Hey look, Sony's taking things seriously in the U.S.

Sony's taking to CES 2018 to launch three new mid-range phones: the Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra and L2. They look like fine phones. They have solid specs for mid-range devices and a few neat features.

But let me tell you the important part up front: all three have fingerprint sensors in the U.S. They're interestingly rear-mounted fingerprint sensors, rather than the side-mounted power button variety Sony has used for years. And yes, they're actually enabled right out of the box here in the States. No importing, no hacking, nothing. Finally, our long national nightmare is over.

Sony Xperia XA2 UltraSony Xperia XA2Sony Xperia L2

Left to right: Xperia XA2 Ultra, XA2 and L2

Okay, breathe. It's really happening. We have a Sony phone in the U.S. with a working fingerprint sensor. It's not a dream. Let's move on to the phones themselves.

These are totally expected and standard mid-range phones. The fingerprint sensor is what really matters here.

These three phones are refreshes of the existing Sony mid-range lineup. The XA2 and super-sized XA2 Ultra are understandably built on a similar platform — they run on a Snapdragon 630 processor with a 1920x1080 display, the same 23MP rear camera and supporting specs. The XA2 Ultra is larger, with a 6-inch display and corresponding 3580mAh battery compared to the 5.2-inch and 3300mAh of the XA2. For its extra size the XA2 Ultra adds a secondary front-facing camera with OIS, above and beyond the 8MP 120-degree wide-angle camera found on both, and also bumps up to 4GB of RAM from 3GB.

That's right, the XA2 Ultra has two front-facing cameras, and one even has OIS. Despite the fact that the rear camera doesn't have OIS. Who knows.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

Sitting well below those two is the Xperia L2, with its 5.5-inch 1280x720 display, quad-core processor (the brand is unknown, but likely MediaTek), 3GB of RAM and sizable 3300mAh battery. It takes a big step down in terms of camera, with a basic 13MP shooter on the back and 8MP wide-angle on the front. The goal here, as is the case with Sony's low-end range, is to bring that unmistakeable Sony design language down to an affordable price by skimping on the specs — for a point of reference, the current Xperia L1 is just $180. The downside? You're getting Android 7.1.1 Nougat on board, whereas the others launch on Oreo as you'd expect in early 2018.

All three phones will come to the U.S. as single-SIM models in February, but pricing hasn't been announced just yet. The XA2 Ultra in particular has a shot at being pretty popular if the pricing is right, as Sony has seen surprisingly good sales of its large mid-range phones — like the XA1 Ultra at $379 — in the U.S. previously. But what really matters here is that we can expect Sony's upcoming flagships for 2018 to also have fingerprint sensors, which will finally remove the longstanding caveat that has applied every time we talk about its phones here.

Press release:

Sony unveils three new smartphones: Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra, and Xperia L2

  • Xperia XA2 and large-screen Xperia XA2 Ultra feature 23MP main camera, 8MP 120-degree super-wide-angle front-facing camera (plus second 16 MP front camera on Xperia XA2 Ultra), and a range of upgrades in a sleek, borderless design
  • Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra come equipped with Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 630 processor platform
  • Xperia L2 also announced, with a 5.5" HD display, high- capacity battery and 8MP 120-degree super-wide-angle front camera
  • All three devices feature new, always-on fingerprint sensor

Las Vegas, 8th January 2018, Sony Mobile Communications ("Sony Mobile") today unveiled Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra – the latest additions to its popular super mid-range line, with Sony camera technology, elegant designs, and powerful performance.

"Our super mid-range product strategy started out as an exciting new idea based on bringing bold technologies to this section of the market in the most accessible way possible," said Hideyuki Furumi, EVP, Global Sales & Marketing, at Sony Mobile Communications. "Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra are no different, with leading front camera technology first seen in our flagship XZ line. We're targeting 2018 as a breakthrough year, and look forward to showcasing further innovations across the entire Xperia portfolio over the coming months."

Xperia XA2 and large-screen Xperia XA2 Ultra – Sony's renowned borderless display smartphones – add 120-degree super-wide-angle lens front camera and a broad range of performance upgrades to deliver more ways to capture and share life moments with ease.

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra take the Sony borderless smartphone series to new heights by adding a host of enhancements that make these Full HD screen devices stand out even further from the competition.

