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Sony Xperia XA1 Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 07/01/2017

Unique mid-range. Xperia XA1 is the name of Sony's mid-range smartphone this year. With high-resolution cameras and an extravagant design, it definitely has what it takes to be a crowd-pleaser. But can the SoC deliver enough power? And what about battery life? We will answer these and other questions in the test.

Sony Xperia XA1

For the original German review, see here.

Sony takes a risk: Instead of copying the design philosophy from Samsung and Apple like many other manufacturers, the Japanese smartphone-builder prefers to create its own style. The virtually edgeless design of last year's Sony Xperia XA pleased us, and it is even a bit more autonomous this year. Sony's Xperia XA1 that we are now testing has a very long but also very slim shape. This looks elegant, but Sony naturally wants to convince with other features: Quick Charge, LTE Cat.7, and a low weight are to also contribute to its success. High-resolution cameras on the front and rear are almost a must - after all, Sony is one of the major developers of mobile camera modules.

The Xperia XA1 is situated in the mid-range at around 270 Euros (~$306). Here, we find many competitors, for example, Lenovo's Moto G5 Plus or Huawei's P10 Lite. Honor's 6X is also an interesting mid-range device that wants to convince with a good price-performance ratio. Let's find out whether our review sample can keep up with them.

Sony Xperia XA1 (Xperia Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel 294 PPI, capacitive, IPS, scratch-resistant glass (> 9H), glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 16.2 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 256 GB, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, compass, proximity, USB Type C, OTG
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM (850/​900/​1800/​1900), UMTS (850/​900/​1900/​2100), LTE (B1/​B2/​B3/​B5/​B7/​B8/​B20); bandwidth (download/​upload): 300Mbps/​50Mbps (LTE); SAR rates: 0.57W/​kg (head), 1.79W/​kg (body), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8 x 145 x 67 ( = 0.31 x 5.71 x 2.64 in)
Battery
8.7 Wh, 2300 mAh Lithium-Ion, Quick Charging (MediaTek PumpExpress 2.0), Qnovo Adaptive Charging, Talk time 2G (according to manufacturer): 11 h, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 10 h, Standby 2G (according to manufacturer): 600 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 560 h
Operating System
Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera
Primary Camera: 23 MPix 1/2.3” Exmor RS for mobile sensor, hybrid autofocus, ISO6400, 24mm wide angle, F2.0, LED flash, videos @1080p/​30fps
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix 1/4" Exmor R for mobile sensor, ISO 3200, 23mm wide angle, F2.0, contrast AF, videos @1080p/​30fps
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker in the lower edte, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, USB charger, USB cable, headset, PlayStation, What's New, Designs, AVG Protection, Xperia Lounge, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
143 g ( = 5.04 oz / 0.32 pounds), Power Supply: 49 g ( = 1.73 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
269 ($260) Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The more angular design of Sony's Xperia XA1 is very daring and contrasts the continuously decreasing edge of Apple's iPhone and Samsung's gently curved Galaxy smartphones. We welcome that someone suggests a different design language, especially since the Xperia XA1 presents nice and also very unusual proportions. The 16:9 screen and the extremely narrow lateral edges around the display let the smartphone look very slim but also relatively tall. The lightly backward-curved glass on the corners even adds to the already very stylish impression. The height of 8 millimeters is average; bulkier and also slimmer smartphones exist in the mid-range.

The corners are more eye-catching than in other smartphones, but they are still lightly curved. Thus, Sony's Xperia XA1 is pleasant to hold. The narrow shape is an advantage for small hands. The device is also stable. Pressure on the back is not passed on to the screen. Strong pressure on the front causes minor wave formations in the liquid crystals that are, however, only visible when looking closer. The smartphone can be warped slightly and also produces quiet cracking noises then. This is the only point that slightly reduces the high-quality overall impression.

Users who find black boring can select another available color: white, gold or pink.

Size Comparison

150.2 mm / 5.91 inch 74 mm / 2.91 inch 9.7 mm / 0.3819 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs150.9 mm / 5.94 inch 76.2 mm / 3 inch 8.2 mm / 0.3228 inch 162 g0.3571 lbs146.5 mm / 5.77 inch 72 mm / 2.83 inch 7.2 mm / 0.2835 inch 146 g0.3219 lbs145 mm / 5.71 inch 67 mm / 2.64 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 143 g0.3153 lbs143.6 mm / 5.65 inch 66.8 mm / 2.63 inch 7.9 mm / 0.311 inch 137 g0.302 lbs

Connectivity

As for memory configuration, Sony installs more GB in terms of RAM and storage device into its smartphone than in the predecessor. Sony's Xperia XA1 has 32 GB of storage and 3 GB of working memory. This is also desperately needed seeing that it has become standard in the mid-range. Huawei's P10 Lite even has 4 GB of RAM. The storage can be expanded via a micro-SD card. Cards with up to 256 GB are supported. The micro-SD can be formatted as internal storage and apps can be moved to the card.

