Xperia XA: Sony puts best design into a low-end smartphone

BARCELONA—Monday at MWC has been a weird one for Sony. Aside from announcing its Xperia Ear—a Bluetooth headset-cum-virtual assistant—alongside the likes of a wearable 360-degree camera, and a quirky laser-projecting robot, it also unveiled a new set of Xperia phones, dubbed Xperia X.

Not only do the Xperia XA, Xperia X, and Xperia Performance arrive just six months after the Xperia Z5 series was announced—a lightning quick product cycle I'd hoped Sony would have dropped by now—it's chucked arguably the most beautiful design features into the budget-focused Xperia XA, not its top-tier phones. Like I said, this has been a weird day for Sony.

Still, if you are on a budget and need a new phone, there's nothing else quite like the Xperia XA. It features a polycarbonate body and near edge-to-edge 5-inch display that looks absolutely gorgeous. Coupled with the symmetrical top and bottom sections and light Sony branding, the XA has an austere look that would be right at home on a top-tier handset. Plus, the edge-to-edge screen makes the XA far smaller than your typical 5-inch device. If anything, it's much closer to the feel of Apple's old iPhone 5, which only had a 4-inch screen. It's light, too, at 137 grams, making it effortless to use with one hand.

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