepresented—and red ridiculously so.

Average gamma, at 2.61, is also consistently off target across the brightness spectrum, and so is overall color accuracy, which is simply average. Speaking of brightness, at least that the XA Ultra's display has going for it: over 600 nits at the top end, which is just excellent, and 5 nits at its lowest, which is also great.

In the end, what should be the XA Ultra's defining feature ends up disappointing. Sure, it's very much usable outdoors, but color calibration is seriously problematic.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia XA Ultra 605
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) 560
Google Nexus 6P 356
Xiaomi Mi Max 532
View all

  • Options

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 09:46 6

1. libra89 (Posts: 1010; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)

I just wish that Sony would do better. Kind of disappointed in their final productions. This phone seems to be less of a joke though, when comparing it to the other X series phones.

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 09:49 7

2. Barney_stinson (banned) (Posts: 672; Member since: 30 May 2016)

MI MAX can eat this in breakfast!!

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 20:04 1

11. ibend (banned) (Posts: 6747; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

MiMax get 2x performance score, and 2x battery life compared to this phone, at the same pricetag...
and yet, they recommend A9 and OP3, lol..

posted on 16 Jul 2016, 06:29

15. Chris.P (Posts: 567; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)

Compare with, not recommend. I've been a fan of Xiaomi's for a long time, but until they start selling in the West legit, they have little relevance for buyers in the States.

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 10:06 3

3. pyradark (Posts: 887; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

If there will be no premium 2.0, i have to go with this one. I miss having z ultra, if only tge battery and camera is great plus as loud as this thing

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 10:17

4. drahcir02 (Posts: 102; Member since: 03 Mar 2016)

not bad

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 10:51 5

5. zeeBomb (Posts: 2304; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)

Good job Sony, the only DECENT phone you managed to dish out this year.

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 12:24 1

8. Djz89 (Posts: 370; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)

E5 also is pretty good

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 11:06 1

6. isprobi (Posts: 707; Member since: 30 May 2011)

I have been waiting for a Z Ultra replacement but bought a Z5 Premium in the mean time. Other than the inaccurate colors of the screen this looks like an OK phone. But is this really worth it just for a .5 inch bigger screen?

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 11:08 6

7. Settings (Posts: 2411; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)

That side bezels tho, very sleek.

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 14:24 1

9. Osinaga (Posts: 1; Member since: 15 Jul 2016)

Looks great
I love that design and cameras

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 15:07 1

10. enzotarece (Posts: 83; Member since: 14 Aug 2013)

Still gonna get this phone oh yeaaah

posted on 15 Jul 2016, 22:49

12. Avenger337 (Posts: 81; Member since: 14 Apr 2013)

I hope that in the future Sony stop using MediaTek processors. They are rubbish compared to Qualcomm and hopefully in the future the Japanese company knows how to make a mobile midrange much value.

posted on 16 Jul 2016, 00:20

13. maple_mak (banned) (Posts: 953; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)

They want saving cost.

posted on 16 Jul 2016, 02:05

14. ibend (banned) (Posts: 6747; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

true, P10 in this phone is just rubbish..
just look at meizu m3 note comparison in anandtech, it have same processor, and get terrible score on 3d benchmark, it cant even run some game properly..

posted on 16 Jul 2016, 06:30 1

16. Chris.P (Posts: 567; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)

The P10 is not rubbish. Games, even hard-hitters, ran just fine. Sure, not flagship-level frame rate, but fine.

posted on 20 Oct 2016, 08:57

17. ahmad87 (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Oct 2016)

the worst phone you may have.

if you are looking for a camera go and buy one camera and not sony xpira xa ultra.

heating when using WIFI !!!!!!
hanging when receive a phone call and you are opining another application. can't answer it
bad marital

posted on 04 Jan 2017, 19:34

18. ROIBBA (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Jan 2017)

This product has 2 major problems...

0) WIFI is weak. I got this phone just a week it came to my country. this was my first impression after I filled up all the warranty notes at Sony Store, the next few hours I need to connect to my mobile / pocket wifi. and believe me, i have a pretty hard time connecting to it. though after few weeks and months they got more system updates. still they never corrected it. I have my other phones with me but wifi connectivity is good and have no problem but his phone sucks at it. This phone and my pocket wifi is place side by side but the wifi bar is weak and interment.

1) it says 16GB internal but it is only 10Gb usable in total. so you need to very very very careful on saving storage. Though it has option to transfer photos / videos to SD, it is just up to that. While not all android app supports moving to SD, then you have that very big storage problem.

2) takes 3 minutes to BOOT. imagine that. with the useless Xperia logo animation.
Good thing they removed the PIN before you boot.

RESOLVE the wifi.

posted on 04 Jan 2017, 19:34

19. ROIBBA (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Jan 2017)

RESOLVE the wifi.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display6.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (367 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera21.5 megapixels
MediaTek Helio P10, Octa-core, 2000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size6.46 x 3.11 x 0.33 inches
(164 x 79 x 8.4 mm)
7.13 oz  (202 g)
Battery2700 mAh, 13.25 hours talk time

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