A dual-SIM variant of Sony's Xperia XA1 exists. However, it is not officially offered in Central Europe. Thus, the LTE 20 band (800 MHz) that is important in Germany is not supported. This is still tolerable in cities but an LTE network will perhaps not be found in rural areas, depending on the network provider. It is too bad that Sony does not offer its dual-SIM smartphones globally. Many manufacturers, such as OnePlus, have won over many fans with this.

The smartphone has a USB-C port that, however, only operates at USB 2.0 speeds. At least it supports USB OTG. NFC for wireless near field communication is also installed in the Xperia XA1.

Left: SIM and micro-SD slot
Left: SIM and micro-SD slot
Right: volume control, standby button, camera button
Right: volume control, standby button, camera button
Upper edge: 3.5-mm audio jack
Upper edge: 3.5-mm audio jack
Lower edge: USB-C port, speaker
Lower edge: USB-C port, speaker

Software

Sony obediently follows Google's design specifications for Android and implements the flat material design quite consistently. The many graphics in Sony's modified Android 7 are also designed correspondingly and pep up the often slightly text-heavy operating system. The home screen with a relatively small clock widget might look a bit cramped in delivery state. However, it becomes more straightforward after cleaning up. The security patches are dated April 7, 2017, which is not quite up-to-date at test time. Sony is known for software tweaks to improve many functions in the operating system. There is an option for image optimization and audio can be adapted extensively. The smartphone observes the user's habits and provides corresponding tips for better utilization. This functions even better when it is registered for Xperia services.

Sony also preloads some proprietary apps, such as a music player, a gallery app and video software. The PlayStation app and its own app store dubbed "What's New" are just as available as the Xperia Lounge. The user can enjoy exclusive prize games and advantages when the Xperia XA1 is registered here. The media apps plus corresponding Google apps that are, of course, also preloaded are annoying. Sony's own virus scanner and some other apps also halve the storage. Fans of a clean Android will have to uninstall a lot of apps.

Sony Xperia XA1 software
Sony Xperia XA1 software
Sony Xperia XA1 software
Sony Xperia XA1 software

Communication and GPS

LTE Cat.7 along with seven supported bands, and four GSM and four UMTS frequencies is a good configuration in the mid-range. Lenovo's Moto G5 Plus is even a more global-phone: It supports considerably more LTE frequencies. It is probably better to stay within Europe with the Xperia XA1 for ensuring reception. There should be no issues here. The reception in the well-developed German Vodafone network in cities was also good indoors. We usually achieved 3/4 of the signal strength here.

Fast 802.11 ac Wi-Fi is not supported, but only Huawei's P10 Lite is capable of this standard among the comparison devices. Otherwise, the Xperia XA1 supports all up-to-date Wi-Fi standards and also communicates in the less frequented 5 GHz range. We achieved decent transmission rates in our standardized Wi-Fi test with the Linksys EA8500. Websites opened quickly near the router and the full signal was displayed. Pages opened much slower at a distance of 10 meters and through three walls. Only half the signal was received here.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Huawei P10 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 658, 32 GB eMMC Flash
229 MBit/s ∼100% +112%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
121 MBit/s ∼53% +12%
Sony Xperia XA1
Mali-T880 MP2, Helio P20 MT6757, 32 GB eMMC Flash
108 MBit/s ∼47%
Honor 6X
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 655, 32 GB eMMC Flash
54.6 MBit/s ∼24% -49%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Huawei P10 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 658, 32 GB eMMC Flash
232 MBit/s ∼100% +107%
Sony Xperia XA1
Mali-T880 MP2, Helio P20 MT6757, 32 GB eMMC Flash
112 MBit/s ∼48%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
100 MBit/s ∼43% -11%
Honor 6X
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 655, 32 GB eMMC Flash
57.9 MBit/s ∼25% -48%
GPS test, indoors
GPS test, indoors
GPS test, outdoors
GPS test, outdoors

The Xperia XA1 easily found us indoors, and its accuracy of up to six meters is not bad at all. The signal was much stronger outdoors and we were located with an accuracy of up to two meters. This is a good rate.

