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Sony Xperia XA1 Review

Sony Xperia XA1

Posted: , by Daniel P. Daniel P.



Interface and functionality

Slick and fast, the Xperia UX is a joy on Nougat

Sony Xperia XA1 Review

The Xperia XA1 is underwritten by Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, which we can only appreciate, plastered with a bit of the Sony UX on top. The company's overlay is near-stock, with Google's apps taking over most of the common functions, but with Sony's unique iconography footprint, and plenty of options for theming and extra personalization. A live, active wallpaper is an added twist, as it is simple visually, but reacts and morphs with every tap of your finger, making for some pretty interactions with the XA1.

Sony adds a lot of value with its proprietary apps, too, like Sketch and Movie Creator, which offer very good image and video editing abilities.. In addition, there are some thoughtful interface features like smart backlight management, too, which keeps the screen lit when you are looking at a photo without touching the display, for instance. To top it all off, the interface performance is very fluid and runs without interruptions – in fact, it's very close to what completely stock Android phones like the Pixel offer.

Processor and memory

Sony Xperia XA1 Review

An octa-core MediaTek Helio P20 processor might raise some eyebrows, but, clocked at 4x 2.3 GHz and 4x 1.6 GHz here, this one performs as good as Snapdragon 625, and is just as frugal, made with a 16nm process, and the same Cortex-A53 workhorse cores. The ARM Mali-T880 graphics subsystem is OEM and dual-core, so don't expect any wonders in heavy 3D visualizations, but it does the job for most any other task you'd throw at it.

The near-stock interface is not betting on complex animations, and moves swiftly, without notable hiccups. The phone offers a decent 3GB RAM amount, and starts you off with the generous 32GB storage (~21GB user-available), to which you can add more with the supplied microSD slot.

Performance benchmarks

Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 62167
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 63191
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 60678
Huawei P10 Lite 58606
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 27.973
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 29.879
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 31.472
Huawei P10 Lite 30.750
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 32
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 23
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 33
Huawei P10 Lite 19
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 15
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 6.9
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 9
Huawei P10 Lite 5
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 1302
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 375
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 1432
Huawei P10 Lite 1209
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 857.66
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 783
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 766
Huawei P10 Lite 844
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 3714
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 3586
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 3951
Huawei P10 Lite 3114
View all


The Xperia XA1 is a GSM handset, meaning you can only use it on AT&T or T-Mobile networks, and it supports Cat. 6 LTE with download speeds of up to 300Mbps in theory, if the two carriers can supply the goods. All other connectivity options one might expect are onboard, too, incouding NFC, and the phone offers a handy USB-C port for charging and data connections at the bottom.

  • Options

posted on 15 May 2017, 09:52 1

1. libra89 (Posts: 1012; 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: 591; 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: 1012; 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: 31; 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: 52; 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: 1012; Member since: 15 Apr 2016)

The camera software has probably improved.

posted on 15 May 2017, 13:52

10. Mr.mobile (Posts: 91; 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: 258; 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: 151; 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: 258; 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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