It's by no means a disaster, but the confused Xperia XA is proof that Sony has lost its way.
Desirable design, great price, NFC
Dim display, bloatware, performance hiccups, battery won't last a day
WE FEARED that Sony might finally have come off the tracks with the Xperia X. Can the cheaper Xperia XA right the wrongs, or is it on a collision course with disappointment once more?
The Sony Xperia XA is a conundrum. We were none too taken by its big brother, the Xperia X, when we put it under scrutiny earlier this month. Judging by price alone you'd think the X was Sony's top handset for 2016, but if you take the poor design choices and performance problems into account you can't help wondering whether Sony somehow made a mistake.
On looks alone, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Xperia XA is supposed to be that crowd-pulling headliner. The handset's elongated design at least gives the illusion that it's longer and slimmer than its contemporaries, and does a good job of disguising the true size of the screen.
If the phone wasn't such a joy to hold we might have taken issue with the (mostly) dead space above and below the 5in display, but the sleek curved plastic edges slip into the palm, and it's all matt and smooth on the back.
Again Sony has done away with all protection for the Xperia XA so, although the SIM and microSD are hidden away under flaps, it's not sealed.
The ghost of the Sony Xperia X still lingers. The baffling button placement is still there, meaning that volume controls reside on the right of the handset (just below the diddy power button) with a camera shortcut below that.
We tested the Xperia XA in Graphite Black, but it also comes in White, Lime Gold and Rose Gold.
We liked the oomph of the front-facing speakers on the Xperia X, but sound quality from the XA's single speaker can't even hope to match it. The resulting output is thin and weedy so you're better off plugging in a set of headphones if you want to listen to music.