But is the GPS module in the Xperia XA1 also convincing in practice? We put the smartphone in a backpack alongside Garmin's Edge 500 professional navigation system and went for a bike ride. The logged route is compared with Runtastic. A difference of just 100 meters on a measured route of almost 12 kilometers is not bad. The Xperia XA1 does not trace the route as precisely as the professional navigation system, but the accuracy is nevertheless impressive for a smartphone and definitely sufficient for free-time use.


GPS Garmin Edge 500: overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 500: bridge
GPS Sony Xperia XA1: overview
GPS Sony Xperia XA1: overview
GPS Sony Xperia XA1: crossing
GPS Sony Xperia XA1: crossing
GPS Sony Xperia XA1: bridge
GPS Sony Xperia XA1: bridge

Telephony and Call Quality

Sony does not modify the phone app and uses Google's stock app. This is absolutely okay since the Android phone app has many features and arranges them neatly in tabs. However, the keypad can only be opened by tapping the always visible dial icon.

The calling sound quality is one of Sony's expert fields, and the Xperia XA1 is largely convincing here. The contact is clearly intelligible, but the earpiece distorts slightly at maximum volume. The sound seemed even a bit clearer with the "Clear Audio Plus" audio improvement that can be enabled in the settings. The microphone does a decent job, but its sound is not quite clean: Loud voices cause audible, minor distortions and a slight hum. The call quality is absolutely satisfactory for everyday use, but it is not awesome.

Cameras

Front-facing camera photo
Front-facing camera photo

The cameras are also a field where Sony is virtually forced to deliver good results. After all, it is the biggest mobile camera manufacturer in the world. Sony is not stingy and installs a 23-megapixel camera on the rear and an 8-megapixel camera on the front of the Xperia XA1. The primary camera has a hybrid autofocus that combines the phase comparison and contrast method to focus even faster. The primary camera also features a 24-mm wide angle lens and an LED flash. The ISO sensitivity can be increased up to 6400, which is to allow taking good photos even in dark scenarios. It is good that Sony installs a physical camera button.

But what do the photos made with the camera that has a very high resolution for the mid-range look like? In fact, the wide angle lens has an impact: Compared with the standard lens in LG's G6 (this device also has a wide angle lens), a much bigger image section is captured. We find the dynamics in low light a bit too low; hardly any details are visible here. We noticed some strange distortions that almost look like blurred movement in the very left photo area. At first glance, the camera's reproduction can throughout compete with a high-end device like LG's G6. However, the photos of LG's G6 look a bit sharper and more accurately exposed in our zoomed details. The color reproduction of Sony's Xperia XA1 looks quite neutral. The camera in Sony's Xperia XA1 has its moment of fame in low-light situations: It brightens the scenario very well - even more than the camera in LG's G6. Although the photos exhibit a heavy color noise, it can hardly be prevented in such low light and is also visible in photos made with the reflex camera.

The primary camera only records videos in 1080p. However, a 4K video encoder is installed in the SoC. Sony likely reserves this feature for its premium-range devices. The videos still look relatively sharp, and the exposure adapts quite fast and suitably for the scenario. However, it also lacks a bit of dynamics in dark surroundings.

The front camera takes photos in a resolution of 8 megapixels, and it also features a wide angle lens. The color reproduction is quite cool, but the photos look relatively sharp otherwise. The dynamics is again a bit too low in dark surroundings. The front camera also records videos in 1080p, and movement is smooth and the exposure is adapted well. The too low dynamics issue in dark environments continues here, as well.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

We additionally test the primary camera under defined light conditions in the lab. Here, the primary camera's very high sharpness becomes especially visible. This high sharpness is even maintained when zooming the details. Strangely, the lateral blurriness is not seen here. However, the "lack of dynamics issue" is again obvious with black text on a brown background. Otherwise, the primary camera delivers an excellent outcome in terms of sharpness. Unfortunately, the color reproduction is a bit distorted; colored areas also look patchy.

Photographed reference card
Photographed reference card
Reference card details
Reference card details
ColorChecker colors
ColorChecker colors
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.

Accessories and Warranty

A charger and USB C cable are included. It is too bad that this combination does not allow quick-charging although the device supports the Pump Express technology. A dedicated quick charger for which Sony demands a high 50 Euros (~$56) is available. A cover with a kickstand is also offered for almost 40 Euros (~$45). A headset is in the box.

Sony offers a 24-month warranty for its Xperia XA1 in Central Europe. Please see our Guarantees, Return policies and Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices and Handling

Sony preloads the Swift Key keyboard. The keyboard is clearly arranged and offers diverse input and setting options. However, the keys' double assignment can sometimes make things a bit confusing. Users who prefer Google's GBoard or another keyboard will have to install it from Google's Play Store.

