Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review: Geared up

Geared up

GSMArena Team, 3 June 2017.

Telephony

The Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra we have for review is the single SIM version (G3221). Dual SIM versions are also available in some markets.

The list of favorites, the call log and the contacts are all tabs within the same app, and the dialer is summoned with a tap on a button. The call log can be filtered by missed, incoming and outgoing calls. Smart dial is supported too.

Dialer with smart dial - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review In-call screen - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Call log - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Phonebook - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Favorites - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review
Dialer with smart dial • In-call screen • Call log • Phonebook • Favorites

Loudspeaker

Even if the two slits, top and bottom, on the Xperia XA1 Ultra hint at a stereo speaker setup, the phone actually packs just a single bottom-firing driver. It is, however, plenty loud, unlike the XA1, but it still falls slightly behind the XA Ultra from last year. Even so, the flagship XZ Premium with its pair of speakers has nothing on the Ultra in terms of sheer loudness.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia XA 61.6 66.2 68.3 Below Average
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 62.9 65.2 71.6 Below Average
Sony Xperia XZs 62.4 65.5 73.3 Average
Sony Xperia XA1 61.7 69.7 71.8 Average
Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus 65.0 68.2 70.8 Average
OnePlus 3T 61.0 69.3 78.3 Good
Moto M 64.5 72.9 72.0 Good
Moto Z Play 62.9 70.3 77.0 Good
Huawei nova plus 68.3 68.0 76.9 Good
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 66.6 66.1 81.5 Good
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625) 67.3 70.3 81.5 Very Good
vivo V5 Plus 65.8 73.5 80.8 Very Good
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra 68.3 71.6 81.0 Very Good
Honor 8 Pro 64.0 71.4 87.8 Very Good
Google Pixel XL 73.4 72.1 84.1 Excellent
Huawei Mate 9 83.1 74.5 85.0 Excellent
Sony Xperia XA Ultra 88.9 79.3 82.7 Excellent

Text input

For text entry, Sony has been sticking with the SwiftKey keyboard for a while now. It's touted as having one of the best prediction algorithms and offers pretty much everything: multiple layouts and themes, 5 different sizes, undocking, secondary symbols upon long press, swipe input, and emojis.

Swiftkey keyboard is the default text input method - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Swiftkey keyboard is the default text input method - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Swiftkey keyboard is the default text input method - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Swiftkey keyboard is the default text input method - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Swiftkey keyboard is the default text input method - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review
Swiftkey keyboard is the default text input method

Other apps

The News app is a news aggregator, pulling stories from sources on topics of your choice. It can also issue two daily bulletins for you at a time you specify, so you don't miss out on current events.

News - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review News - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review News - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review
News

Xperia lounge is Sony's own entertainment app, feeding you exclusive content and competitions related to music, movies and games.

Xperia Lounge - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Xperia Lounge - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review Xperia Lounge - Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra review
Xperia Lounge

There is a file manager, strictly speaking, but it's buried in the storage options in the Settings menu. It does allow basic copy and move actions, on multiple items too. However, you can't access it from the app drawer, all you get there is a shortcut to a downloads folder.

Sony's health-tracking app Lifelog doesn't come pre-installed, though all it takes to download it is a trip to the Play Store.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Superb phone when using....no hang and no hard to use it.... Camera quality is amazing...Photo quality and resolutions are very good as compared to iPhone

  • Veature

When i install Open Camera, it gives me option to turn on 4k recording, maxed out at 4k ultra. Not sure if it's really doing that resolution. Also, in open camera, you can set video bitrate and frame rate. Please let me know about this. I did a sam...

  • Anonymous

I regret to have gotten this smartphone, poor battery life, poor camera resolution, not practical functions at all.