Sony took the wraps off of a slew of new smartphone offerings here at IFA 2017, and while the flagship Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact definitely stole the limelight, the new addition to their mid-range line is definitely deserving of some attention as well. We go hands on and take a quick look at the Sony Xperia XA1 Plus!
Sony launched the Xperia XA1 and Xperia XA1 Ultra back during MWC earlier this year, and as far as specifications and features go, the new Xperia XA1 Plus falls right in the middle of the two. Sony’s signature design returns here, with the XA1 Plus featuring a metal build with rounded corners and a flat top and bottom.
The bezels are impressively thin along the sides of the display, but the top and bottom chin are really thick and feel almost unnecessarily at this point. While Sony may be keeping them in order to maintain its signature design, at a time when the industry as a whole is moving on to higher and higher screen-to-body ratios they look incredibly dated. At the very least, the extra space isn’t entirely a waste and is home to a dual front-facing speaker setup.
As mentioned, the XA1 Plus falls smack in the middle of its older siblings, and that starts with the size. While the XA1 and XA1 Ultra featured 5-inch and 6-inch displays respectively, the XA1 Plus comes with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with a Full HD resolution. As was the case with the other two, this display also hits 100% of the sRGB color gamut.
Like the other two devices in the series, the XA1 Plus is also powered by a Mediatek Helio P20 processor, and comes with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of built-in storage that is further expandable via microSD card up to an additional 256 GB. As has always been the case with Sony’s smartphones, the US version of the XA1 Plus will not feature a fingerprint scanner, but it will be available in the European edition of the phone. You do get to take advantage of an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance however.
Things also remain identical in the camera department, with the XA1 Plus featuring a 23 MP rear shooter with a f/2.0 aperture. Up front is an 8 MP shooter though, which is better than what was available with the XA1, but not as good as the one found with the XA1 Ultra. Given that the main camera is the same, the camera performance of the XA1 Plus should impress the same way the others did, but we’ll definitely need to test it more before drawing any conclusions.
The one department that has received a much needed boost is in the battery, with the XA1 Plus packing in a battery that is larger than both of its siblings with its 3,430 mAh unit. With Qnovo Adaptive Charging and the Pump Express 2.0 fast charging technology on-board, you shouldn’t have a lot of trouble getting that large battery back to a full charge either.
On the software side of things, the Xperia XA1 Plus is running Android 7.1.2 Nougat, with Sony’s minimalistic UI on top. Sony has always done a great job of keeping the software experience as close to and as fast as stock Android, while still being aesthetically different enough to be its own thing. And of course, you do get Sony’s own set of apps on-board that help further enhance the experience.
So, there you have it for this quick hands on with the Sony Xperia XA1 Plus! While there are minor differences between the three smartphones in the XA1 series, what it essentially boils down to is your size preference. If you found the 5-inch XA1 to be too small and the 6-inch XA1 Ultra to be too big, the middle of the ground XA1 Plus may be the one that is best suited for you.