The touchscreen is still very sensitive in the corners and is really pleasant to use. The touchscreen's sleek surface allows the finger to glide well. Diverse input aids for users with disabilities can be enabled but special gesture or movement controls are absent. In return, Xperia Actions that, for example, mute the phone at a specified time and place can be defined. Thus, the user can define a do not disturb time for the night.

Keyboard, landscape mode
Keyboard, landscape mode
Keyboard, portrait mode
Keyboard, portrait mode

Display

Subpixel grid
Subpixel grid

With a resolution of 1280x720 pixels, the Xperia XA1 lags behind its rivals that already have Full HD screens. The reproduction on the 5-inch screen nevertheless looks quite sharp; single pixels are not visible. The XA1 is on category level with an average brightness of 499 cd/m², but there are two corners that are not illuminated well. The smartphone has a minimum brightness of 37.83 cd/m², which is a relatively high rate and also has an impact on the black value as we will see in a moment. The illumination of 92% is still good and we did not see brightness differences with the naked eye.

478
cd/m²
504
cd/m²
491
cd/m²
504
cd/m²
522
cd/m²
503
cd/m²
499
cd/m²
503
cd/m²
483
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 522 cd/m² Average: 498.6 cd/m² Minimum: 37.83 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 522 cd/m²
Contrast: 705:1 (Black: 0.74 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.2 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 6.4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
Gamma: 2.18
Sony Xperia XA1
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Sony Xperia XA
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Huawei P10 Lite
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Honor 6X
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Screen
-6%
19%
20%
10%
Brightness middle
522
518
-1%
503
-4%
507
-3%
547
5%
Brightness
499
475
-5%
495
-1%
509
2%
540
8%
Brightness Distribution
92
81
-12%
96
4%
95
3%
94
2%
Black Level *
0.74
0.61
18%
0.31
58%
0.36
51%
0.57
23%
Contrast
705
849
20%
1623
130%
1408
100%
960
36%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.2
6.8
-62%
6.2
-48%
5.1
-21%
5.1
-21%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
11.5
11.4
1%
9.8
15%
9
22%
9.1
21%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.4
7
-9%
6.8
-6%
6.1
5%
6.2
3%
Gamma
2.18 101%
2.35 94%
2.33 94%
2.28 96%
2.09 105%
CCT
7044 92%
8151 80%
8113 80%
8143 80%
6546 99%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9705 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The black level of 0.74 cd/m² is not exactly awesome. Dark areas sometimes look more like dark gray rather than black. The contrast of 705:1 is on an acceptable level, but the rivals are still much better.

Content looks relatively sharp and can be adapted via image optimization and manual white balance. The colors have an average deviation from the sRGB color space reference value. We determine this in our tests with a spectrophotometer and CalMAN software. Furthermore, a distinct violet tint is visible, especially in the bright grayscale. Although the color-space coverage is only an approximation due to the inaccurate measurement in CalMAN, 93% makes it evident that the sRGB color-space coverage is presumably quite high. The color reproduction looks quite accurate to the naked eye.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
18.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 6 ms rise
↘ 12.8 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 18 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20.4 ms rise
↘ 22 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 58 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (40.7 ms).

Sony's Xperia XA1 can be used well outdoors thanks to the maximum brightness. Shade is only needed in direct sunlight or on very bright days.

We barely noticed brightness or color deviations with the naked eye when we tilted the smartphone's screen. However, the screenshots show that there are both color and brightness differences. The image can, however, still be recognized well even from very flat angles.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoors - ambient light sensor
Outdoors - ambient light sensor
Outdoors - maximum brightness
Outdoors - maximum brightness
Outdoors - medium brightness
Outdoors - medium brightness
Outdoors - minimum brightness
Outdoors - minimum brightness

Performance

Although the MediaTek Helio P20 MT6757 is not a brand-new SoC anymore, it has been on the market for one-and-a-half years now, Sony's Xperia XA1 is the first smartphone with which we can test the SoC. The processor part has eight cores that clock at up to 2.3 GHz. The Xperia XA1 accomplishes performance rates that are on the category level. However, Lenovo's Moto G5 Plus, for example, is faster. This difference will unlikely be noticed in everyday use. It was possible to use the smartphone smoothly and we did not have any performance problems with the apps that we tested.

