Sony Xperia XA1 Review

Sony Xperia XA1

Posted: , by Daniel Petrov Daniel Petrov




Oh, Sony, your 20+ MP cameras are hit or miss

Given the midrange category, it is a pleasant surprise to see a 23 MP camera adorning the back of the Sony Xperia XA1, as well as a generous 8 MP shooter up front. The high-res sensor comes with small pixels that are soak in less light, so we wouldn't be writing home about it before we've looked at the pics first. The camera app offers a multitude of shooting modes and color effects with the trendy swipe gesture navigation between them, but most of the time you'd likely be shooting in the default Superior Auto mode that is set in a 16:9 (20MP) format.

Image quality

A typical Sony affair, the 23 MP sensor is hit or miss when it comes to color presentation or dynamic range in auto shooting mode. The image colors can be colder than reality, and a bit too saturated. One and the same scene can be exposed a step brighter or darker in the span of a second shot, depending on how the algorithms fall, and the phone often overexposes brighter spots too much, but overall it performs in sync with its midrange category by saving us any terrible exposure mishaps. There are too many pixels on this tiny sensor to keep noise in check, and it shows in frame sections like clear blue sky. The post-processing isn't very aggressive in terms of sharpness, and the pictures, especially indoor and low-light ones look a bit too soft for our liking, yet abnormal noise levels still rear their ugly head often.


The phone is capable of 1080p recording with 30fps, and that's that. Despite the resolution however, the footage is smudgy and lacking detail. At least panning around isn't too choppy. The SteadyShot software stabilization of Sony does the job in keeping the frame from shaking too much, but all in all, the recorded video footage is very hard to look at.


Sony prides itself in being a media company, not just a gadget maker, and it shows in the excellent Album, Video and Music apps it supplies on its Android handsets. The Album app serves as an alternative to Google Photos gallery that offers clean interface, rich in functions – from editing to Facebook or Instagram integration. Ditto for the music player which gives you minimalistic Material Design UI, but loads of tune categorization options, as well as lyrics display, song recognition, sound modes and equalizer presets.

Last but not least, the video app plays everything thrown at it, is integrated with the Movie Creator editing option, and, in the US, offers the excellent TV guide add-on that offers a visual grid of what's current and incoming on your cable subscription of choice. All in all, a stellar media bunch.


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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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