Hands on: Sony Xperia XA1 review

A basic phone with a lovely screen 'blend'

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

A great-looking phone on the table, and the low specs should equal a palatable, low price

For

  • Nice screen blending into chassis

Against

  • Only 720p display

This is a TechRadar flash hands on review to give you the chance to see what the phone is all about as soon as possible. We'll update the preview if more information becomes available.

The Sony Xperia XA1, apart from having one of the worst names around at MWC 2017, is a mid-range offering from the Japanese brand with some attractive styling.

It takes much of the Sony heritage, and borrows components from previous models to bring some good-looking specs, especially to the camera.

The Sony Xperia XA1 release date and price still haven’t been set, but this 5-inch-screened option is small enough and low-spec enough to assume it’ll be on the lower end of the scale when launched, likely around April / May of this year in select territories (although that’s a lot of educated guesswork on our par from the 'spring' information we were given in relation to the XA1 release date).

It’s an attractive phone to look at, with the screen offering some deep contrast ratios and the smooth back fitting well in the hand. It’s only 720p, but with the octa-core Mediatek processor pumping along with 3GB of RAM alongside it should be kinder on the 2300mAh battery.

The headphone jack and USB Type-C ports feel well positioned, and the whole thing flicks along under the finger pretty well in tests, sitting atop Android 7.0.
The power button protrudes on the side of the phone, in a move that echoes Sony phones from 2014 - there’s not fingerprint scanner, so there’s no need for the flat power button.

The camera is a big upgrade to the smaller phone, with the same 23MP processor from the Z5 series of 2015. It’s a competent sensor, and capable of lighting up in under a second - it’s not ground-breaking, but the for the price it’ll be attractive.

Early verdict

Early verdict
The Sony Xperia XA1 is a phone that won’t be front and centre of a lot of people’s minds when heading out to buy a new phone, but it’ll likely have an attractive price to lure them in once in the shop.

Sony’s got a decent suite of components from yesteryear that still look better on the spec sheet compared to some of the XA1 rivals, but it’ll remain to be seen whether enough performance has been found to make this a must-buy phone at the lower end of the price spectrum.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Global Phones, Tablets and Wearables Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been in charge of phones, tablets and wearables at TechRadar for the best part of a decade. He can instantly recommend the best phone for you, or can be found running around the nearest park with the latest fitness tech strapped to his wrist, head or any other applicable body part.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.