An ARM Mali-T880 MP2 graphics card is installed. It consists of two cores that can clock at up to 900 MHz. The Xperia XA1 is on par with the fast Lenovo Moto G5 Plus here and is also much faster than the other comparison devices. Compared with its predecessor, the performance plus is also significant. The screen's low resolution in conjunction with the powerful graphics unit is a well-chosen combination here.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
59082 Points ∼22%
Sony Xperia XA
48331 Points ∼18% -18%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
64705 Points ∼24% +10%
Huawei P10 Lite
60438 Points ∼22% +2%
Honor 6X
56764 Points ∼21% -4%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
1804 Points ∼43%
Sony Xperia XA
1236 Points ∼29% -31%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2152 Points ∼51% +19%
Huawei P10 Lite
1592 Points ∼38% -12%
Honor 6X
1440 Points ∼34% -20%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
574 Points ∼9%
Sony Xperia XA
306 Points ∼5% -47%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
383 Points ∼6% -33%
Huawei P10 Lite
326 Points ∼5% -43%
Honor 6X
318 Points ∼5% -45%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
677 Points ∼12%
Sony Xperia XA
422 Points ∼8% -38%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
469 Points ∼9% -31%
Huawei P10 Lite
396 Points ∼7% -42%
Honor 6X
385 Points ∼7% -43%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
1892 Points ∼45%
Sony Xperia XA
1259 Points ∼30% -33%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2150 Points ∼51% +14%
Huawei P10 Lite
1537 Points ∼36% -19%
Honor 6X
1433 Points ∼34% -24%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
827 Points ∼8%
Sony Xperia XA
525 Points ∼5% -37%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
722 Points ∼7% -13%
Huawei P10 Lite
520 Points ∼5% -37%
Honor 6X
468 Points ∼4% -43%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
945 Points ∼13%
Sony Xperia XA
603 Points ∼8% -36%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
847 Points ∼12% -10%
Huawei P10 Lite
610 Points ∼9% -35%
Honor 6X
550 Points ∼8% -42%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
16394 Points ∼19%
Sony Xperia XA
12138 Points ∼14% -26%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
16267 Points ∼19% -1%
Huawei P10 Lite
13510 Points ∼16% -18%
Honor 6X
13535 Points ∼16% -17%
Honor 6X
13535 Points ∼16% -17%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
13125 Points ∼2%
Sony Xperia XA
10916 Points ∼2% -17%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
13380 Points ∼3% +2%
Huawei P10 Lite
10603 Points ∼2% -19%
Honor 6X
11353 Points ∼2% -14%
Honor 6X
11353 Points ∼2% -14%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
13734 Points ∼6%
Sony Xperia XA
11156 Points ∼5% -19%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
13929 Points ∼6% +1%
Huawei P10 Lite
11135 Points ∼5% -19%
Honor 6X
11775 Points ∼5% -14%
Honor 6X
11775 Points ∼5% -14%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
22 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
18 fps ∼0% -18%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
23 fps ∼0% +5%
Huawei P10 Lite
17 fps ∼0% -23%
Honor 6X
18 fps ∼0% -18%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
33 fps ∼1%
Sony Xperia XA
28 fps ∼1% -15%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
19 fps ∼1% -42%
Huawei P10 Lite
18 fps ∼1% -45%
Honor 6X
19 fps ∼1% -42%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
9.6 fps ∼2%
Sony Xperia XA
7.2 fps ∼1% -25%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
9.9 fps ∼2% +3%
Huawei P10 Lite
7.2 fps ∼1% -25%
Honor 6X
4.6 fps ∼1% -52%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
19 fps ∼5%
Sony Xperia XA
15 fps ∼4% -21%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
10 fps ∼3% -47%
Huawei P10 Lite
7.7 fps ∼2% -59%
Honor 6X
8.5 fps ∼2% -55%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
3.4 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
4.8 fps ∼0% +41%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
7 fps ∼0% +106%
Huawei P10 Lite
4.2 fps ∼0% +24%
Honor 6X
2.5 fps ∼0% -26%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
15 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
11 fps ∼0% -27%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3.1 fps ∼0% -79%
Huawei P10 Lite
4.8 fps ∼0% -68%
Honor 6X
4.9 fps ∼0% -67%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
4759 Points ∼24%
Sony Xperia XA
4685 Points ∼24% -2%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
6285 Points ∼32% +32%
Huawei P10 Lite
5794 Points ∼30% +22%
Honor 6X
4383 Points ∼22% -8%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
847 Points ∼42%
Sony Xperia XA
717 Points ∼35% -15%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
699 Points ∼34% -17%
Huawei P10 Lite
654 Points ∼32% -23%
Honor 6X
720 Points ∼35% -15%
Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
1016 Points ∼4%
Sony Xperia XA
669 Points ∼2% -34%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
1007 Points ∼3% -1%
Huawei P10 Lite
829 Points ∼3% -18%
Honor 6X
819 Points ∼3% -19%
Memory (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
1063 Points ∼17%
Sony Xperia XA
1076 Points ∼17% +1%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
991 Points ∼16% -7%
Huawei P10 Lite
1592 Points ∼25% +50%
Honor 6X
1779 Points ∼28% +67%
System (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
2969 Points ∼18%
Sony Xperia XA
2289 Points ∼14% -23%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2746 Points ∼17% -8%
Huawei P10 Lite
2642 Points ∼16% -11%
Honor 6X
2721 Points ∼17% -8%
Overall (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
1284 Points ∼15%
Sony Xperia XA
1043 Points ∼12% -19%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
1176 Points ∼14% -8%
Huawei P10 Lite
1229 Points ∼15% -4%
Honor 6X
1300 Points ∼15% +1%
Geekbench 4.3
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
2747 Points ∼6%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
2688 Points ∼6% -2%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
3621 Points ∼10%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
4319 Points ∼12% +19%
Huawei P10 Lite
3460 Points ∼10% -4%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
828 Points ∼13%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
844 Points ∼13% +2%
Huawei P10 Lite
913 Points ∼14% +10%

