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Sony Xperia XA Ultra is a phablet that isn’t supposed to feel big

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Big smartphones are great! They come with large displays that allow you to do and view more with your smartphone. But the problem with big smartphones is that they’re, well, big.

So, ideally, you’d want a big smartphone display in a small form factor and that’s exactly what Sony is trying to do with their brand new Xperia XA Ultra.

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Launched recently, the Xperia XA Ultra is a phablet with a large 6-inch Full HD display on the front that is almost bezel-less. Sony says that their new smartphone is a 6-inch device that feels like a 5.5-inch smartphone.

That’s hogwash. After spending some time with it, my verdict is that it still feels like a large 6-inch device. Sure, the side bezels are absolutely tiny, but it’s kind of hard to hide six massive inches of screen.

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Still, the Xperia XA Ultra does feel pretty nice in the hand with the smooth rounded curves you’d find on the smaller XA. The back has a nice matte texture to it to ensure it doesn’t collect fingerprints or slip out of your hand too easily.

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Inside, the large phablet is powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Thankfully, internal storage is expandable via a microSD card slot that can accept up to 200GB of internal storage. It’s also got a 2,700 mAh battery that Sony says will last up to two days on a single charge.

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Before I get into performance, I was told that the unit on display was riddled with bugs stemming from the demo software. I hope, for Sony’s sake, that that is the case because the smartphone was almost unusable.

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Scrolling was incredibly laggy, launching apps took ages and using the camera for more than 5 minutes caused the whole smartphone to freeze up. Since the smartphone isn’t due to come out until next month, I’ll give Sony a pass on this and reserve my full judgment for when we see the final product.

160609-sony-xperia-xa-ultra-hands-on-6Moving on to the camera, the XA ultra has a decent set of snappers. At the back, it gets a 21.5MP 1/2.4″ Exmor RS sensor with Hybrid Autofocus and object tracking features. The front receives a 16MP 1/2.6″ Exmor RS camera sensor with OIS, autofocus and a dedicated front-facing LED flash.

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Images were pretty decent out of the front and rear cameras. They exposed pretty well and had quite a lot of detail to them. The primary camera’s hybrid autofocus system with object tracking was supposed to be a big highlight, but it was quite difficult to get it working properly.

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When you tap to focus, the object tracking kicks in and locks on to your selected target. The phone is then supposed to “predict” the movement of your subject and keep the focal point on it at all times. However, in practice, the tracking was easily distracted by other moving objects (especially if they were larger/brighter than your subject) and would hop on to focus on that subject instead.

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Buggy software again? Perhaps.

Either way, the RM1,699 Xperia XA Ultra seems like a relatively unfinished product at the launch. It’s a good thing you can only buy it in July because that should give Sony the time it needs to iron out any more kinks.

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What do you guys think of this Xperia XA Ultra? Let us know in the comments below. If you want to learn more about this device as well as the other two that were launched alongside it here in Malaysia, check out our announcement post.