Have you ever wanted a phone so large that all of your pockets become completely obsolete? A phone so gargantuan that one may need slide the phone up and down their face during a call so that both the speaker and microphone are accessible by ear and mouth simultaneously.
Introducing the Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra. The Ultra name has previously denoted a bigger better version of its more compact self. The XA1 Ultra is no different in this regard and as already explained the most obvious characteristic is the sheer size. Disappointingly the screen does not utilise as much of the real estate as possible. Large bezels or at least larger than the competition seems to be Sony’s design norm. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is smaller in dimension but sports a larger screen, 6.3inch versus 6.0inch.
Screen and bezel size aside the quality of the display is truly great, by no means the best but undoubtedly top 10 and with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 the beauty is well protected. Sadly, the phone has neither IP67 nor IP68 certifications so don’t drop it in the toilet!
Once again Sony is chasing after a flawless victory in the megapixel race that no one else seems to be running. 23 megapixels from the rear-facing camera and 16 from the front-facing. Even with all of those megapixels and phase detection autofocus I still was not entirely impressed by the end result images.
However, where the Sony begins to win back my favour is as large as it is it still feels comfortable in my non-NBA proportioned hands. It is light and a little thinner than some of its competitors (8.1mm). Plastic body phones usually look and feel very cheap but Sony has achieved the opposite and the XA1 Ultra feels like a decent quality phone. This is probably due to the splashes of aluminium here and there but overall you feel out of place when everyone else whips out their glass/aluminium phones.
The battery life was astounding and I tried my best to flatten the battery in two days with an exaggerated normal use case but try as I might I could not achieve such a feat. Furthermore, the XA1 Ultra employs Qnovo smart battery technology which aims at increasing the longevity of a batteries charge potential and integrity by varying the current being supplied to the battery during charge according to the monitored battery health.
The XA1 also jam packs a spec sheet that is very appealing in the sense that performance shouldn’t be an issue for the average user. Just a few of the components:
• Full HD IPS HD Capacitive screen
• Octa Core CPU (4×2.3GHz Cortex A53 and 4×1.6GHz Cortex A53)
• 32/64GB storage and supported 256GB microSD
• 165mm by 79mm by 8.1mm
The XA1 Ultra is a moderately priced, mid to top level micro-tablet with phone capabilities. The design is last-generation and the aspects that make Sony phones loveable are still accounted for. Sony capitalises on the fact that they are not part of and not trying to be part of the war raging between the “top” smartphone manufacturers and XA1 Ultra is a perfect example of this. A phone that is old in styling and not trying to impress everyone at all moments but still focussing on its own individual strengths.
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra Rating: 7/10
Check out the Sony website: XA1 Ultra