Less than a year has passed since Sony launched its most recent XA series device, but now it already has a successor. The Sony XA2 was announced at CES 2018 in Las Vegas and comes with a slightly refreshed design, bigger display and bigger battery as well as enhanced camera optics. 

Read on to find out the differences between this phone and its predecessor. 

Sony Xperia XA2 vs Xperia XA1: Design

  • Xperia XA2 is slightly shorter, wider and thicker
  • Noticeably thinner bezels on new model
  • XA2 has polycarbonate back
  • XA1 had metal casing

As is standard for Sony, the latest Xperia is recognisable as an Xperia device. It's square-ish and simple. Both phones feature the very minimal bezel on the sides of the screen. This time, however, the top and bottom portions of the front frame are slimmer too. 

Because of this, the XA2 is just 142mm tall. That's 1mm shorter than its predecessor, despite having a larger 5.2-inch display. At 70mm wide, it is 3mm wider than the XA1 and its 9.7mm thickness is fairly chunky by today's standards, and 1.7mm thicker than the XA1. 

Its 171 gram weight is also considerably heftier than the 144 gram XA1, which is likely down to the increased battery capacity which will be covered further down this comparison. 

Both phones are built from a combination of metal and glass, with both featuring sturdy aluminium frames. The XA2 has flashes of polished metal at the top and bottom chamfers, but the back panel itself is made from a colour-matched polycarbonate, rather than a thin piece of metal. 

Perhaps more importantly, the XA2 has a fingerprint sensor on the back panel, which is something the XA series has lacked up until now. Neither phone has IP-rated water or dust resistance. 

XA2 will be available in silver, black, blue and pink while the XA1 had white, black, gold and pink options. 

Sony Xperia XA2 vs Xperia XA1: Display

  • At 5.2-inches, XA2 is larger
  • XA2 has full HD resolution
  • XA1 is 720p 5.0-inch

Sony has increased both the resolution and the size of the display on the XA2. This year, the capable mid-range phone has a full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) panel stretched over a 5.2-inch panel. That means it's an impressive 424 pixels-per-inch, on an IPS LCD screen. 

Compare that to the 1280 x 720, 5-inch IPS LCD panel on the XA1 which had only 294 pixels-per-inch, and it strikes you just how much of an improvement this is. 

As previously mentioned, the screen keeps the edge-to-edge look, and is protected against daily bumps and scrapes by a sheet of Corning's Gorilla Glass, just like the XA1. 

Sony Xperia XA2 vs Xperia XA1: Cameras

  • Both phones have 23MP main sensors
  • XA2 can shoot 4K video
  • XA2 also has 120fps slow-mo
  • New phone selfie camera has 120-degrees super-wide angle lens

As is always the case with Sony phones, both devices boast impressive optics, but the new model has taken things up a notch. Both phones have the same 23-megapixels on a 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor, but the XA2 has improved in other areas. 

With an ISO12800 maximum that's double the XA1's ISO6400, low light photography should be much brighter (although probably grainer when pushed to extremes). Similarly, you can now shoot slow motion video at up to 120fps, whereas the XA1 didn't offer a frame-rate worth shouting about. What's more, the XA2 is capable of shooting 4K resolution video, while the XA1 only offered 1080p. 

Like its predecessor, the XA2 also offers the now-established SteadyShot technology to minimise any blur from shaky hands. 

Both offer wide angle 8-megapixel front facing cameras, but with its 120-degree super-wide lens, the XA2 again takes things up to the next level, allowing you to fit more people and background into your selfies. 

Sony Xperia XA2 vs Xperia XA1: Hardware and specs

  • Older model used Mediatek Helio P20 chip
  • XA2 has Snapdragon 630 processor
  • Both 3GB RAM and 32GB storage
  • MicroSD card support on both
  • 3,300mAh vs. 2,300mAh 

Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 6-series chips have been doing well over the past couple of years, so it's a wise choice from Sony this year. The XA2 comes equipped with a Snapdragon 630 processor, which should represent a decent improvement over the Mediatek Helio P20 processor found in the XA1. 

As far as storage and memory goes, both phones are the same. Both the 2017 and 2018 XA phones are equipped with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, which we think is the absolute minimum you'd want in a phone these days. 

The biggest improvement from Sony this year is in the battery. Last year's model had a 2,300mAh capacity cell, which isn't generous by any comparison. This year, Sony's added a massive 1,000mAh, bringing the capacity to 3,300mAh. This is the same capacity found in the OnePlus 5T, which comes with a larger screen and more powerful processor. 

Last year, Sony's XA1 phone chargers were equipped with its own Qnovo Adaptive Charging to ensure that the fast charging power delivered by the MediaTek PumpExpress technology didn't harm the battery.

Similarly, this year, the same technology exists, but using the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 power. That means you get really fast charging, but safely. 

Sony Xperia XA2 vs Xperia XA1: Software

  • XA2 launching with Android Oreo
  • XA1 runs Android Nougat

Both phones run Android with Sony's own flavour of the software, and loaded up with additional apps that Sony deemed useful to add. The big difference between the two is that the XA2 will launch running the latest version of Android. That's Android 8.0 Oreo.

Sony Xperia XA2 vs Xperia XA1: Price

Currently, the XA1 costs £199 in the UK, which makes it an incredibly affordable, decent device. We don't have a price for the XA2 yet, but on O2 UK, it costs £2 per month more on contract with £0 upfront, suggesting the SIM-free price will be slightly higher than last year's model. 

Sony Xperia XA2 vs Xperia XA1: Conclusions

While the screen resolution and size bump is welcome, as is the reduced bezel around the display, it's the bigger battery that's going to make the most significant difference here. If the phone can last two days between charges for moderate/light users, that's going to make the XA2 one of the most long-lasting phones available, especially in the middle tier.