Legend

 
Sony Xperia XA1 Mediatek Helio P20 (LP4) MT6757, ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia XA Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P10 Lite HiSilicon Kirin 658, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 6X HiSilicon Kirin 655, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash

Sony's Xperia XA1 is also on the expected category level in the browser benchmarks but cannot stand out positively. HTML 5 websites are usually rendered smoothly, but occasional stutters are unavoidable.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
3956 Points ∼8%
Sony Xperia XA
4046 Points ∼8% +2%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
4432 Points ∼9% +12%
Huawei P10 Lite
4589 Points ∼9% +16%
Honor 6X
4199 Points ∼8% +6%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
9506.4 ms * ∼16%
Sony Xperia XA
9609.8 ms * ∼16% -1%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
8048.8 ms * ∼14% +15%
Huawei P10 Lite
8590.8 ms * ∼14% +10%
Honor 6X
9373.3 ms * ∼16% +1%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
28.45 Points ∼9%
Sony Xperia XA
27.5 Points ∼8% -3%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
30.72 Points ∼9% +8%
Huawei P10 Lite
30.047 Points ∼9% +6%
Honor 6X
26.464 Points ∼8% -7%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
78 Points ∼10%
Sony Xperia XA
72 Points ∼9% -8%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
85 Points ∼11% +9%
Huawei P10 Lite
62 Points ∼8% -21%
Honor 6X
73 Points ∼9% -6%

* ... smaller is better

Sony's Xperia XA1 quickly reads and writes on SD cards, as our test with the Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 reference card proves. The card would theoretically allow even higher write and read speeds, but the rates of the Xperia XA1 are very fast under real-world conditions seen absolutely.

Accessing the internal storage is also very fast in general. The rate only drops clearly during random write access. The Xperia XA1 delivers good speeds otherwise.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
68.04 MB/s ∼78%
Sony Xperia XA
50.68 MB/s ∼58% -26%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
56.93 MB/s ∼65% -16%
Huawei P10 Lite
32.7 MB/s ∼38% -52%
Honor 6X
34.53 MB/s ∼40% -49%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
78.37 MB/s ∼81%
Sony Xperia XA
72.87 MB/s ∼76% -7%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
74.72 MB/s ∼77% -5%
Huawei P10 Lite
53.4 MB/s ∼55% -32%
Honor 6X
52.02 MB/s ∼54% -34%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
13.2 MB/s ∼5%
Sony Xperia XA
10.6 MB/s ∼4% -20%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
67 MB/s ∼27% +408%
Huawei P10 Lite
19.36 MB/s ∼8% +47%
Honor 6X
45.05 MB/s ∼18% +241%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
66.2 MB/s ∼38%
Sony Xperia XA
22.05 MB/s ∼13% -67%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
68 MB/s ∼39% +3%
Huawei P10 Lite
72.47 MB/s ∼42% +9%
Honor 6X
39.55 MB/s ∼23% -40%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
127.8 MB/s ∼33%
Sony Xperia XA
68.64 MB/s ∼18% -46%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
132.5 MB/s ∼34% +4%
Huawei P10 Lite
129.18 MB/s ∼33% +1%
Honor 6X
73.85 MB/s ∼19% -42%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia XA1
248.5 MB/s ∼27%
Sony Xperia XA
240.43 MB/s ∼26% -3%
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
233.4 MB/s ∼26% -6%
Huawei P10 Lite
264.3 MB/s ∼29% +6%
Honor 6X
283.37 MB/s ∼31% +14%

Games

The Xperia XA1 is quite suitable for playing games. The screen is, of course, a bit smaller than in many comparison devices, but the displayed graphics are calculated very quickly. The frame rates did not drop below 30 frames per second in any of the games that we tested. Thus, the games always ran smoothly. More basic games like Angry Birds can also be played without problems.

