We came to like the Sony Xperia XA1 last year, it was one of the sleekest smartphones around with a solidly built yet lightweight body. Naturally, we expected something similar with the XA2 but Sony decided to make some changes.
For starters, it's grown a little, but not in the way you'd expect given the bigger screen. The XA2 is actually shorter but a little wider. See, the new 5.2" display may be 4 millimeters taller than the XA1's but the phone is about as much shorter. It gained 3mm in width though, got almost 2mm thicker and nearly 30g heavier at a respectable 171g.
The Xperia XA2 is quite impressive up front. The new 5.2" screen stretches from left to right leaving almost no bezels in sight and ends on the signature curve of the so-called loop surface. And now that the forehead and the chin have finally started shrinking, Sony seems well on the right track in terms of design.Sony Xperia XA2 next to the Xperia XA1
The top and bottom sides of the XA2 are made of brushed metal and are completely flat. While this won't boost either the handling or the grip, they surely helped our photographers stand the XA2 up for those beauty shots.
Metal was used on the curved sides too, matte finish this time, which is not as grippy as the brushed top and bottom. The keys on the right-hand side seem to be metal too.
The back is where things get really interesting with the XA2. And we have to admit, we weren't fond of that newly-found curve at first. Simply put, it looks like the XA2's battery has swollen under the cover. The hump in the middle won't make the XA2 wobble on a flat surface, but it makes for the extra 2mm of thickness and indeed the phone looks fat at first glance.Sony Xperia XA2 next to a swollen battery
After using the XA2 for a while be began to appreciate the odd shape. It just fits naturally in the hand, following the curves of your palm. And halfway through the busy review routine, the funny shape become a much appreciated feature.
And the new stuff at the rear doesn't end there. The XA2 introduces some of the biggest changes the Xperia series have seen in a while. The 23MP camera is now centered at the top but the highlight of the new design is the repositioned fingerprint scanner, now also centered at the back. It's like Sony is finally catching up with the competition. About time, right?
The entire rear is made of matte plastic, which is fine, we are not dealing with a flagship here. But if you get the black model, like we did, expect some fingerprint smudges to stick and be quite a nuisance.
Other than that though, we found the Xperia XA2 to handle pretty well and be really comfortable to work with. It may not have the most secure grip, mostly compromised by the smooth, curved sides but it's by no means a deal-breaker and, hey, it can stand up straight without help.