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Sony’s PlayStation Experience: here’s what you missed

Sony just finished its standalone PlayStation Experience media event in Las Vegas this weekend, and it unloaded a ton of teasers on gamers. Not all of them good, unfortunately. But if you weren’t keeping tabs on the press conference, you need not fret as there is plenty of time to catch up before the games hit stores next year. As to what those games are, it’s a wide collection of sequels to iconic titles like Street Fighter and Yakuza, as well as a bunch of new inventions from indie developers.

As was leaked earlier, the latest Street Fighter V will, in addition to being a PlayStation 4 exclusive, also be available on PCs. But it won’t just be a simple case of availability. SF V will actually feature multiplayer cross-platform gameplay, meaning that you can dish it out with other players even if you’re not playing on the same platform.

Although not exactly a new game, Yakuza 5 will finally be landing on Western shores. The latest installment of the Yakuza series will arrive in the US and Europe, exclusive to the PlayStation 3 via PSN only. In preparation for that, Sony is making Yakuza 4 and Yakuza: Dead Souls available in Europe starting December 7 from the PlayStation Store.

Not all the upcoming games are from big franchises, and they need not be in order to be interesting. For example, Drawn to Death is a rather intriguing third-person arena shooter from God of War and Twisted Metal game designer David Jaffe. Eschewing the photorealistic rendering common in today’s games, Drawn to Death adopts a more exaggerated celshaded approach, with characters and a world seemingly scribbled on a teenager’s notebook.

A similar “from a child’s mind” theme, but a bit more light-hearted, comes via Wattam. With Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi at the helm, together with Journey producer Robin Hunickle, you can expect some interesting, if not downright nonsensical, themes and gameplay to ensue.

On the indie side, a few existing titles will be making their way to Sony’s gaming devices. Adventure platformer Shovel Knight is one. Transistor, from Supergiant, the makers of Bastion, will be landing on both the PS4 and the PS Vita. Orcs Must Die: Unchained sequel, Dobule Fine’s Gang Beasts, and horror sequel Killing Floor 2, are also some of the indie titles to look forward to next year.

One of the biggest disappointments perhaps, some even call it the biggest trolling this year, is Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation 4. Yes, the most beloved JRPG classic is coming to the latest gen console, but nothing has changed. Not remastered, not HD, and not even the most wished for remake in gorgeous 3D ala Advent Children. Then again, there is a surge of interest in retro-looking games lately, so this straight out port might just fit the bill.

If you have a lot of time to burn, you can also watch the whole two-hour long PlayStation Experience Keynote below.


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Light And Sony Reveal Multi

Light and Sony reveal multi-camera smartphone collaboration

Light and Sony are working together on multi-camera applications for smartphones, paving the way for handsets that combine the data from four or more sensors. Light started out developing its own computational imaging devices, combining multiple sensors – up to sixteen, in fact – to pull out DSLR-style detail from smartphone hardware.

The original Light L16 Camera launched in 2023, and met with mixed reviews. Users praised the core technology, Light mixing data from a variety of sensors to deliver lossless zoom, HDR shots, and more. However the usability was criticized, as was the overall size of the device.

As a standalone product it may not have been a total success, but as a preview of what smartphones might one day be capable of there was plenty of promise. Now, Light and Sony Semiconductors Solutions are working together to make that happen.

While it might not be common to see a Sony Xperia smartphone out in the wild, you probably find yourself face to face with a Sony camera sensor more often than you’d think. Sony Semiconductors Solutions has built up a thriving business providing CMOS sensors to phone-makers. Indeed, Apple, Google, Huawei, and more all use a Sony sensor. Even Samsung, which has its own CMOS range, still uses Sony’s cameras in some of its phones.

Although multiple cameras on a single phone was initially the preserve of only high-end devices, they’ve increasingly become commonplace across the price spectrum. Meanwhile, flagships are adding more and more sensors to tackle different tasks. The Samsung Galaxy S10 announced just this week, for example, has three cameras on its rear: regular, 2x zoom, and an ultra-wide camera that mimics the field of view of the human eye.

What most phones don’t do, however, is actually use their sensors simultaneously. That’s where Sony and Light’s work promises to come in. Together they plan to make reference design made up of Sony’s image sensors and Light’s multi-camera technology.

