I recently reviewed Sony’s Xperia XA1 Ultra and was impressed by its capabilities, especially for a mid-range phone – but unfortunately it fell short here and there. Thankfully, the Xperia XA2 Ultra has upped its game for sure.
The XA2 Ultra is large and in charge, entering the ring weighing a whopping 221 grams, which you really feel when carrying the phone around. Its rounded aluminium edges give it that premium aesthetic, but the plastic back detracts from this somewhat. I found the size to be a little too bulky for my liking – but if you’re into this kind of plus-sized phone, then the XA2 Ultra will do nicely and fit comfortably in your hand.
The screen swipes are smooth, the buttons have a satisfying click to them, and the fingerprint sensor at the back is nice and sensitive, although I did notice it often attempts to read fingerprints from all parts of the body. The phone reacts to your touch well. It never lags behind or gives any notion that it’s running a slightly less beefy hardware setup compared to the premium XZ range. One downside to the curved edges is that I noticed the screen registering a few accidental touches when holding the phone. As an added bonus, the Xperia Loops default wallpaper was fun to watch as I swiped across the screen and navigated my way through the UI. It even handily changes to red when the battery goes below 15%.
The screen is bright, colourful and large, and even though it doesn’t cover the full length and width of the phone like most other screens do these days, it doesn’t disappoint at all.
A big phone requires a big battery, and the 3580mAh battery inside the XA2 Ultra keeps the phone juiced for ages, even under the most strenuous of circumstances. I ran a full-brightness, no-sleep test with multiple apps and games running, and it took 12 hours for the charge to dip from 100% to 15% – which climbed back up to 85% after charging it for just half an hour.
Most phones these days are so similar when it comes to their hardware and software that you’re forced to look for other factors that set them apart. The XA2 Ultra has done this by focusing on the cameras. The rear camera packs a 23MP punch, so nothing too exciting there – but the quality of the shots it takes is outstanding, in both well-lit and low-light settings. It’s powered by Sony’s large Exmor RS sensor, so you can capture those beautiful panoramic shots, or get a big group group of people in a single photo, without having to crouch down to accommodate the tall guys in the back.
The front camera is where the XA2 really excels. Sony has opted for dual lenses on the front side of the phone instead of the back. They’ve put a 16MP shooter side-by-side with an 8MP super-wide angle, ensuring that your epic party selfies can include all your friends – and any photo-bombers to boot. The quality is some of the finest I’ve ever seen from a front-side camera. The dedicated camera button is highly welcome, allowing you to capture your shots without getting the finger you used to tap the screen caught in the photo.
The XA2 Ultra is impressive in every respect, and I’d say it easily competes with the Galaxy S8+. If you’re looking for something that feels like a high-end phone, but with a slightly lower price point than most flagship phones these days, I’d give the XA2 Ultra more than just a very serious look.