Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review

GSMArena team, 07 October 2017.

Sony's Album remains a great gallery app

The Xperia XA1 Plus comes pre-loaded with Sony's Album app. We've always enjoyed it for its comprehensive feature set and ease of use, and it's no different here. Under the default view, at the very top of the list is a slideshow, showing off your photos. Lower down, the first photo of each month is shown at twice the size of other images. Photos are organized by month, and you can use pinch-zoom to change the size of thumbnails (then they smoothly animate into the grid).

The Album app is beautiful and functional - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Album app is beautiful and functional - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Album app is beautiful and functional - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Album app is beautiful and functional - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Album app is beautiful and functional - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
The Album app is beautiful and functional

You can also browse photos on a map (you can manually add geotag info too) or by folder. This includes network storage so that you can view photos from a DLNA server (your home computer, for one). Then there's integration with online albums - Facebook, Flickr, and Google Photos (which Sony stubbornly keeps calling Picasa).

Image editing is handled by several apps, including the default Image Editor, which is pretty powerful itself.

Viewing an image - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The image editor is quite powerful - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The image editor is quite powerful - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The image editor is quite powerful - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The image editor is quite powerful - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
Viewing an image • The image editor is quite powerful

Sketch lets you fingerpaint over a photo or a paper-like texture, add text, stickers, photos and so on. If you're talented, you can share your creations on the Sketch mini-social network. We stuck with just browsing through what others drew.

Sketch is a fun image editor with a mini social network for sharing art - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Sketch is a fun image editor with a mini social network for sharing art - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Sketch is a fun image editor with a mini social network for sharing art - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Sketch is a fun image editor with a mini social network for sharing art - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
Sketch is a fun image editor with a mini social network for sharing art

Movie Creator is similar to the Google Photos Assistant. It automatically creates short videos from the photos and videos you've shot. You can do it manually too: pick photos and videos, change their order, and add color effects and music (you get a small audio collection to start off with, but you can use custom files too). Then tap the Share button and send out your animated slideshow.

The Movie Creator can automatically or manually make shareable slideshows - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Movie Creator can automatically or manually make shareable slideshows - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Movie Creator can automatically or manually make shareable slideshows - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Movie Creator can automatically or manually make shareable slideshows - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review The Movie Creator can automatically or manually make shareable slideshows - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
The Movie Creator can automatically or manually make shareable slideshows

Music app

The Music app is Sony's custom player that comes pre-installed on the XA1 Plus, and it feels like part of the same software package as Album. The contextual side menu offers many of the same browsing options - by folder, network folder, and online services like Spotify (it's just a link to the Spotify app though). You can share music from the phone to compatible players.

Music app - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Music app - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Music app - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Music app - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Music app - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
Music app

The app can find the track's video on YouTube, look up info about the artist on Wikipedia, and search for lyrics on Google.

The Music app offers a variety of audio settings - ClearAudio+ determines the best audio quality settings depending on the track you're listening to. Dynamic normalizer evens out the volume differences across tracks, which is great if you've mixed multiple albums from multiple sources.

Audio settings - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Audio settings - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Audio settings - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
Audio settings

FM Radio present, but no TrackID anymore

The Xperia XA1 Plus comes with an FM radio receiver and an app to go with it - and Sony's is probably the best one we've seen. It has nice visuals, pulls the stations' names over RDS, and you can pick favorites. You can also assign colors to group the stations - say blue for news, yellow for rock music, or purple for house stations.

There's no Track ID anymore, not just on the XA1 Plus but at all - Sony shut down the service altogether on September 15.

FM radio - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review FM radio - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
FM radio

Video

Named simply Video, the app does little more than what it says on the tin. It can play your local videos and videos on your home network, plus it has extensive subtitle settings. The TV guide functionality that was part of the app on older phones has been removed for a while now - since the end of May.

Video player - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Video player - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Video player - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review Video player - Sony Xperia XA1 Plus review
Video player

Decent audio output

The Sony Xperia XA1 Plus audio output is excellently clean when used with an active external amplifier, but only average in loudness.

Clarity degradation caused by headphones consists of a smallish hike in stereo crosstalk, which means you still get to enjoy pretty accurate audio reproduction. Sadly, the volume drops to below average so it’s not quite perfect.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Sony Xperia XA1 Plus+0.02, -0.12-90.688.80.0150.028-83.5
Sony Xperia XA1 Plus(headphones attached)+0.15, -0.07-85.891.40.0320.063-56.5
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra+0.02, -0.18-93.994.00.00530.0089-91.3
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra (headphones attached)+0.65, -0.18-93.293.30.1760.485-51.9
Oppo F3 Plus+0.03, -0.01-93.593.30.00100.0066-92.0
Oppo F3 Plus (headphones attached)+0.55, -0.02-92.492.50.00900.315-58.1
Huawei Honor 8 Pro+0.04, -0.01-93.395.00.00180.0075-93.3
Huawei Honor 8 Pro (headphones attached)+0.15, -0.02-92.694.20.00230.100-63.9

Sony Xperia XA1 Plus frequency response
Sony Xperia XA1 Plus frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Unknown

Update or flash with official oreo xa 1 plus.. Unless you know to root them..you can edit build.prop after reinstalling original kernel (professional only)

Another major bad thing about the Xperia XA1 Plus is the screen. Even on full brightness outside in the sun you can't see anything. Not only the screen in general but if you are taking pictures or videos it is rubbish because you can't see what you a...

The Sony Xperia Xa1 Plus is the worst phone you could buy for a mid-range phone. The only thing good about it, is the nice square design otherwise it is rubbish in all aspects. Even with 4gb of RAM the phone is slow. It lags, sluggish and even crawls...