- Analysis by KJ David
The highest-specked model (out of three) to come out of Sony during CES 2018, the Xperia XA2 Ultra caters to phablet buyers looking for flagship-caliber mobile photography. Regrettably, though, a few off-putting cons prevent it from being a thoroughly-premium smartphone.
Despite extending the plain XA2's 5.2-inch screen to a full 6 inches, it sticks to a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution only , which is obviously sub-par compared to the QHD (1440p) interfaces boasted by some of the top-ranking wide-screen phones on the market. Its portability could also be problematic, seeing that is sounds like a heavyweight at 221 grams , whereas the average smartphone only weighed around 145 grams as we were reviewing its technical pros and cons. Note, however, that a lot of competing upscale phablets suffer from cumbersome physiques as well. After all, misery loves company.
Jumping over to its less-miserable specs, the XA2 Ultra is one of the earliest Sony phones to join the dual selfie camera movement, rocking a 16-megapixel OIS-rigged (optical image stabilization) camera alongside an 8-megapixel 120-degree-angle sidekick camera up front. Moreover, its forenamed dual front camera comes with features like SteadyShot and a front-firing LED flash. Not to be outdone by its front-facing cam, which makes it a solid contender for our top selfie smartphones list, the Xperia XA2 Ultra's rear cam is a high-resolution 23-megapixel shooter capable of recording 4K-2160p (aka Ultra HD) videos . This means that it has decent chances of joining the best photography phones as well.
Under the hood, this Ultra edition packs an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor running at 2.2GHz alongside 4GB of RAM , the latter being a slight upgrade over its XA2 little brother's 3GB capacity. With 8GB-RAM smartphones starting to take off (as of this write-up), though, it does not sound like that big of a pro. As for endurance, although its 3580mAh battery capacity does not reach our 4000mAh sweet spot for flagship devices, features like Sony's Qnovo Adaptive Charging technology , which aims to prevent battery decline, make it sound tolerable.
Joining the pros and cons mentioned above are signature Sony audio technologies like SmartAmp and Clear Audio+. It also comes with a 256GB microSD card slot that tries to make up for its lackluster 64GB maximum native storage -- some full-fledged premium phones have 128GB and even 256GB storage memories.
All said, the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra passes up on a premium display and hardware to deliver a couple of top-end cameras, which makes it fit for fledgling digital photographers who don't mind some trade-offs here and there.
** This phone is also known as: Sony XA2 Ultra
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