Controls via position sensor and touchscreen functioned just as smoothly.

Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps
 very low30 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high57 fps

Emissions

GFXBench battery test
GFXBench battery test

Temperature

We measured a maximum of 44 °C in the camera's area on the rear, which is also the maximum temperature after prolonged load. Up to 40.5 °C was reached on the front. This can sometimes get unpleasant in the summer, for example when holding the smartphone to the ear when making calls or when it is in a pocket. The maximum temperature drops to 36.7 °C in idle mode, which is also still very palpable.

At least the SoC's full performance can still be retrieved when the smartphone has been put under full load for a prolonged period. We determine this by running the GFXBench battery test that calculates the same sequence 30 times in succession and logs the speed.

Max. Load
 40.2 °C
104 F
40.5 °C
105 F
36.7 °C
98 F
 
 40.3 °C
105 F
39.7 °C
103 F
38.6 °C
101 F
 
 40 °C
104 F
40.2 °C
104 F
38.6 °C
101 F
 
Maximum: 40.5 °C = 105 F
Average: 39.4 °C = 103 F
37.2 °C
99 F
38.5 °C
101 F
44 °C
111 F
35.6 °C
96 F
38.7 °C
102 F
43.8 °C
111 F
36.2 °C
97 F
39.9 °C
104 F
42.8 °C
109 F
Maximum: 44 °C = 111 F
Average: 39.6 °C = 103 F
Power Supply (max.)  31.7 °C = 89 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 39.4 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 40.5 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 35.6 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 44 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 35.2 °C / 95 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Heat-map front
Heat-map front
Heat-map rear
Heat-map rear

Speaker

Pink Noise speaker test
Pink Noise speaker test

The little speaker on the lower edge is primarily made for playing back voices and songs. Low tones are hardly audible. In return, mids are relatively balanced and do not distort. The subjective impression corresponds to the test results from the ARTA software suite that can be read below. It is also correct that the speaker remains relatively quiet. Thus, vocals are very prominent in music. Listening to classical music is also possible, although violins are almost unpleasantly dominant while the dark strings are barely audible at maximum volume. Classical music sounds much better at medium volume. Music fans will nevertheless prefer using headphones. The included headset is quite suitable for this. It produces a warm sound and details are also well-perceptible. The sound output with other headphones and via Bluetooth to speakers is clear and static-free.

Sony also offers some audio improvements, such as an installed equalizer or the ClearAudio+ audio improvement. We often heard a clear difference in other smartphones with bigger speakers in the past. However, this is kept within limits in Sony's Xperia XA1.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.634.92525.430.73125.326.94032.931.85033.628.66331.631.88028.431.8100273112520.830.41602226.620021.327.625020.831.431521.239.240019.448.450019.554.263017.759.580017.963.3100017.864.8125017.365160017.465.1200016.764.4250017.267.7315018.268400017.965.9500017.669630017.766.5800017.860.61000017.9611250018.1531600018.237.1SPL3076.7N1.338median 17.9median 60.6Delta1.312.92832.42833.331.333.332.531.732.534.92634.947.639.447.633.736.233.730.728.630.727.925.427.930.421.330.433.223.333.235.122.535.141.822.441.845.421.345.45018.45055.817.555.860.517.560.56717.26767.416.867.468.117.368.164.817.464.858.716.658.76417.36471.517.671.57417.67474.517.774.573.917.473.97117.77169.417.969.458.318.158.348.918.148.98229.88248.51.348.5median 60.5median 17.7median 60.511.61.611.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseSony Xperia XA1Sony Xperia XA
Sony Xperia XA1 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (76.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 29.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.9% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (28.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 76% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 17% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 84% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 12% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Sony Xperia XA audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.02 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (28.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 75% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 18% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 84% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 12% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram comparison (checkboxes above can be turned on/off!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Sony's Xperia XA1 is very clearly an energy-efficient smartphone. It consumes less power than the comparison devices in all performance scenarios. The difference to the predecessor is a whole 66%, and it is even higher to the other comparison devices. The device consumes a maximum of 3.31 watts, which is a very good rate in view of the performance.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.17 / 0.31 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.64 / 0.81 / 0.86 Watt
Load midlight 2.09 / 3.31 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Sony Xperia XA1
2300 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3000 mAh
Huawei P10 Lite
3000 mAh
Honor 6X
3340 mAh
Power Consumption
-66%
-77%
-69%
-84%
Idle Minimum *
0.64
0.72
-13%
0.91
-42%
0.38
41%
0.82
-28%
Idle Average *
0.81
1.5
-85%
1.83
-126%
1.87
-131%
2
-147%
Idle Maximum *
0.86
1.57
-83%
1.87
-117%
1.92
-123%
2.03
-136%
Load Average *
2.09
3.48
-67%
3.17
-52%
3.82
-83%
3.34
-60%
Load Maximum *
3.31
6.04
-82%
4.87
-47%
4.9
-48%
4.92
-49%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Even if the battery with 2300 mAh or 8.7 Wh does not have a higher capacity than the predecessor, the Xperia XA1 manages a considerably longer runtime than its predecessor thanks to the low consumption. However, some mid-range smartphones, such as Honor's 6X, offer an even longer battery life thanks to a much stronger battery. Nevertheless, 11:55 hours of Wi-Fi browsing is not a bad outcome for the Xperia XA1. The Xperia XA only managed roughly half this time. The smartphone also lasted for two normal workdays, and it could even be three when it is not used often.

