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

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.

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.


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.


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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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