Sony Xperia XA1. Full test, analysis, opinions and price

test sony xperia xa1 cover

Sony announced at MWC 2017 the launch of two new terminals aimed at the mid-range. The Sony Xperia XA1 and the Xperia XA1 Ultra, two updates to the Sony Xperia XA that came out last year, were presented in society. Today we are going to talk about the Xperia XA1. A terminal that, for less than 300 euros, seeks to conquer users with its design and camera . And it is that it offers a 23 megapixel sensor with all the company's technology. To this we have to add good performance and the Android 7 operating system. However, all that glitters is not gold, and the Xperia XA1 also has things to improve. We have had the opportunity to try it for a few days and we will tell you what we think.

The Japanese company prints a very characteristic style to its mobiles. We could say that it is not influenced by fashions. And that makes Sony mobiles easily recognizable. Although they may like them more or less, they are different from the others. The Xperia XA1 maintains this philosophy, offering a mid-range with some touches that differentiate it from other terminals with the same price .

Sony Xperia XA1 datasheet

screen5-inch, HD 720p resolution, Image Enhancement Technology
Main chamber23 MP, 1 / 2.3-inch sensor, Hybrid autofocus, ISO 6400, f / 2.0, 23 mm wide angle
Camera for selfies8 MP, 1/4 inch sensor, up to ISO 3200, f / 2.0, 23mm wide angle lens
Internal memory32 GB
ExtensionmicroSD up to 256GB
Processor and RAMEight-core MediaTek Helio P20 (4 x 2.3 GHz and 4 x 1.6 GHz), 3 GB RAM
Battery2,300 mAh, Qnovo Adaptive Charge, Fast Charge (MediaTek PumpExpress 2.0), Stamina Mode
Operating systemAndroid 7 Nougat
ConnectionsBT 4.2, A-GNSS, USB-C, NFC, WiFi Miracast
DesignMetal, colors: white, black, gold and pink
Dimensions145 í— 67 í— 8 mm (143 grams)
Featured FeaturesxLOUD, Clear Audio +
Release dateAvailable
Price300 euros (official price)

Made in Sony design

As we said, Sony designs its mobiles with a very particular style. And the Xperia XA1 follows the same line. But beware, this is not a bad thing. The mobiles of the Japanese company have many followers and are very popular with most users. And it's no wonder looking at the Sony Xperia XA1. This year they have left behind the use of plastic to use a completely metallic body . The touch is very soft and it is really comfortable in the hand, thanks to its rounded edges. Mind you, it is a bit slippery.

test sony xperia xa1 rear

Regarding the shape of the mobile, we have a square design with very marked vertices . They are not uncomfortable because they have been rounded, but it is an unusual design on the market. The screen is framed on the front with very thin bezels on the sides. However, as is usual for Sony, the lower and upper frames are very wide.

In the upper frame we only have the front camera, the notification LED and the different sensors. In the lower frame there is nothing. Both sides have two grilles that we might think are for the speakers, but they are not. They must be vents , because the speaker is located at the bottom.

The device control buttons are located on the sides. On the right side we have the volume button, the power button and the camera shutter. On the left side we have a tray for the SIM and the microSD card. A tray that does not need a tool to remove it , it can be done by hand.

Sony Xperia XA1 design gallery

In short, the Sony Xperia XA1 is a beautiful mobile made with quality materials. However, it lacks two essentials today. For one thing, the Xperia XA1 is not IP68 certified . Despite the fact that Sony was one of the first companies to bet on water resistance, this model has been left out.

On the other hand, the Xperia XA1 does not have a fingerprint reader . A decision that we do not understand. Virtually any mid-range and even low-end terminal incorporates it. It is a detail that reduces security and comfort.

Screen for improvement

test sony xperia xa1 screen detail

To be honest, the screen has let us down. It would not be fair to say that it looks bad, far from it, but we expected something more. Sony usually includes very interesting screens, and the Xperia XA1 is not. First, because they have settled for a 720p resolution , when almost all manufacturers currently opt for Full HD.

Second, it doesn't include some of Sony's technologies that could improve the experience. For example, it does not have X-Reality technology. We do find two ways to upload the image quality in video and photos, just like we saw in its predecessor.

Performance and user experience

Sony has decided to keep the MediaTek processor in the Sony Xperia XA1. Only this year we have a more powerful version. Specifically, it is the MediaTek Helio P20 , an evolution of the Helio P10 that we saw in its predecessor. This chip has eight cores, four cores at 2.3 GHz and four cores at 1.6 GHz. A processor that we did not trust too much at the beginning, but that has shown us that it performs perfectly.

test sony xperia xa1 test power

The result in the AnTuTu test is 59,195 points . This places it slightly below, for example, the Moto G5 Plus. However, it scores better than the Samsung Galaxy A3 2017.

To achieve this more than acceptable performance, the 3 GB of RAM that it includes will surely help . For storage we have 32 GB internal. A capacity that we can expand using a microSD card of up to 256 GB.

Beyond the data, we can say that the terminal has performed perfectly in its real use . We have been using it for 15 days as the main terminal and at no time has it caused problems. It has been used with social networks, navigation, YouTube, music playback and even some sporadic game. We have run games like Super Mario Run or Crazy Taxi smoothly. In reality, it has maintained optimal performance at all times, even with several apps open at the same time.

