Cell phone manufacturers tend to have very spectacular terminals in their catalogs, which tend to be the most popular but are also the most expensive and are not necessarily the top sellers.
But next to them, we saw an evolution of last year's midrange model, the Sony Xperia XA1 Plus a device we saw to fight in what is possibly the most difficult range of the moment, the average , where there are many possibilities and options.
PVP 349 €
This model has good specifications for the normal user, but comes with a very high price at least at launch. In this analysis, we will see if it is worth buying, the reasons why we like and also the characteristics that have not convinced us.
Features Sony Xperia XA1 Plus
- Processor: Mediatek Helio P20 (MTK 6757)
- RAM: 4 GB
- Internal memory: 32 GB
- Display: 5.5 inches with resolution 1,920 × 1,080 px
- Front camera: 8 Mpx with f / 2.0 aperture
- Rear camera: 23 Mpx with hybrid focus
- Battery: 3430 mAh
- Weight: 190 gr
- Size: 155x75x8.7 mm
- Android version: 7.0 Nougat
- Others: NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 …
A proper design with pros and cons
Sony has used its OmniBalance design feature for a long period of time. So much so that many users already see with surprise that a cell phone with that appearance goes on sale. The Sony Xperia XA1 Plus has some normal side panels on the screen, but a higher and a much higher bottom than we usually see .
The design is uncomfortable but not the expected
Personally, I was quite reluctant to use it on a day-to-day basis, but I have to admit that, far from being a problem, I enjoyed it. Of course, there is a major disadvantage and is that the larger dimension, the height, is a problem not to use it, but to wear it in the pants . This gave me the feeling of using a cell phone with a screen over 6 inches.
Once assumed that I have to recognize that one of the most positive aspects of this cell phone is how comfortable it is in the hand . The main sides are strongly curved and adapt to the hand. The smaller sides are also curved, but very little, just enough to not be able to place the moving position.
Being a Sony, you have to spend a little time explaining the buttons. This is because there is nothing on the right side except for the SIM and microSD tray, but on the right we have a lot to say.
At the top we have the two volume buttons and just below the power button. Here is implemented the fingerprint sensor that, contrary to what I thought, works well and is comfortable although I always use the phone with my left hand. To improve recognition, I examined the fingerprint of the middle finger and index finger.
In the bottom area of this side, we have the camera button that we barely use, since by pressing the power button twice, it is activated even when the phone is locked. Once in the interface, we can use it to focus and then capture the image.
A right but fair power
Some years ago, seeing phones with Mediatek processors in Europe were rare, but now the brands usually choose them mainly in the central part of the catalog and this is a good example.
Sony has chosen to use the Helio P20 a processor from the Chinese company that is known to give a good performance but without spending much energy. Beside that, we have 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory, figures appropriate to the price.
In using it, we see how the cell phone is not as fluid as we would like it not because the games or apps did not work, they do, because the speed they open is not as high as we expected. It's the equivalent of a Snapdragon 625, so you can get an idea.
Although not something that should be considered as an object of choice or discarded, we passed some of the key benchmarks for this model. The numbers obtained are 840/3747 in Geekbench 4; 1358/2380 in Vellamo; 66836 in Antutu and 673 in 3D Mark, using Slingshot, one of the available tests.
Where we believe there is room for sound improvement . The two large frames could have been used to place two stereo speakers, as some phones like the Razer Phone did. We did not ask for the power and quality of a high end but would have been added that would be appreciated.
Among the unexpected problems we must highlight two. We had a problem using bluetooth since at one point we had to reboot the terminal, because when we looked for nearby devices, it did not detect any of them, with almost half a dozen around.
We also missed several HearthStone games when the connection was lost by Wifi at the most inappropriate time.
Battery is not a problem, but does not stand out
Sony is a manufacturer that has always been known for offering more than good battery management. Their system Stamina is still present on their phones and is one of the few capable of combining true battery savings with normal application management and application connections.
We do several tests of use of this model, several load cycles and we always arrive without problems at the end of the day. The use of the screen is about 5 hours having used very demanding games like the HearthStone or taken a lot of photos.
In other load cycles in which we did not go out and do not take so many photos, we got more autonomy, but without having two days of use, then, in practice, we will carry it daily.
Where we saw clearly that it is a terminal of average reach is in the speed of loading. Just as we can not complain about the battery, we find that once you get used to the fast charge, connecting a normal smartphone really misses.
One more screen
The Japanese company has a good reputation in terms of screens. This is not one of those models focused on giving a spectacular feel due to its size or resolution but remains balanced when opting for a panel of 5.5 inches and FHD resolution .
Outdoors, the color is vibrant but the reflections in some situations are really high something that is demonstrated in the photographs of the analysis itself. More than one gave us headaches.
In use, it responds correctly, only experience is hampered by processor performance.
The settings are varied and allow us to change the color temperature of the screen, do not turn off while watching or change the image mode to choose the one that best suits our tastes.
We feel a better camera
Sony has been living in a rather strange photographic duality for years. On the one hand, it is capable of making the best photographic sensors for mobile phones, that all brands, even those that are bigger than it, want.
On the other hand we see how their phones generally do not stand out in the photographic section, although it is recognized that in the high range it seems that things are finally changing and Sony is approaching the throne that should occupy.
The problem is that the Sony Xperia XA1 Plus is a medium range terminal and shows on the camera. Much.
Our first experience was at night, walking through Seville and taking pictures in which always firing in automatic the terminal seemed to take a lot to do. The detail also, as you can see in the gallery, being correct, was scarce in some areas and the noise appeared. But it was night, something like that was expected.
In another of the tests, we went out during the day to take pictures, to verify the performance in more normal situations. This was not our surprise when, although with better photos, the sensations were similar.
The size of the images is notorious, not in vain, we talk about 23 Mpx but when we zoom in, what is the ultimate goal of having a lot of resolution, we see how they appear artifacts or noise. During the day.
Also in the sky the quality in the dynamic range disappears because we are trying to balance the lighting not only of a complicated scene, but of that in another smartphone would be solved in a more normal way. Maybe it's not perfect, but at least not so destructive.
Lights and shadows in software
That this mobile phone does not come with Android 8.o Oreo would have been understandable if at the same launching act had not presented two models, the XZ1 and XZ1 Compact with this version of Android.
We will have to confirm with Nougat and hoping that sooner or later we will see the update for Android 8.0 Oreo.
Sony's interface modifies some areas of the system such as the initiator or settings, introducing new icons and options, and leaving other areas virtually intact, such as notifications or multitasking.
There is another section that we do not like and is that by default there are several applications pre-installed on the phone.
Some are from Sony, like the news that sends us notifications with insistence until we configure . We've also seen other pre-installed applications, such as Amazon, which we believe should not come as standard.
On paper, the Sony Xperia XA1 Plus is a correct terminal. It has a very peculiar design, but with excellent quality of manufacture, does not have spectacular flaws and even has an NFC payment system or fingerprint sensor, located in the position already characteristic of the Japanese company.
It has aspects that can be improved, like the camera and others that can not be solved in case of reaching us, like the big pictures.
Sony XA1 Plus Blue 5.5IN 4G 32GB E –
The biggest, but it is a high price taking into account the rivals of the market. There are equally valid alternatives of various brands that can make this model suffer in a price range of up to 100 euros less.