Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review UAE review

A big screen, mid-range smartphone with great battery life

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Our Verdict

Big, spacious display with a stellar battery life and a price tag that's around half of that of flagship phones makes the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra top buy for those after an affordable phablet.

For

  • Excellent battery life
  • Big screen great for video & gaming
  • Dual front cameras

Against

  • Camera poor inside & in low light
  • Boxy design is tired and bulky
  • Slow camera app

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is a selfie behemoth with a big display and dual front facing cameras. The phone is targeted towards an audience that is keen on consuming entertainment on the go and snapping pics for social sharing.

If your budget can't stretch to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or Huawei Mate 10 Pro, then the Xperia XA2 Ultra may very well be the phone you need.

It inherits Sony's now tiring design, but the edge-to-edge display, which we first saw on the original Sony Xperia XA, attempts to keep the look up to date with the current vogue for bezel-free smartphones – although the effort is undermined somewhat by the chunky bezels at the top and bottom of the screen.

The XA2 Ultra arrives alongside it’s smaller and easier to hold sibling, the Xperia XA2, which comes with all the bells and whistles as the Ultra except for the massive screen, dual front cameras and the larger battery.

Price and availability

  • Launch price: AED 1,549 / SAR 1,499
  • Release date: February 2018
Xperia XA2 Ultra specs

Weight: 221g
Dimensions: 163 x 80 x 9.5mm
OS: Android 8
Screen size: 6 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 1920
CPU: Snapdragon 630
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 3,580mAh
Rear camera: 23MP
Front camera: 16MP + 8MP

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra price is AED 1,549 (SAR 1,499) at launch, pitching it below the likes of the Samsung Galaxy A8+ and Honor 9, which is fair considering that its spec sheet isn't as strong at those of the two more flagship-focused devices.

We feel that the phone is priced reasonably for what it offers: a super sized screen with snappy performance and a solid battery life which hasn’t been the case for most Xperia phones in the past. 

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is available at most major retail and online stores in the UAE and KSA with free shipping options and installment plans.  

A big screen and a big battery - is that enough to make the XA2 Ultra a winner?

A big screen and a big battery - is that enough to make the XA2 Ultra a winner?

Design

  • Boxy, bulky design feels a little tired
  • Rear fingerprint scanner can be temperamental

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra looks unmistakably like an Xperia phone with a familiar symmetrical design and wide bezels. The front is covered in glass that curves smoothly around the edges and the top and bottom are rounded with sharp, and we mean sharp, edges. A lightly textured metal frame runs along the sides giving the handset an overall solid feel but the plastic back takes away from the premium aura of the device. 

This is a massive handset that measures 163 x 80 x 9.5mm and weighs about 221g. The device has quite a bit of heft to it and can be tricky to handle for users with smaller hands or for those who prefer one-handed operation. 

It feels fantastic to hold but the finish and weight give it little grip. We had some issues with unwanted touch input from the edge of our palm hitting the screen when scrolling or adjusting the phone and found a two-handed operation to be much more comfortable.

The fingerprint scanner is placed in a convenient spot on the back of the phone just where your index finger would naturally land. It works like a charm for both left and right handed users and we like it more that the previous Xperia phones that had a side-mounted scanner on the power button.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra hands on gallery

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The phone unlocks pretty quickly and rarely failed to recognize our fingerprints. It can get overly sensitive at times though, resulting in unwanted in-pocket scans, but these cases were very far and few.

Old-school headphone users will be delighted to find a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. The lack of stereo speakers and water/dust protection is a disappointing but on the upside there is a USB Type-C port on the bottom right next to a single downward-firing speaker and a dual-SIM tray plus microSD slot on the left side. 

The volume rocker and power/lock button are placed on the right side with the usual dedicated two-stage camera shutter button that we’ve come to expect from Sony on the right edge. The power button is convenient to press but the volume rocker can be a challenge to get to with the right thumb when holding the phone upright and requires some shuffling in the palm. 

Overall, Sony’s angular rectangle design looks sleek and premium but the large bezels are an inefficient use of space and the design feels outdated in the current landscape of phones that have smaller and smaller bezels with each iteration, more curvature and slimmer builds.

The design isn't anything new, but its solid and functional

The design isn't anything new, but its solid and functional

Display

  • Large 6-inch, Full HD display is great for movies and games

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra has a wide and spacious display that sits in an edge-to-edge design. The screen measures 6 inches and packs in a Full HD 1080p resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio. 

There’s nothing particularly special about the screen’s specs. The display is an IPS LCD that feels a bit undersaturated at first glance with a blue-ish tint and the color accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. 

The color balance can be easily tweaked with a quick trip to the Display Settings where you’ll find two modes, Standard and Super-Vivid. Both modes help boost color saturation and temperature making the screen feel much more vibrant and pleasing to the eye. In our experience the Standard mode struck the perfect balance between color tones, resulting in a much more pleasant viewing experience.

The 6-inch, LCD IPS display is bright and clear

The 6-inch, LCD IPS display is bright and clear

Despite the relaxed color tones, there is a ton to like here. The display feels super detailed and sharp making it perfect for a Netflix binge or a prolonged gaming session. It is surprisingly bright and easy to view under direct sunlight and the aspect ratio is perfect for consuming TV content.  

Videos look incredible and immersive on the edge-to-edge display. The large bezels on the top and bottom feel a bit dated but the extra space is super handy to rest thumbs on and make for a better viewing experience in landscape orientation.