The year 2018 will bring many innovations from Sony Mobile. At first glance, the Sony Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra presented at CES 2018 look like the typical mid-range smartphone offerings of recent years, but there have been some pioneering design changes. We've gathered all the details about the Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra for you here, including pricing, design, technical specs and more.
Actually, Sony Mobile's rethinking began last year, but very few people caught on. For the first time, Sony kept an image sensor exclusively for its own smartphones, and the Japanese company massively accelerated software update cycles. In 2018, it is highly likely that the design, which looks old-fashioned and outdated to many, will be addressed and refreshed. With the Xperia XA2 now introduced alongside its larger offshoot, the Xperia XA2 Ultra, the changes are still minimal, but indeed there.
Design: Not quite the same old look
At first glance, the 5.2-inch Xperia XA2 and the 6-inch XA2 Ultra look similar to the previous year's models. But the 2018 models now feature a fingerprint sensor. However, it is not found on the side of the frame as is typical of Sony, but instead in the middle of the back side. Also new is the positioning of the main camera, now centered instead of in the upper left corner.
Cameras to finally record 4K videos
The main cameras on the two new Sony smartphones are probably identical and can take photos with a maximum of 23 MP. While last year's XA1 series was only able to record videos with Full HD, the 2018 models finally feature 4K video recording. Both of them, like the Xperia XZ1 and XZ Premium, will probably be able to store 4K videos in the popular h.264 codec or in the more space-saving h.265 codec. Another new feature is that slow-motion recording at up to 120 frames per second is now possible with the XA2 and XA2 Ultra.
Selfie fans are spoilt for choice. If it is enough for you to capture selfies with 8 MP, then the XA2 is sufficient. But, if you want a dual front camera with 8 MP and 16 MP plus an optical image stabilizer, then the XA2 Ultra would be the right choice. Unfortunately, Sony could not tell us yet whether it is possible to record 4K videos with the dual front camera. As soon as we receive this information, or have been able to review the smartphone, we will of course pass it on.
Technical specs: A change in processor manufacturer promises more power
In our Xperia XA1 review, the biggest criticism was the performance of the smartphone. The main cause was the Helio P20 from MediaTek. Sony Mobile has accepted the criticism and is now using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 630 in both XA2 models. The smaller XA2 has 3 GB of RAM, while the XA2 Ultra has 4 GB of RAM. Sony is now finally giving the XA2 a display with Full-HD resolution.
Sony has given the appropriate battery capacities, because instead of the 2,300 and 2,700 mAh as with the XA1 and XA1 Ultra, the XA2 and XA2 Ultra now have 3,300 and 3,580 mAh respectively. As both are shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo, these two Sony smartphones have the potential to be a long-distance runner in the mid-range. Project Treble is also on board thanks to the latest software.
Price and availability
The fingerprint sensor, better processor, significantly more battery capacity and other hardware updates unfortunately also ensure that the price of the XA2 and XA2 Ultra over the previous models has increased. Though we don't yet have US price and release information, Sony indicates that the Xperia XA2 will be available in Europe for €349 and the XA2 Ultra for €449 from February. That would be a price jump of €70 each. Whether this is justified, we will still have to find out in a future review of the two smartphones. Until then, let's all discuss these new devices in the comments.