Sony’s well-priced selfie snapping mid-ranger
AMID the slew of fancy flagship smartphones that have made their debut in recent weeks, some deserving but under-hyped devices have slipped on to the local market largely under the radar. One of them is the Sony’s Xperia XA2 Ultra, a mid-range phone with selfie-snapping superpowers to rival handsets twice its price.
I got the chance to spend a couple of weeks with this phone recently and returned it to the manufacturer a lot more impressed than I expected to be.
Make no mistake, this Sony’s a handful, but then you’d expect that given the word “Ultra” in its name.
The 6-inch full HD 1080p screen, while not up to the retina-searing standards of ultra-hd displays from the likes of Samsung, is plenty clear and bright enough for playing games and watching videos.
The prominent forehead and chin give it a decidedly dated look in this era of shrunken bezels, but I found them rather handy for holding the device while using it in landscape mode without obscuring the screen with your fingers and thumb.
A big, bright screen can drain a phone’s battery faster than a credit card balance on Black Friday, but I was pleasantly surprised with the XA2 Ultra’s staying power. It easily lasted a full day and well into the night under pretty hard use, thanks to the 3580mah battery. While there’s no wireless charging, the phone supports fast charging, but you’ll need to buy the quick charger separately, which is a bit of a disappointment. Middling specs
The Snapdragon 630 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage hardly scream specs appeal, but they’re what you’d expect in a mid-range phone.
The XA2 Ultra comes with the most recent commonly available version of Google’s Android operating system, 8.0 Oreo. Sony was a pioneer in bringing water resistance to smartphones, so it’s a pity this feature is missing from this Xperia.
On the plus side, they’ve retained the headphone jack and dedicated camera shutter button. Speaking of the camera…
Sony’s positioning the XA2 Ultra as a selfie superstar and I’m happy to report that’s no exaggeration.
It’s built two sensors into the Ultra’s front-facing camera.
The first is a conventional 16-megapixel sensor with an
LED flash and optical image stabilisation to smooth out camera shake.
The second 8-megapixel sensor offers a wide-angle, 120-degree field of view, perfect for group selfies – I refuse to say “groufie”.the 23MP rear snapper is no slouch either and produced nicely detailed, richly coloured images in good lighting conditions.
Low-light snaps weren’t as impressive, alas, but better than most phone-mounted cameras at this price point. Verdict
When the Sony Xperia XA2 first landed in South African stores a couple of months back it came with a price tag of R8000 – a bit steep, I remember thinking at the time.
Happily, that’s since dropped to around R6200 which makes it an altogether more attractive prospect for anyone looking for a good value, mid-range smartphone.
And if selfies float your social media boat, you’ll battle to find a better phone at any price.