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Sony Xperia XA hands-on

So we've already seen the Xperia X and Xperia X Performance, Sony's two new hero phones that broke cover today at Mobile World Congress . The regular Xperia X looks like a great mainstream phone, while the "Performance" version brings the power of a Snapdragon 820 into the mix. But what about the traditional mid-range space? Well, Sony isn't ignoring the need for more affordable phones, as evidenced by the budget-conscious Xperia XA, also unveiled today in Barcelona.

The Xperia XA is pretty easy to identify as a Sony phone, with its symmetrical design and metallic trim. From a distance, it's easily confused with its more expensive sibling, the Xperia X. To spot the differences between the two, you'll need to examine it more closely.

Sony's new mid-ranger takes the Xperia X's looks and recreates them in a traditional polycarbonate shell. The phone's front sports the same slick glass front as the X, with a gentle slope towards the edges, while downscaling to a 720p resolution at 5 inches. That's a relatively low number even in the mid-range space, but what the Xperia XA lacks in resolution it makes up for with impressive brightness and colors that really pop.

Xperia XA

It might feel like plastic, but in any of its four colors this is a good-looking phone.

The outer frame of the phone is a familiar sight, with Sony's traditional circular power button on the right edge — no fingerprint scanner this time — along with volume and camera shutter keys. The back panel, which flows gently into the trim — and while it looks vaguely metallic, it feels very much like a polycarbonate shell.

Like its big brothers, the Xperia XA's 5-inch size makes it easy on hands and pockets, and the razor-slim horizontal bezels also make for some striking visuals. It might feel like plastic, but in any of its four colors — white, graphite, lime and rose gold — this is a good-looking phone.

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Xperia XA

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Xperia XA

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Xperia XA

On the inside, the XA is powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 processor, an octa-core chip using ARM's low-power Cortex-A53 cores. It's also packing 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, along with microSD expandability. So it's firmly a mid-range handset, but performance leaves nothing wanting, with apps loading quickly and smoothly in our brief time with the phone. Once again, two-day battery life is promised from the phone, which packs a 2,300mAh internal cell.

As for imaging, the Xperia XA includes a 13-megapixel rear shooter along with the redesigned camera app from the Xperia X, giving you a wide array of shooting modes and manual options for ISO, exposure levels and other variables. It's not as fast to focus as the X, but once it's there, it's capable of firing off images in rapid succession. Around the front, there's a more standard 8-megapixel sensor reporting for selfie duty.

Xperia XA

In an age when many mid-ranger still don't arrive with the latest version of Android, it's reassuring to see Sony shipping the Xperia XA with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, in addition to the latest Sony UI. As we've discussed before, Sony has a pretty light touch when it comes to customizing Android, with major additions to Marshmallow including its own apps, a stylized lock screen with a large clock widget, and re-tooled Material Design dialer and messaging apps.

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Xperia XA

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Xperia XA

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Xperia XA

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Xperia XA

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Xperia XA

It's not always easy to get excited about a mid-range phone, these being more about which compromises a manufacturer has put in place than a singe stand-out feature. But the choices Sony has made in the Xperia XA all make sense, and as a result it's looking like a promising phone indeed.

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex is global Executive Editor for Android Central, and is usually found in the UK. He has been blogging since before it was called that, and currently most of his time is spent leading video for AC, which involves pointing a camera at phones and speaking words at a microphone. He would just love to hear your thoughts at alex@androidcentral.com, or on the social things at @alexdobie.

21 Comments
  • Just can't trust Mediatek processors other than that it is a solid phone Posted via the Xperia Z5
  • And why is that? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good question. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Because they weren't even born here? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Because they don't support quick charging, some of the apps have compability problems with it and m5, m4 aqua and c5 user reports are too bad. Those devices also use Mediatek so... The answer is clear. Posted via the Xperia Z5
  • What are some of these apps? And only because of quick charge. Answer doesn't seem too clear. I mean I understand the Mediatek is not on QC or Intel level but the x10 and x20 has made great stride and more OEM are using them I have heard of no great issues. So I just hoping for a more elaborate explanation other than "because it's a Mediatek" if they were that much of an issue why not go with the 617 or 625? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ask that question to Sony why they still go with Mediatek rather than Snapdragon after those failed models that I mentioned. You may not heard or seen those problems but I have both seen and witnessed them so that doesn't make Mediatek choice approved. Go search for the models on forums and you will see what people experienced. Snapdragon is the way to go. Mediatek needs to keep up with the game I am sorry. Posted via the Xperia Z5
  • The slim bezels and rose gold look nice, especially on a low cost phone.
  • Yess. I wonder how much it will retail for. I like the look a lot, the XA sounds and looks great.
  • If priced at around $300, this would be a serious contender in that range, so for now according to me, Everything depends on the price of this phone Posted via the Android Central App
  • This will cost 300€.
    It's definitely not worth it.
  • Is it IPS or AMOLED??? Posted from my Nexus 6.
  • Sony's Triluminous IPS LCD. Sony doesn't use AMOLED.
  • $300 is too much. I think $200 would be better
  • I think $17.50 would be better. Posted via the Android Central App
  • $4 would be much better!
  • You have to go down to $3 if you want to beat the Indian phone.
  • The entire X series is stupidly overpriced.
    This costs 300€, the mid-range X costs 600€ and the Performance...God knows but likely 700€.
  • Looks like a TV remote. WTF!
  • Looks premium but that mediatek... -_- Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lost me at 720p..