Call quality


Just like on the XA1, the XA1 Ultra’s earpiece sounds a bit hollow, which is both due to the subpar quality of the audio itself and the overall lower volume. The microphone, however, does a pretty good job at capturing one’s voice, and the built-in noise cancellation works great.

Battery

A surprisingly decent performer, considering the huge screen

On first look, the XA1 Ultra’s huge size doesn’t exactly fit its 2,700 mAh battery, but, as it turns out, the device is an absolute champ in the battery life department, as it scored an impressive 10 hours and 32 minutes in our benchmark. But it also does well in real life as well, lasting a whole day with moderately heavy usage. This can in large part be attributed to the relatively low-power helio P20 chipset found inside, as well as the lower screen resolution.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 10h 32 min (Excellent)
Sony Xperia XA1 8h 28 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 12h 58 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto M 7h 8 min (Good)

Conclusion


When compared side by side with its smaller sibling – the Xperia XA1 – the XA1 Ultra almost looks a bit tacky. It’s like if Sony wondered how to make a more premium-looking mid-ranger, but the only ideas they had were “make it bigger” and “put some metal on it”. And neither of these decisions do it much favor, immediately drawing attention to design problems the smaller model’s body did a much better job of hiding.

Despite that, this is a classic Sony design, and one that very much stands out from the crowd of boring gray rectangles, for better or worse. And while your mileage may vary, in our experience its monstrous size just made the XA1 Ultra unwieldy, though that should be a given to anyone in the market for a phone with such a large display.

And as for the positives, while the helio P20 chipset is far from the fastest, it will still give you a pretty good experience with minimal to no slowdowns, while also ensuring pretty good battery performance as well. The cameras, too, are okay, though they most surely don’t offer the best-in-class performance Sony claims they do.

So if you’re, for whatever reason, looking for a humongous smartphone that won’t break the bank, the XA1 Ultra is, despite its shortcomings, one of the best choices out there for you right now.

Pros

  • Great, accurate display
  • Snappy performance with next to no slowdowns
  • Near-stock Android
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • The seams around the edges aren’t great to look at
  • Cameras are nowhere near the quality Sony promises them to be
  • The earpiece is too quiet

PhoneArena Rating:

7.0

FEATURED VIDEO

21 Comments

1. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 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....

5. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Edgeless design does not allow FPS as power button.

2. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

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

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 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.

12. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 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.

6. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

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

13. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 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.

7. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 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... $200...! Oh well, G'Day!

11. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2314; Member since: Feb 14, 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.

14. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

best mid-ranger will be Mi6 or OP5..

4. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

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

8. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra with ultra bezels...? Ha! G'Day!

9. drahcir02

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 03, 2016

tard.

10. Mr.mobile

Posts: 130; Member since: Mar 09, 2017

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

15. rsiders

Posts: 1898; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

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

16. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

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

17. thechangeassociates

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 11, 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).

18. Furbal unregistered

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.

19. siddha05

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 20, 2017

Everywhere I read issues with the battery life on the XA1 Ultra [Amazon and some other sites], but Phonearena has rated this as "Excellent" [better than many of the premium/top end phones based on their measurement methodology!!!]. Did anybody else notice that and were you surprised by this at all after purchasing the phone? The phone is really tempting to get - a phablet in gold!!!

20. siddha05

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 20, 2017

I got the phone and sure enough the battery life is anything but disappointing! It's pretty good!

21. markusinfinite

Posts: 75; Member since: Aug 05, 2016

Battery life is very good. I always have stamina mode enabled though,
Xperia XA1 Ultra
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek Helio P20, Octa-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2700 mAh(11.88h 3G talk time)

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