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Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra Review

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra

Posted: , by Kaloyan C. Kaloyan C.



Interface and functionality

Near-stock Nougat with a couple of welcome additional features

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra Review

Out of the box, the XA1 Ultra comes with Android 7.0 Nougat, and Sony once again brings a near-stock experience, though its 2009-era iconography is still in a desperate need of an overhaul. There’s a few great built-in apps that replace the stock Android ones, such as Album and Music, which look basic on the surface, but actually offer a surprising number of features packaged in a snappy and responsive user interface.

There’s also a couple of nice tweaks designed for the XA1 Ultra’s large form factor: the one-handed mode, which shrinks the whole screen into a smaller, easier-to-reach window, and the “display size” setting, which resizes all on-screen elements, making them bigger or smaller, depending on how you prefer to make use of the screen real estate.

What isn’t good, however, is the What’s New app, which essentially acts like an unnecessary second Play Store of sorts, and by default plasters you with unsolicited notifications (read: ads) about apps. They can be disabled, thankfully, but the app itself cannot.

Processor and memory

Mid-ranger isn’t an insult any more

It’s 2017, and we’ve finally reached the point at which even a mid-range MediaTek chipset like the Helio P20 can perform sufficiently well for most, if not all of your daily tasks. Sony’s Xperia UX is fast and responsive, with smooth animations and pretty much no hiccups to speak of – something a few manufacturers could stand to learn from.

This is no doubt helped by the XA1 Ultra’s 4 GB RAM (a slight increase from its smaller sibling’s 3 GB), but, this being a mid-ranger and all, you still shouldn’t expect that much in the graphics department – even a simplistic-looking game such as The Trail, for example, has troubles running smoothly. Also, launching or switching apps can sometimes take a second or two, but this problem only rears its head when the device is under heavier load, which is pretty much par for the course.

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra Review

The phone comes with 32 GB of internal storage, of which about 24 GB are available to the user, though that storage can be expanded via а microSD card.

Performance benchmarks

Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 63406.33
Sony Xperia XA1 62167
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 59664
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 27.651
Sony Xperia XA1 27.973
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 31.804
Motorola Moto M 25.826
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 21.33
Sony Xperia XA1 32
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 33
Motorola Moto M 18
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 6.6
Sony Xperia XA1 15
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 9
Motorola Moto M 5.2
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 1264.33
Sony Xperia XA1 1302
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 435
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 854.5
Sony Xperia XA1 857.66
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 764
Motorola Moto M 741
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 3732
Sony Xperia XA1 3714
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 3808
Motorola Moto M 2487
View all


Being a GSM-only device, the XA1 Ultra won’t work on Sprint and Verizon’s CDMA networks, even though it covers all of the Big Four’s LTE bands. Just like its predecessor, it supports NFC, making mobile payments an entirely real possibility. However, the USB connector on the bottom is now, thankfully, of the USB-C type, finally bringing the new, reversible standard to Sony's mid range.

  • Options

posted on 22 May 2017, 09:32

1. zacsaturday (Posts: 249; Member since: 09 May 2014)

I think they've just given up, they can't decide how to design the buttons on the side. First this (silver on the side) then a fingerprint scanner side button and now back to silver button....

posted on 22 May 2017, 10:35 3

5. Lumberjack (Posts: 258; Member since: 04 May 2017)

Edgeless design does not allow FPS as power button.

posted on 22 May 2017, 09:43

2. tango_charlie (Posts: 342; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

If they had used the SD625 along with a 4000mAh battery the XA1 Ultra would have been the best Midrange device of 2017!

posted on 22 May 2017, 10:11

3. trojan_horse (Posts: 5337; Member since: 06 May 2016)

I feel you... But as it stands, the 2017 Galaxy A7 is the best midrange phone... It's battery life is ridiculously good, with a whopping 115hrs endurance rating at GSMArena, and also great SOT on PhoneArena.

posted on 22 May 2017, 13:13

12. tango_charlie (Posts: 342; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

@trojan the A7 has a great battery life but it's quite expensive for a midrange device. IF Xiaomi would offer the mi note 4 in Europe - Germany I would go for that: sd 625, 4gb RAM, 64gb storage and a monster 4100mah battery for under 200 us dollar.

posted on 22 May 2017, 10:44 1

6. Lumberjack (Posts: 258; Member since: 04 May 2017)

Mediatek CPU's cost half.
P20 is a bit better than SD625

posted on 22 May 2017, 13:16

13. tango_charlie (Posts: 342; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

@lumberjack indeed the Mediatek SOC is faster in bench marks but in every day usage you will hardly see a difference (maybe except for gaming) the SD 625 on the other hand is quite power efficient.

posted on 22 May 2017, 11:05

7. GreenMan (Posts: 1884; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)

I beg your pardon...?

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 has "BOTH"; A 14nm Snapdragon 625 and slightly 'BIGGER' 4,100mAh battery and it cost just...


Oh well,


posted on 22 May 2017, 12:41 1

11. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1669; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

Except the Redmi Note 4 doesn't have a great camera and I've heard from people who have bought the device have stated that the battery has problems with charging and longevity after about a month of usage.

posted on 22 May 2017, 19:37

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

best mid-ranger will be Mi6 or OP5..

posted on 22 May 2017, 10:34 1

4. Lumberjack (Posts: 258; Member since: 04 May 2017)

Haven't read yet.. I bet PA said bad about cam, that front cam is not better than i7+'s ...

Lets read...

posted on 22 May 2017, 11:06

8. GreenMan (Posts: 1884; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra with ultra bezels...?



posted on 22 May 2017, 12:04 2

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


posted on 22 May 2017, 12:27 1

10. Mr.mobile (Posts: 91; Member since: 09 Mar 2017)

woooo far just 2700mah battery 10Hours of SOT great sony and mediatek just imagine if this phone comes with 4000mah battery

posted on 22 May 2017, 20:12

15. rsiders (Posts: 1124; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

Isn't the pixel density better than that of the iPhone?

posted on 23 May 2017, 03:47

16. dil2abu (Posts: 315; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

PA is so simple. If PA see SONY they give 7 :)

posted on 11 Jul 2017, 20:10

17. thechangeassociates (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Jul 2017)

Recently, I bought a Sony Xperia XZ Premium and I love its performance and efficiency in terms of operations and battery.
I further purchased another Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra which categorized as mid-range phone. I love this XA1 Ultra very much too; for its big screen and value for the money - which made available of its HD resolution screen, 4GB Ram and sufficient internal storage of 64GB (as compared to XA1 - its younger sibling).
I love Sony phone products, in particularly these two new phones (Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XA1 Ultra).

posted on 15 Jul 2017, 04:29

18. Furbal (Posts: 70; Member since: 19 May 2017)

Just picked up the US version today as well. So far this is a killer phone, although I wish it was $50 cheaper and used usb-pd so more chargers would work with it.

Amazing screen, decent enough camera. Performance is surprisingly good. On pace for 7 hours SOT for the first charge.

Only real desire is that is had double tap to wake.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display6.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (367 ppi)
Camera23 megapixels
MediaTek helio P20, Octa-core, 2300 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size6.50 x 3.11 x 0.32 inches
(165 x 79 x 8.1 mm)
6.63 oz  (188 g)
Battery2700 mAh, 13.27 hours talk time

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