Sony Xperia XA Ultra review: Lord of the selfies

Lord of the selfies

GSMArena team, 20 July 2016.

Introduction

The Internet can be a scary place with its billions of users, but modern smartphones have a way to let you leave your mark - the selfie camera. That's exactly what the Sony Xperia XA Ultra is all about.

It's one of only two phones to feature optical image stabilization on the front-facing camera. And what a camera it is - a dedicated LED flash and a large 1/2.6" sensor of 16MP resolution. That's the same sensor size and resolution as the main camera on the Galaxy S6!

The rest of the Xperia XA Ultra is quite similar to the smaller XA, which (it is no secret) is our favorite looking phone of the new Xperia X line. Aside from the screen, of course, Ultra is Sony speak for a 6" screen.

It has a higher resolution, 1080p, which makes it sharper to boot. And slender it is too - the narrowest 6" phone in our database, despite its metal sides.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra key features

  • Monster of selfie camera: 16MP 1/2.6" sensor, optical image stabilization, LED flash
  • Narrowest phone with 6-inch screen
  • 6" 1,080 x 1,920px LCD with 367ppi, Mobile Bravia Engine 2; 2.5D scratch-resistant glass, oleophobic coating
  • Android v6.0 Marshmallow with Xperia launcher
  • MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 chipset, octa-core 2GHz Cortex-A53 CPU; Mali-T860MP2 GPU; 3GB RAM
  • 21.5 MP camera with 1/2.4" sensor; 1080p@30fps video recording and hybrid autofocus
  • 16GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot
  • Single and dual-SIM variants
  • LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps); Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n; A-GPS/GLONASS receiver, Bluetooth v4.1, FM radio with RDS
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • 2,700mAh non-removable battery (Pump Express 2.0 charging supported)

Main cons

  • Tiny battery for the size, and not particularly efficient 28nm chipset
  • No fingerprint reader
  • OIS on selfie camera, but not on the main camera. Go figure
  • No increased water protection

The front-facing camera on the XA Ultra is impressive, more impressive than the main camera on the small XA. So the back camera had to be upgraded too, it got a 21.5MP sensor (1/2.4" Exmor RS IMX230, if you're keeping score). We don't want an Oppo F1 Plus situation where the selfie cam is better than the one on the back, do we?

The Ultra model also gets an extra gig of RAM and a bigger battery too, but that's where the differences end. It's the same chipset, same software, even the battery isn't that big - actually, at 2700mAh it's downright tiny for a 6" phone. Especially one that's 8.4mm thick.

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Sony Xperia XA official images

Well, we did love the XA and we are fans of big screens, so we're diving into the Sony Xperia XA Ultra a positive attitude (and a few worries).

Reader comments

  • Anna

Camera is not good.... Takes too long to save photos

  • Disappointing Sony

****Dont buy this phone**** software issues Has wifi errors on purchase and sony not offering support

  • AnonD-724747

No spare parts after 2 years from released date. Not worth repairing as the spare parts were too expensive. It can costs you more than buying a new phone.