This year Sony has thrown down the middle street. On the one hand, they have launched the Sony Xperia XZ2, a terminal that reduces frames and is closer to current design standards. But, on the other hand, at the beginning of years they presented the Sony Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra, two mobiles that maintain the square design and with large frames so characteristic of the manufacturer . A very risky bet, in a year in which the screens without frames and the most compact terminals seem to dominate.
What could have gone through Sony's head to think that a more classic design could triumph in 2018? We wanted to find out by thoroughly testing the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra, the largest model in the range . A terminal with a 6-inch screen, powerful processor, great autonomy and a double camera for selfies that promises to attract lovers of selfies. I'll tell you what I think after trying it for a few days.
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra datasheet
|screen||6 inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels FHD|
|Main chamber||23 MP, 1 / 2.3 ″ Exmor RS sensor, Hybrid autofocus, ISO 12800, 84 ° f / 2.0 wide angle lens, 4K video recording, Slow motion video recording (120 FPS)|
|Camera for selfies||Double front camera:|
16 MP sensor, optical stabilizer, f / 2.0, ISO 6400
8 MP sensor, 120 ° super wide angle, f / 2.4, ISO 3200
|Internal memory||32 GB eMMC|
|Extension||microSDXC up to 256GB|
|Processor and RAM||Qualcomm Snapdragon 630|
|Battery||3,580 mAh, Quick Charge 3.0 fast charge, Qnovo Adaptive Charging|
|Operating system||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Connections||BT 5.0, NFC, USB Type-C, GPS, WiFi|
|Design||Metal frames and plastic back, Colors: silver, black, blue and gold|
|Dimensions||163 x 80 x 9.5mm, 221 grams|
|Featured Features||Fingerprint reader, FM Radio|
A terminal not suitable for all hands
Although it may seem reckless to keep a classic design in 2018, there are many followers of the characteristic design that Sony smartphones have . I personally have always liked them a lot, they are different mobiles from the others.
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra follows those design guidelines almost to the letter. We cannot say that it is identical to the Xperia XA1 Ultra, but it is very similar. The rectangular design is maintained , with a completely flat back and screen . The curves are reserved for the metallic market that joins both parts and the edges of the terminal.
Something that has surprised me, and not for the better, is that, despite being a mobile with a unibody structure, its back cover is made of plastic . Of course, it is a high quality plastic and that most of the time it could pass for metal.
The back sports a clean design, only broken by the main camera and the fingerprint reader. The camera is quite well integrated, although it has a silver frame that makes it stand out slightly . The fingerprint sensor also has this frame, although it is better integrated. I have not had any problems with the use of the sensor, always identifying quickly and accurately.
On the right side (looking at the terminal from the front) we have the power button, the volume button and the so characteristic photography button . Sony continues to bet on this button dedicated to taking photos, which is appreciated.
On the opposite side we only have the tray for the SIM and the microSD. Taking advantage of the size of the terminal, Sony has decided to place an easily accessible tray . It can be removed with your finger perfectly, without the need to resort to extraction tools.
Ahead the design of other years is maintained. We have a screen that reaches to the side edges, but with some important frames . These have been reduced compared to last year, but are still quite striking.
The upper frame measures 1.5 centimeters and integrates the double camera for selfies. The bottom frame 1.1 centimeters and does not include anything, not even the navigation buttons.
Size comparison with Huawei P20 Pro (6.1-inch screen)
Leaving aside its classic design, this is a large terminal. Very big and thick . Impossible to operate with one hand for the vast majority of people.
The dimensions of the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra are 163 x 80 x 9.5 millimeters . In addition, it is a very heavy terminal, with no less than 221 grams . And this is noticeable as soon as you pick it up for the first time.
Ideal screen to consume multimedia content
The large size of the terminal is due, in part, to its screen. It has a 6-inch panel with Full HD resolution and image enhancement technology.
Although this resolution is already somewhat low for the general use of the terminal, the truth is that to consume multimedia content it is a good screen .
It has a very high maximum brightness level, although the automatic brightness system does not work particularly well . In some situations of rapid lighting changes it does not adapt and we end up manually raising it.
Enter the options that the screen offers us, we have the possibility of adjusting the range of colors and contrast . The terminal gives us two options: standard mode and super vivid mode. Or directly disable it. The change is quite significant, improving image quality in photos and videos. The one that I liked the most is the Standard mode, since deactivated it shows very flat colors; while the super vivid mode are excessively saturated.
We can also modify the white balance to adjust it to our liking. There is no lack of other more common settings, such as the size of the font or the icons.
Another feature that makes the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra ideal for playing multimedia is that the screen has a 16: 9 format . That is, the content will be reproduced as it should, without black stripes on the sides and without having to decide whether or not we want to take advantage of the entire screen.
In search of the best selfies
One of the great novelties of the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is its front camera. In fact, it is one of the main characteristics that differentiates the large model from the Xperia XA2 .
It has a double camera system on its front . This is formed by a 16-megapixel sensor and f / 2.0 aperture , plus another 8-megapixel sensor with f / 2.4 aperture .
However, the second sensor is not designed to achieve the famous bokeh effect, as we see in most terminals. They are two sensors that work separately . In the camera application we will have a dedicated button to switch between one and the other.