It is too bad that the included power supply does not support quick-charge technology. Thus, a full recharge takes approximately 2 hours, but this is still a good rate.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
23h 53min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
11h 15min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 31min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 16min
Sony Xperia XA1
2300 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
Lenovo Moto G5 Plus
3000 mAh
Huawei P10 Lite
3000 mAh
Honor 6X
3340 mAh
Battery Runtime
-42%
7%
-3%
41%
Reader / Idle
1433
775
-46%
1206
-16%
1410
-2%
2250
57%
H.264
751
460
-39%
799
6%
586
-22%
885
18%
WiFi v1.3
675
353
-48%
746
11%
665
-1%
957
42%
Load
256
170
-34%
325
27%
286
12%
375
46%

Pros

+ slim, unique design
+ stable casing
+ USB-C, OTG, NFC
+ stylish, extensively expandable operating system
+ accurate GPS
+ good call quality
+ very high-resolution rear camera
+ sharp selfie camera
+ headset included
+ high gaming performance
+ fast storage access
+ very energy efficient

Cons

- lots of bloatware
- 720p screen only
- high black value
- sometimes too high temperatures
- quick charger not included
- no fingerprint scanner

Verdict

In review: Sony Xperia XA1. Review sample courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.de
In review: Sony Xperia XA1. Review sample courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.de

Sony's Xperia XA1 is a successful evolution of the former Xperia XA. The smartphone has been improved in many aspects, such as battery life, power consumption, performance, and camera. Old Sony virtues like the physical camera button, diverse settings for audio and video, and the intricately self-developed software are, naturally, still present.

Compared with other smartphones of this category, Sony's Xperia XA1 has some shortcomings: Sony still installs a 720p screen while Full HD is actually standard now. Only the slightly smaller screen size makes this acceptable. Also, Sony's XA1 can get quite warm, which can be unpleasant especially in the summer when the smartphone is carried around in a pocket. The speaker is mediocre, just like the call quality. Sony has done a better job with these in the past. However, the Xperia XA1 can keep up well in these two aspects within the price range. It is too bad that Sony does not include a quick charger. Furthermore, the lack of a fingerprint scanner is inappropriate for this class.

Sony has reworked its Xperia XA1 mid-range smartphone and manages to outrun the competition in terms of camera, power consumption and gaming performance. The design is unique and is very successful and elegant. Only the low-resolution screen might deter some buyers.

Sony's Xperia XA1 can be recommended despite some minor points of criticism: The camera is clearly situated above the price range and can even compete with high-end devices like LG's G6, and the battery life is very good despite the very small battery. Sony is at least on par with the rivals or even surpasses them evidently in many aspects. There are hardly any major weaknesses, and the Xperia XA1's unique shape and stylish, edgeless design even appeals to the heart.

Sony Xperia XA1 - 06/29/2017 v6
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
66 / 75 → 88%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
42 / 60 → 69%
Weight
93%
Battery
94%
Display
83%
Games Performance
29 / 63 → 46%
Application Performance
49 / 70 → 70%
Temperature
86%
Noise
100%
Audio
61 / 91 → 67%
Camera
75%
Average
73%
84%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Sony Xperia XA1 Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2017-07- 1 (Update: 2019-04- 5)