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Sony Xperia XA1 Review

Sony Xperia XA1

Posted: , by Daniel P.


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.

Sony Xperia XA1 Review
Sony Xperia XA1 Review
Sony Xperia XA1 Review
Sony Xperia XA1 Review

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.

Sony Xperia XA1
5.71 x 2.64 x 0.31 inches
145 x 67 x 8 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Sony Xperia XA1

Motorola Moto G5 Plus
5.91 x 2.91 x 0.38 inches
150.2 x 74 x 9.7 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
5.75 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches
146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm
5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Huawei P10 Lite
5.77 x 2.83 x 0.28 inches
146.5 x 72 x 7.2 mm
5.15 oz (146 g)

Huawei P10 Lite

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


While unremarkable in resolution, the HD display does the job in color balance and outdoor visibility

Sony Xperia XA1 Review

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.

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 XA1 578
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 581
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 556
Huawei P10 Lite 539
View all

  • Options

posted on 15 May 2017, 09:52 1

1. libra89 (Posts: 949; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)

Sounds like it isn't too bad, just a bit tall.

posted on 15 May 2017, 10:10 3

3. kent-gaga (Posts: 582; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

Wow I'm impressed by how they almost doubled the batery life compared to the XA
Now I wish if only the pumped it up to 2500mAh and it'd be really nice

posted on 15 May 2017, 11:01

6. libra89 (Posts: 949; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)

Yeah the XA battery life was terrible. I'm glad that they seemed to have improved that.

posted on 15 May 2017, 10:13 6

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

Sony phone = Automatic 8 or lower

posted on 15 May 2017, 10:26 3

5. shamrock_sean (Posts: 25; Member since: 27 Apr 2017)

I have one of these in gold and can tell you the camera quality is great Phone Arena!! I actually for a change found the sharpness from edge to edge way better than older Sony handsets and images have great contrast,colour and dynamic range. As for it being tall it isn't in the hand at all. And call quality is fine with mine,must be your network

posted on 15 May 2017, 11:16

7. cryptonx (Posts: 47; Member since: 05 Jan 2016)

I've read it "Sony's polycrap" which sounds about right

posted on 15 May 2017, 11:20

8. RoBear (Posts: 12; Member since: 23 Nov 2015)

You can get a Xperia X for $250 right now. Is there a single reason to pay $50 more for this?

posted on 15 May 2017, 11:43 1

9. libra89 (Posts: 949; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)

The camera software has probably improved.

posted on 15 May 2017, 13:52

10. Mr.mobile (Posts: 82; Member since: 09 Mar 2017)

cons far this phone according to me
-Huge top and bottom bezels
-small battery 2300mah
-No fingerprint sensor
-just 720p screen resolution
still costly should be like 200$

posted on 15 May 2017, 15:19 1

11. Lumberjack (Posts: 192; Member since: 04 May 2017)

Android Authority says XA1 takes photos as good as flagships.
Not the only website to say this.

posted on 15 May 2017, 19:22

12. Remmy (Posts: 147; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)

The XA1 looks the freshest among all midrange phones that look like an iPhone clone. Cut the top and bottom bezels and the design will be perfect IMO. I wish they could do the same for the flagship series without relocating the fingerprint/power button.

posted on 15 May 2017, 21:28

14. zenun12 (Posts: 175; Member since: 31 Oct 2016)

It would be a bit difficult for Sony to trim the bezels above and below because
1.) Dat Senzor
2.) L-shaped logic board
3.) Dat Side Bezel

posted on 15 May 2017, 19:56

13. Lumberjack (Posts: 192; Member since: 04 May 2017)

Photos are better than ones from iphone7+

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PhoneArena rating:
Display5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (294 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera23 megapixels
MediaTek helio P20, Octa-core, 2300 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.71 x 2.64 x 0.31 inches
(145 x 67 x 8 mm)
5.04 oz  (143 g)
Battery2300 mAh, 11.3 hours talk time

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