Sony Xperia XA1 Review
Sony is breathing new life in its midrange offers for the US with the new Xperia XA1, which comes hot on the heels of its Xperia XZs release here. In Sony's case, it simply starts selling those in its shop or on Amazon, and they only work on T-Mobile and AT&T, but it's nice to have extra options.
The Xperia XA1 goes for $299.99 at Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, Fry's, and the other usual suspects, and offers an intriguing mix of entry level and midrange specs, such as a 5-inch 720p screen, but 23 MP camera and 3GB RAM. Is it worth the dough? Let's see...
Sony's oldieblocky polycarb is now a breath of fresh air in the sea of metal or glass phones.
In the year of bezel minimalism, Sony's phones look especially out of the loop, and the XA1 is no exception. The 5” screen is framed between huge top and bottom bezel areas, making the Sony as tall as the 5.2” honor 8 or Galaxy A5, not to mention bezel-busting flagships like the 5.7” G6 or the 5.8” S8, which are only slightly larger than the XA1. The phone still comes with on-screen keys, though, and this one doesn't have front-firing stereo speakers, as the lower slit is simply a mic, while the sole speaker is situated at the bottom. Despite this, the phone has a pleasantly distinct and elegant look to it.
The Xperia XA1 is narrow enough to be comfortable for one-handed operation, and feels sturdy in the palm. In fact, it is solid as a brick, despite the all-plastic construction, and we appreciate the inclusion of a modern USB-C port at the bottom.
When it comes to buttons, the plastic volume rocker on the right is a bit smallish and wobbly under the thumb, with somewhat shallow feedback, while the signature metal home key of Sony is well-placed to comfortably feel and press without looking. There is a dedicated camera key, as usual, something we've learned to appreciate in Sony's Android designs.
While unremarkable in resolution, the HD display does the job in color balance and outdoor visibility
A 5” 720x1280 resolution LCD screen is nothing to pop champagne about in the pixel density department, but an HD screen is sufficient at this diagonal, and there are battery gains to be had with this resolution. That's coming a bit further in the review, though, and for now we'll just mention that the picture doesn't lean to the colder side of the spectrum, as usual with Sony's mobile screens, but is rather spot on in terms of color temperature. It is also bright enough and with low screen reflectance to seem perfectly legible under direct sunlight, too.