Selfie with 16 MP sensor
Same photo with 8 MP wide-angle sensor
The 16 megapixel sensor covers 88 degrees of angle, more or less the usual in a front camera. Although yes, it has an optical image stabilizer , something that is appreciated in shots with less light. The 8-megapixel one, however, is a wide angle that spans up to 120 degrees . That is, it is a sensor dedicated to group selfies photos.
In addition to the two sensors, we also have an LED flash on the front .
In general, the selfies taken with either of the two front cameras are quite decent. The wide angle lens offers a greater angle of view, but distorts the image at the edges .
The truth is that we have lights and shadows on the front camera of the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra . Some photos have a lot of detail, they are sharp, with very correct colors and of great quality. Others, however, show excessive softening and unnatural colors. Interestingly, we have obtained better results indoors than on the street.
By the way, the 16 megapixel sensor is set by default at 12 megapixels with 4: 3 format . If we want to use 16 MP we will have to change it in the camera settings, going to a 16: 9 format.
Higher megapixels is not always better
We now move on to comment on the performance of the main camera. We have a 23 megapixel sensor with f / 2.0 aperture and a maximum ISO of 12800 .
With good lighting, especially natural lighting, the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra achieves fairly high-quality images . They are sharp images, with a high level of detail and natural colors.
Image processing has been much improved over previous models , now being able to handle complicated objects such as hair or grass. However, he still has a way to go.
In some images, a clear loss of definition is still observed towards the extreme edges . In addition, it has a very limited dynamic range, which makes us lose definition when enlarging the images.
To solve the latter we can activate the HDR mode , which, honestly, is quite good. By placing the camera in manual mode and activating HDR by default, higher quality photos can be obtained.
These problems get worse when we lose light and the terminal is forced to raise the ISO. The main camera does not have stabilization, which causes us to lose definition in night shots . Plus, grain makes an appearance in low-light shots.
The focus system and the camera application of the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra also contribute to this. The focus, both automatic and manual, is somewhat slow . This has caused many photos to be blurred. Or they just didn't come out, because the moment had passed.
Even the application takes a bit of time to start up. By pressing the power button twice we can launch the camera application quickly, but it will take about three seconds to be available to take the photo .
An application that maintains the same design and options from other years. In addition to the commented Automatic and Manual modes, it has applications designed to enjoy augmented reality .
As for video, the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is capable of recording with FHD resolution at 30 fps and 60 fps . If we record at 30 fps we can also record with HDR activated . This possibility is not available at 60 fps.
We can also record with 4K resolution, although, curiously, this resolution is not included in the video settings. It has its own separate mode, called " 4K Video ". When entering it, a message pops up that warns us that the device's temperature may increase using this application.
Photo gallery taken with the Xperia XA2 Ultra
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor . Along with this chip we find 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage . The latter can be expanded using a microSDXC card of up to 256 GB .
In the performance tests he gets a pretty decent score. His behavior during the test has been good , with a correct response in low load tasks. Also in games and multitasking it has had a good response, without performance drops.
Of course, as the terminal itself warns, when we are a while with a heavy application it gets quite hot . It is not something annoying, but it is striking.
Only in very extreme conditions , such as running applications like photo editors, games, music and more simultaneously, have I noticed a drop in performance. However, they are tests that are done to put the mobile to the limit, but not that we are going to do in our day to day.
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra has a 3,580 milliamp battery . It's a good capacity, but it's not out of the ordinary. Taking into account the thickness and weight of the terminal, they could have included a much larger battery.
However, the autonomy of the mobile is really good . With regular use (social media, browsing, some music and a bit of sporadic gaming) you've reached the end of the day with 30% battery still available. Even more on the days that, for whatever reason, I have touched my mobile less.
In the AnTuTu test he achieves an incredible 14,418 points . Thus it surpasses the vast majority of mid-range terminals, not being far from the Motorola Moto E4 Plus, a mobile with 5,000 mAh.
In addition to its great autonomy, the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra has a Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging system . And there is no shortage of the usual Sony Stamina modes for energy saving.
Operating system not very loaded with apps
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra comes with Android 8.0 Oreo as standard . This is accompanied by the manufacturer's customization layer. This adds some extra functions, but in general it is quite respectful with the original Android system.
Also, the terminal comes with little bloatware . Leaving aside some applications that almost all of us would install, such as those from Google or Instagram, we have the usual ones from Sony: Lounge, Playstation, AVG or Movie Creator. Also those dedicated to augmented reality, such as AR Effect.
Conclusions and price
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra has left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. It has very good things and others in which it produces more doubts .
That Sony maintains its characteristic design cannot be defined as a weakness. It is a design that, as I said at the beginning, has its followers. But personally I think the size of the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is exaggerated and it could have been improved simply by reducing the bottom frame, which has no function.
The performance of the terminal, without standing out, is more than correct. It has only suffered when I have tickled it, something that we will not need in normal use. Its 4 GB of RAM is noticeable in multitasking, with which it has no problem. This good performance is complemented by a great autonomy, one of its strengths .
The photographic section is, perhaps, the weakest in the terminal . Not that the cameras are bad, far from it, but they do have some major flaws. The focus system is very slow and the camera is not stabilized, which causes many shots to be out of focus.
Even the double front camera has given us disparate results . Some shots are of really good quality and some are not so good. Perhaps it would have been better to combine the use of the two sensors instead of offering a greater angle.
And we end this analysis with the price, another important handicap for this mobile to succeed. The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is priced at 430 euros . It is a price that is halfway between the mid-range that comes from China and the top terminals.