- Good picture quality
- Bright display
- Plenty of storage
- Great design
- Android 7.0 Nougat
- Slow camera interface
- So-so battery life
- Lower screen resolution than competition
- Lots of pre-installed apps
As the latest entry in Sony’s budget-friendly lineup, the Xperia XA1 features the same minimalist premium styling Sony is known for with dialed back specs. Touting a powerful 23MP camera, the phone hopes to capture the attention of mobile photographers.
But does the phone still offer good value regarding daily use?
Reviews are rolling in! Let’s see what they’re saying!
Reviewers were quick to point out that the XA1 looks like many of Sony’s much pricier phone models. While it’s mostly plastic, reviews agreed that the phone felt sturdy and well made. Mobile Syrup said, “The comfort of this thin form factor can’t be emphasized enough. It makes it incredibly easy to navigate the device with one hand without [compromising] the overall size of the display.”
If you’re looking to take advantage of the phone’s beefy camera, there’s also a dedicated camera button. Depending on your region, you might find a fingerprint scanner in the power button. While Sony keeps with its typical minimalist design, the XA1 does not offer water or dust proofing.
Head around front and you’re greeted by a 5-inch 720p IPS display. At first glance, reviewers questioned the large top and bottom bezels on the screen but eventually found they liked the arrangement. While the screen didn’t blow reviewers away, there were few complaints either. Trusted Reviews noted, “Yes, text isn’t as sharp as it could be and hi-res images might not look great, but your Facebook and Instagram feeds will look just fine.”
Powering those pixels, you’ll find a 2.3Ghz octa-core Helio P20 processor paired with 3GB of RAM. Performance reviews were positive for basic usage and light gaming. Phone Arena summarized opinions well, saying, “Don't expect any wonders in heavy 3D visualizations, but it does the job for most any other task you'd throw at it.”
The phone ships with Android 7.0 Nougat skinned with Sony’s interface. Reviewers were not fans of the pre-installed apps but were happy to find they could uninstall them.
With 32GB of storage, you shouldn’t run into problems keeping your favorite media or apps on-hand. However, support for microSD cards lets you expand storage up to 256GB.
The star of the phone is the 23MP rear facing camera. While reviewers found the camera interface lacking, they had no complaints about picture quality once they dialed in settings. Mobile Syrup called the camera “one of the most impressive I’ve seen in a budget phone.” TechRadar was equally impressed, calling the camera “among the very best at this price.”
Battery life was a major concern for most reviewers. The phone includes a 2,300mAh non-removable battery. Fortunately, reviewers made it through the day on a single charge in most cases. Trusted Reviews said, “If you know you have a long day (or night) ahead of you, flick on Stamina Mode and you’ll be fine.”
But, if you’re a heavy phone user, look into an external power pack or travel charger.
Overall, the biggest question reviewers raised was pricing. While you won’t find a similar camera in the XA1’s price bracket, there are better screens and higher specs otherwise. Ultimately, the value is there if you’re looking for a solid design or strong photography.
TechRadar summed up overall opinions well, saying, “If you want a slim, diminutive phone that won’t make your wallet weep, but has a good camera, the Sony Xperia XA1 is one of your best options. You can get sharper screens at the price, but the photo hardware is hard to beat.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- LaptopMedia Team, LaptopMedia
It’s no lie that Android OS underwent a complete metamorphosis compared to what it was a few years ago. With the mobile chip development allowing budget 8-core configurations we see extremely stable smartphones at a relatively low price. Mobile photography has also undergone development and So...
- David Price, Tech Advisor
We rate its clean, simple look and the way it feels in the hand, while the array of Smart Lock features and the raw specs and performance of that blockbuster rear-facing camera are impressive.
- Ted Kritsonis, WhatsYourTech
A pretty predictable usability performance, at least from my perspective. The Xperia XA1 isn’t a phone that will impress in every facet, but it does shoot better than other mid-range phones and can be customized more than it appears.
- Florian Wimmer, Notebookcheck
Sony has reworked its Xperia XA1 mid-range smartphone and manages to outrun the competition in terms of camera, power consumption and gaming performance.
- Leigh :) Stark, Pickr
Smartphone buyers look for different things in buying a new phone. For some it’s about cost, while others care mostly about camera quality or battery life. In Sony’s Xperia XA1, you get all of those in a design that aims to be edgeless, allowing you to almost get the feeling of a curved screen by gr...
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sony Xperia XA1 user manual here.
Sony backs up the Xperia XA1 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Xperia XA1 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sony support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sony's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
Manuals / User Guides
- Sony Xperia XA1 Manual (PDF)
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