The camera, your best asset

So far we have verified that the Sony Xperia XA1 offers very similar features to other similarly priced mobiles. However, Sony plays with two tricks. The first is its design, which we have already talked about. The second, his photographic set. The company usually includes very powerful sensors in its terminals . Also on the cheapest mobiles.

test sony xperia xa1 camera

In the case of the Sony Xperia XA1 we have a main chamber with Exmor RS mobile sensor 1 / 2.3 inch and 23 megapixels . This sensor has an f / 2.0 aperture and a 23-millimeter wide-angle lens. We also have a hybrid autofocus system and a maximum ISO of 3200.

As for the front camera, it has a 1/4-inch 8-megapixel Exmor RS sensor for mobile phones. The lens is a 23-millimeter wide-angle with f / 2.0 aperture . The maximum ISO is also fixed at 3200.

And now that we know its technical data, how does the Xperia XA1 camera work? Well, it has good things and bad things. On the one hand, the quality of the photographs is very good. However, the approach is somewhat slower than that of other mobiles . This will lead to some blurry photography when we want to shoot fast. Focusing by tapping on the screen also sometimes fails, resulting in fairly blurry or poor quality photos. Here you can see some examples.

Gallery photos taken with Sony Xperia XA1

The Sony Xperia XA1 camera application is quite complete. It offers the possibility of shooting in fully automatic mode, but also in manual mode . In the latter we can vary some parameters, such as white balance, focus, speed and even ISO.

test sony xperia xa1 manual camera

In both modes the mobile will indicate in the lower left the type of scene it has detected . Something quite useful to know what type of photography is going to take. He will also give us little tips so that the shot comes out correctly, such as staying still or even using a tripod.

test sony xperia xa1 scene type camera

There is no shortage of creative or special effects modes that often come with Sony phones. The most striking are the AR effects, which place elements on the screen through augmented reality. Of course very colorful and entertaining.

test sony xperia xa1 camera effect ar

Something that we really liked is that the Sony Xperia XA1 camera is capable of recording video in HDR . So we can get more realistic and striking images and then view them on a compatible television.

Android 7 and Sony apps

The Sony Xperia XA1 comes with Android 7.0 Nougat as standard . As is usual, the company has installed its own customization layer on this system. However, it is fair to say that this has been considerably lightened from what we saw in the Sony Xperia XA last year.

This does not mean that it is bloatware free, because we still have some applications installed by default. For example, we still have What's New, AVG Protection, Movie Creator, or Sketch. Still, Sony has done a good job reducing these types of applications that, generally, we will not use.

test sony xperia xa1 bloatware

What we do have are some characteristics of the Sony layer. The system that Sony uses to share files between apps is very interesting . By clicking on Share, at the top we will have the icons of the most common contacts. For example, we will see the icon of the WhatsApp groups or contacts that we use the most, Twitter, Telegram or any other social app. Below will be the icons of the applications.

The integration system between apps that we saw last year is also maintained . That is, from the album, Music and Video applications we can do much more than just see what we have stored on the mobile. For example, in the album application we will see the photos of the mobile, but also those of Facebook, Picasa or Flickr.

Autonomy and connectivity

test sony xperia xa1 usb connector

If you have looked at the technical sheet, surely the battery has caught your attention. The Sony Xperia XA1 has a 2,300 milliamp battery . The first thing we can think of when we see this data is "I'm not going to arrive even at night. However, the Sony Xperia XA1 holds up perfectly all day. Even with intensive use the terminal has performed at a good level.

The Xperia XA1 features Qnovo Adaptive Charging, which monitors battery status and adjusts charging currents to maximize the life of the Xperia. It also incorporates the MediaTek PumpExpress 2.0 fast charging system .

test sony xperia xa1 battery test

But what can really save us from a hurry is Stamina Mode , a classic of Sony terminals. This mode is activated automatically when the battery reaches 15% (can be configured). When activated, it will give us half an hour more autonomy than in normal mode. And if things get very difficult, we can activate the Ultra Stamina Mode.

In terms of connectivity, we have the usual today. The Sony Xperia XA1 has Bluetooth 4.2, GPS + GLONASS, WiFi Miracast, Google Cast, NFC and USB Type-C.


The Sony Xperia XA1 competes in a very complex market. The mid-range is full of devices with good design and very interesting technical characteristics. However, Sony has its own weapons. The first is design. As we have commented, it may not like everyone, but the Xperia XA1 is a nice mobile, with a good construction .

The second thing is your camera. Although it has lights and shadows, few moving less than 300 euros find on the market with a 23 megapixel camera . It is true that it can improve in some aspects, but its overall quality is quite high.

test sony xperia xa1 final

Just as it has two strengths, it also has two 'almost unforgivable' flaws . The first is the display, on which Sony has been too conservative. And the second is not to incorporate a fingerprint reader. If we are used to this type of identification we will miss it very much. Having IP68 certification is a plus that would place it ahead of any of its rivals, but not having it does not detract from the product.

In short, a very interesting mobile for anyone looking for a well-built smartphone with an above-average camera. The Sony Xperia XA1 is already available in the market with an official price of 300 euros . However, the main online stores sell it for 260 euros.