Sony Xperia XA Ultra review: Lord of the selfies

Lord of the selfies

GSMArena team, 20 July 2016.

Phone

We have a single-SIM Sony Xperia XA Ultra, but there is a dual-SIM version if you need an extra phone line. Either model has active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra review

The call log can be filtered by missed, incoming and outgoing calls.

Dialer with smart dial - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review Call log - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review Call log filtering - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review Phonebook - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review
Dialer with smart dial Call log Call log filtering Phonebook

The new Xperia family shares a fairly unique feature, a built-in answering machine. It picks up an incoming call, plays your greeting and would later replay your friends' messages. You can set up your greeting and pickup conditions.

The Xperia X has a built-in answering machine - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review The Xperia X has a built-in answering machine - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review The Xperia X has a built-in answering machine - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review
The Xperia X has a built-in answering machine

Loudspeaker

Unlike the Xs, the XA phones have a single loudspeaker, located at the bottom. The Sony Xperia XA Ultra blew others away with an Excellent mark. It is a truly powerful speaker that manages very good quality (though some distortion creeps in if you push it to maximum volume).

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia XA 61.6 66.2 68.3 Below Average
Oppo F1 Plus 66.3 66.2 65.9 Below Average
Xiaomi Mi Max 67.1 66.2 68.1 Average
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) 65.5 72.2 65.2 Average
Sony Xperia C5 Ultra 69.8 66.6 82.7 Very Good
LeEco Le Max 2 74.9 69.3 77.2 Very Good
Oppo R7 Plus 73.7 72.8 79.9 Very Good
Sony Xperia XA Ultra 88.9 79.3 82.7 Excellent

Messaging

The Sony Xperia XA Ultra has a beautiful Material design messaging app. It feels like the instant messengers you might be used to, including conversations wallpapers and cute stickers you can send.

Ours came with panda stickers pre-installed, but you can download more (free and paid sticker packs are available). You can also send your own creations drawn in the Sketch (obviously, this changes the message type to MMS).

Messaging app - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review Chatting with Mandark - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review Stickers are available, just like in chat apps - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review
Messaging app Stickers are available, just like in chat apps

For text entry, Sony picked the SwiftKey keyboard. It became popular for its swipe input, but regular tap-typing with text correction is available as well. Typing is quite comfortable and the narrow bezels didn't lead to accidental presses. One-handed mode can be enabled if you want to type with just one thumb.

Customizable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review Customizable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review Customizable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XA Ultra review
Customizable SwiftKey keyboard

The keyboard is highly customizable - you can change the layout, choose what characters are available (accented characters, emoji), enable a number row, resize the keyboard or even undock it. The Messaging app also handles voice input.

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.