The "1-Minute" Review
- No fast charger included
- Phone prone to smudges and scratches
- Hit-or-miss low-light camera performance
- Camera slow to launch
- Lots of pre-installed apps
Sony has created a niche following with their unique aesthetic and solid build quality. But their previous mid-tier entries weren’t particularly impressive. With the XA2, Sony is releasing a phone that can compete -- at least on paper -- in the competitive mid-tier market.
The phone features the standard chunky Sony design, with a thicker body and crisp lines. However, it’s not the boxy affair of previous models. The metal frame includes rounded edges and the subtle curve of the plastic back pleased most reviewers.
Both the metal and plastic are prone to scratches and fingerprints. So, if you prefer to keep a spotless phone, you’ll want to tack the cost of a case on to the purchasing price.
The phone also includes both a rear fingerprint scanner and a 3.5mm headphone jack but does not sport any water or dust resistance ratings.
Around front, you’ll find a 5.2-inch 1080p LCD panel. In its standard configuration, reviewers found colors dull. However, diving into the settings, most found options for tweaking it to their liking. Many noted blue tones to the white areas of the screen. But the screen is plenty bright for outdoor use and crisp enough for both media consumption and reading books, websites, or emails.
Performance was also a high point for the phone. While the 2.2Ghz Snapdragon 630 processor won’t compete with flagships, apps were quick to load. The phone handled games with little stutter or frame drops. However, some reviewers noted the phone felt a bit warm in the hand when pushing the phone to its limits.
Shipping with Android 8.0 Oreo, Sony kept interface changes to a minimum. Unfortunately, they piled on the pre-installed apps. Reviewers found most apps decent alternatives to the stock Android options. However, the AVG app’s persistent notifications annoyed many.
Fortunately, you’ll find 32GB of internal storage to help offset Sony’s choices. Should you need more space, microSD support for cards up to 256GB makes it simple and affordable to expand.
Sony crammed one of their own 23MP sensors in for the rear camera. While it won’t keep up with most flagships or standalone cameras, reviewers were generally pleased with the photography experience. In good lighting, the phone captures excellent color and detail. Low-light performance is hit-or-miss -- however, that isn’t a surprise at this price point.
There’s also an 8MP front-facing wide-angle lens for selfies and video chat. Some reviewers noted issues with distortion when taking close-up shots. Others mentioned that there are solo and group settings on the front camera designed to help with this.
The biggest issue most reviewers faced loading times. Once loaded, the camera is snappy and responsive. Yet, the app often took 2 to 3 seconds to load. If you’re trying to capture that perfect moment, a delay of that length could spell trouble.
With a 3300mAh battery tucked in its chubby frame, the phone has no problem lasting through a day of typical use. While the phone uses USB Type-C charging and supports Quick Charge 3.0, the phone does not include a fast charger in the box. So, unless you’re looking to tack on another expense for a separate charger, expect top-offs to take a few hours.
Overall, reviewers found the phone a decent deal and a solid performer. TrustedReviews notes, “This is a perfectly solid, ‘nice’ phone we’ve enjoyed using.” Alphr heaped on the praise, saying, “It’s a nippy, smart-looking phone and, unusually for a mid-range Sony device, entirely reasonably priced.”
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