Both smartphones feature a high-resolution 23MP main camera upgraded with 4K video recording and 120fps slow-motion video capture (for high- resolution and creative video shots) and much improved low-light sensitivity at ISO 12800 for capturing higher quality photos in dark or indoor conditions.

When it comes to the front-facing camera, Xperia XA2 takes a big step up with an all-new 8MP front camera with 120-degree super-wide-angle lens for fitting more scenery and people into your shots. The Xperia XA2 Ultra ups the ante even further with dual front cameras: a 16MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and display flash for blur-free night-time selfies and an all-new secondary 8MP front camera with 120-degree super-wide- angle lens.

Xperia XA2 and the large-screen Xperia XA2 Ultra deliver an extraordinary mobile viewing experience, with both smartphones featuring a stunning edge-to-edge display and reduced top and bottom bezels. Whether you're watching videos, browsing the internet, or playing the latest mobile games, the Full HD 1080p screen (5.2" on Xperia XA2; 6" on Xperia XA2 Ultra) is designed to exceed expectations for how content is viewed on a smartphone while still fitting comfortably in your hand.

Entertainment experiences on the Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra will not only look great on the screen, but they'll also sound fantastic with SmartAmp, a feature that significantly enhances the sound quality of music, videos, and games. A perfect complement to the beauty of the bezel-less display, this improved audio feature ensures you'll be more deeply immersed in your entertainment.

Narrow and stylishly sleek, Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra feature a premium look and feel with an all-new aluminum back panel, precision-edge detailing, and 2.5D curved glass, all of which give these devices a more polished look.

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra are powered by the Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 630 processor platform, which delivers 3X the upload and 2X the download speeds compared to their predecessors (i.e., Xperia XA1 and Xperia XA1 Ultra), at 150Mbps and 600Mbps respectively. These devices also come with a new, always-on fingerprint sensor* for greater peace of mind. Xperia XA2 is backed by a high-capacity 3,300 mAh battery, almost 40% larger than its predecessor, while Xperia XA2 Ultra comes with a 3,580 mAh battery, which is more than 32% larger than its predecessor. Both phones will launch on Android 8.0 OreoTM.

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra feature Sony smart charging technologies. Smart Stamina delivers extended usage during the day and night, while Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging ensure the battery stays healthy over time. Quick charging is also supported to give you hours of power with just minutes of charging (requires Quick Charger).

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra will be available in Single SIM in the U.S. Xperia XA2 comes in four colors: Silver, Black, Blue, and Pink, while Xperia XA2 Ultra will be available in Silver, Black, Blue, and Gold.

Xperia L2 is a 5.5-inch borderless display smartphone with 120- degree super-wide-angle lens front camera, all-new metallic design, and always-on fingerprint sensor.

The Xperia L2 smartphone combines a premium camera, sophisticated design, superior performance, and long-lasting battery life in a 5.5-inch borderless HD display – all at an affordable price. Xperia L2's high-quality 13MP main camera features a fast autofocus to quickly capture sharp photos and a 3X clear image zoom to hone in on your subject from afar. The device takes a big step up with an all-new 8MP front camera with 120-degree super- wide-angle lens for fitting more scenery and people into your shots.

Xperia L2 also comes with a new, always-on fingerprint sensor for greater peace of mind and is backed by a larger capacity 3,300 mAh battery, which is more than 25% larger than its predecessor. The device is designed to last throughout the day and night thanks to its smart battery management functions, including Stamina Mode and Smart Cleaner. These battery-saving features optimize app use and activate the device's power-saving capability.

This smartphone is equipped with the Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system and increased memory at 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory storage, with an external microSD memory card slot to allow up to 256GB of additional storage. Xperia L2 is crafted in a loop-like surface with a curved back panel and metallic design that fits comfortably in your hand as you enjoy watching your videos or posting on social media.

With the all-new Xperia L2, Sony's trademark excellence in audio and visual technology and smartphone craftsmanship are all packed into a reasonably priced high-performance smartphone that's perfect for capturing and sharing a wider variety of your life moments with ease and style.

Xperia L2 will launch in Single SIM in the U.S. and come in three colors: Black, Gold, and Pink.

Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra, and Xperia L2 will all roll out in early February.