The Xperia XA2 has all the hallmarks of becoming the firm’s most attractive mid-range smartphone ever.
The screen is a 5.2in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) effort but that’s still relatively compact in 2018, where 5.7" and bigger phones are becoming the norm.
It comes with a 23-megapixel rear camera and a single 8-megapixel selfie-snapper on the front, it’s powered by Qualcomm’s latest mid-range processor – the octa-core Snapdragon 630 – and comes with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card. Plus, it runs Android 8.0 Oreo straight out of the box. Everything a modern mid-range smartphone needs, in other words.
Design - Sony Xperia XA2 review
Apart from the smaller footprint, narrower top and bottom bezels and more rounded edges, this handset looks identical to last year’s XZ1, which isn't a criticism.
The XA2 adopts the same glinting chamfered edges at the top and bottom of the phone, and softly rounded edges.
The layout of ports and buttons are pretty good, too. There’s a solitary USB Type-C port with Quick Charge 3.0 support on the bottom of the handset, complete with a volume rocker, circular power button and dedicated camera shutter button on the right-hand edge. The microSD and nano-SIM slots are on the left, beneath a removable flap.
At the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a circular fingerprint reader is placed just below the camera on the rear of the phone.
Display - Sony Xperia XA2 review
The screen is a relatively small 5.2in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display and feels a little outdated, compared to the new generation 18:9 aspect ratio screens, but I still like it.
The XA2’s display is excellent. Images look vivid, especially with the phone’s slightly-saturated “Super Vivid” display mode engaged and the display has pretty good colour accuracy, too. With this mode engaged, it covers 96.5% of the sRGB colour space, the contrast ratio reaches a respectable 1,167:1 and brightness peaks at a sunlight-friendly 507cd/m2. This is one impressive display and, on a mid-range smartphone, it’s an unexpected bonus.
Performance and battery life - Sony Xperia XA2 review
As for the innards, the Xperia XA2 is equipped with Qualcomm’s latest mid-range processor: the 1.95GHz octa-core Snapdragon 635 and it comes complete with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, expandable up to 256GB via microSD.
It’s far from the quickest smartphone around. In everyday use you won’t feel the phone slow down too much, but launch Google Maps or juggle multiple applications at once, and the XA2 begins to struggle.
Likewise, gaming performance could be better. On simple games it ran without issues, but as soon as the XA2 tried to tackle more graphically-demanding games such as Modern Combat 5 it really struggled, drastic frame drops became a frequent problem.
Battery life is reasonable, with the Xperia XA2 lasting 14hrs and 29mins in our continuous video playback test, with the screen set to standard brightness and flight mode engaged.
Camera - Sony Xperia XA2 review
The Xperia XA2 faces stiff competition, as lower-priced smartphones have ever improving cameras, but the specifications look decent enough with an f/2.0 23-megapixel snapper on the rear, 1/2.3in sensor, phase-detect autofocus and a single-colour LED flash.
The results are very impressive. The XA2 does an excellent job at capturing detail-rich images outdoors in good light. Exposures are well balanced and colours well captured with good, clear detail.
Unofrtunately the XA2 isn’t capable of 4K video capture. Instead, it is limited to just 1080p video, and if you want to take advantage of Sony’s excellent SteadyCam electronic image stabilisation and HDR recording, you’re limited to 30ps.
Verdict - Sony Xperia XA2 review
The Xperia XA2 is a very impressive mid-range smartphone. Its display is fantastic, battery life is good and the phone looks like a much more expensiive product than it is.
It has its limits, as there is no HD capability and bigger screens are available at this price point. But, for the money, it looks great, lasts a long time and takes great pictures. It's one of the best smartphones Sony have introduced in some time.