Sony Xperia XA review: Where did the bezels go?

Sony Xperia XA review

At the launch of the Sony Xperia XA earlier this year, there was confusion among the attending journalists. Which was the premium handset? This one, or the Xperia X it launched alongside?

The reason for the confusion was not the phone’s specifications, but the design, which is exceptional. It’s the bezels, or rather the lack of them, that really catch the eye here. To the left and right of the screen, instead of the usual two to three millimetres, it appears there’s no gap at all. At least that’s what Sony wants you to think. Switch on the Sony Xperia XA and it’s evident there’s still a narrow black border surrounding the display, but it’s still only 1mm thick.

In fact, to my eyes, the Sony Xperia XA it’s a more attractive phone than the company’s premium Xperia X. Even the plastic back feels nice under the finger, and a pearlescent finish gives it an unusually exotic appearance. The white version I’m testing here has a subtle, coloured sheen that glimmers pink when it catches the light. The phone is also available in Lime Gold, Rose Gold and Graphite Black.

And, given that it’s plastic, another bonus is that you’ll be decidedly less concerned about it shattering into a million sharp pieces if you happen to drop it. All-in-all, the Sony Xperia XA is a finely honed smartphone, which is impressive given the reasonable price tag.

Sony Xperia XA review: Key specifications

Take a look at the specifications, however, and you’ll see that the Sony Xperia XA is firmly in the budget to mid-range camp. You don’t even need to see the price to know that.

5in, 720p IPS display
Octa-core MediaTek Helio P MT6755 64-bit processor
2GB of RAM
16GB storage
MicroSD slot
Android 6 Marshmallow
2,300mAh battery, with “two days” battery life
67 x 144 x 7.9mm, 137g
Price: £240 inc VAT Buy Now from Amazon

Sony Xperia XA review: Display quality

The first clue as to the Sony Xperia XA’s budget lineage is the screen. It’s an IPS panel measuring 5in across the diagonal, but it has a resolution of only 720p, the same as the ageing Motorola Moto G 3. It isn’t noticeably low-res, though; only those with keen vision will be able to see the pixels, and even then only when they look really closely.

Display quality is solid but unspectacular. Although contrast is a decent 1,113:1, maximum brightness is down on the best IPS displays in the business at 407cd/m2. And with coverage of the sRGB colour gamut at only 83.7%, the display on the Xperia can look a little dull compared with even the best budget smartphones.

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