The Xperia XA1 Plus comes pre-loaded with Sony's Album app. We've always enjoyed it for its comprehensive feature set and ease of use, and it's no different here. Under the default view, at the very top of the list is a slideshow, showing off your photos. Lower down, the first photo of each month is shown at twice the size of other images. Photos are organized by month, and you can use pinch-zoom to change the size of thumbnails (then they smoothly animate into the grid).
You can also browse photos on a map (you can manually add geotag info too) or by folder. This includes network storage so that you can view photos from a DLNA server (your home computer, for one). Then there's integration with online albums - Facebook, Flickr, and Google Photos (which Sony stubbornly keeps calling Picasa).
Image editing is handled by several apps, including the default Image Editor, which is pretty powerful itself.
Sketch lets you fingerpaint over a photo or a paper-like texture, add text, stickers, photos and so on. If you're talented, you can share your creations on the Sketch mini-social network. We stuck with just browsing through what others drew.
Movie Creator is similar to the Google Photos Assistant. It automatically creates short videos from the photos and videos you've shot. You can do it manually too: pick photos and videos, change their order, and add color effects and music (you get a small audio collection to start off with, but you can use custom files too). Then tap the Share button and send out your animated slideshow.
The Music app is Sony's custom player that comes pre-installed on the XA1 Plus, and it feels like part of the same software package as Album. The contextual side menu offers many of the same browsing options - by folder, network folder, and online services like Spotify (it's just a link to the Spotify app though). You can share music from the phone to compatible players.
The app can find the track's video on YouTube, look up info about the artist on Wikipedia, and search for lyrics on Google.
The Music app offers a variety of audio settings - ClearAudio+ determines the best audio quality settings depending on the track you're listening to. Dynamic normalizer evens out the volume differences across tracks, which is great if you've mixed multiple albums from multiple sources.
The Xperia XA1 Plus comes with an FM radio receiver and an app to go with it - and Sony's is probably the best one we've seen. It has nice visuals, pulls the stations' names over RDS, and you can pick favorites. You can also assign colors to group the stations - say blue for news, yellow for rock music, or purple for house stations.
There's no Track ID anymore, not just on the XA1 Plus but at all - Sony shut down the service altogether on September 15.
Named simply Video, the app does little more than what it says on the tin. It can play your local videos and videos on your home network, plus it has extensive subtitle settings. The TV guide functionality that was part of the app on older phones has been removed for a while now - since the end of May.
The Sony Xperia XA1 Plus audio output is excellently clean when used with an active external amplifier, but only average in loudness.
Clarity degradation caused by headphones consists of a smallish hike in stereo crosstalk, which means you still get to enjoy pretty accurate audio reproduction. Sadly, the volume drops to below average so it’s not quite perfect.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.