“This new partnership will allow us to work together to evolve and speed up the design of today’s multi-image sensor enabled connected devices,” Hank Ochi, president of Component Solutions Business Division at Sony Electronics, said of the collaboration. “Starting today, our jointly developed reference designs will help our smartphone OEMs to quickly and easily enhance the imaging capability of multi-camera enabled smartphones.”

Exactly what that will look like in practice remains to be seen, but the L16 does give us a few hints. It combines sixteen sensors each with a different focal length: five capture at 35mm, five at 70mm, and 6 at 150mm. Software brings the resulting data together for a DSLR-rivaling result. More software, meanwhile, allows for features like post-capture defocus.

Smartphones with sixteen sensors seem unlikely, at least given today’s level of technology. However Light did begin work on a nine sensor version intended for phones last year. Its techniques could well open the door to better image quality with multiple Sony sensors working together, rather than the current mode of operation where they typically work individually.

Best Sony Phone 2023: Xperia Phones Ranked

It’s a strange shortcoming, not least because Xperia phones can boast the latest processors and decent cameras, and yet, the company struggles to compete with its biggest rivals in the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Look past Sony’s unconventional naming systems; consisting of Zs, Xs and more recently, Roman numerals, and the chart below should help you better understand the current range, as well as which one will best suit your needs and budget.

We’ve looked at everything from the humble Xperia L4 to the cutting-edge Xperia 1 IV flagship, with its 4K 120Hz HDR display and triple 12-megapixel camera setup. Here is our ranking of the best Sony Xperia phones you can buy in 2023.

Best Sony phones 2023

1. Sony Xperia 5 IV – Best overall


Premium build

Incredibly capable cameras

Excellent battery life

Headphone jack

Front-facing speakers


Cameras take work and patience

Only two years of software and security updates

Slow charging

The Xperia 5 IV is our pick above the pricier, larger Xperia 1 IV. The more compact 5 IV has everything its pricier sibling has but in a nicer form factor. All it really lacks is the 1 IV’s truly optical moving lens, which is no big miss.

You get awesome utilitarian build quality, great battery life, a headphone jack, front facing speakers, and capable cameras – though the latter require patience as Sony has opted to prefer manual controls, like its Alpha cameras, for you to get the most out of them. The auto mode is good, but results aren’t on par with premium phones from Apple, Samsung and Google.

The phone charges a little slow too and it’s criminal that Sony only offers two years of software and security updates. This is the worst thing about an otherwise excellent phone, and Sony needs to do better here. But if it’s an Xperia you want, this is the one to buy.

Read our full

2. Sony Xperia 1 IV – Best camera system


Amazing 4K OLED screen

Slim, tall shape

True optical zoom


Very expensive

Overheats easily

Camera apps confusing

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Sony has stuck to its guns in recent years by producing premium (and expensive) smartphones bleeding edge camera hardware – and the Xperia 1 IV is no different.

It’s the best Sony phone you can buy thanks to its gorgeous 4K HDR OLED display, with a tall but manageable 21:9 aspect that allows full screen video playback for films and TV shows with no letterboxing. It’s also the perfect viewfinder for the several included camera and video apps. If you put in the time and effort to learn their professional-grade nuances, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding control over your photos.

That is this phone’s main caveat as well as its strength though, as this is not a camera for casual point-and-shooters – and let’s face it, that’s most of us. The phone also heats up a little too often, particularly when charging.

But it’s still the best Sony phone going if you want one of the best displays on a phone and the deepest level of options and control in photography and videography on a mobile device. It’s also the first phone ever to have a physically moving optical zoom lens, from 3.5x to 5.2x.

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3. Sony Xperia 1 III – Best for less


Superb performance

Best-in-class audio

Gorgeous display


Lacklustre battery life

Difficult to use camera


The Xperia 1 III offers up more of what we’ve come to know and love from Sony’s flagship phone line – namely a killer camera setup and an eye-popping 4K display.

The big upgrade for 2023 was the move to 120Hz, which joins a smattering of other cutting-edge display technologies; including 4K resolution, an HDR OLED panel and an uncommon 21:9 aspect ratio, that’s brilliant for enjoying movies on the go.

The rear camera setup takes a little work to get the most out of it but offers unprecedented control, especially with regards to video capture; while the pairing of a Snapdragon 888 chip and 12GB of RAM delivers some of the best performance for an Android phone out there.

Battery life and price are the main things holding the 1 III back from true greatness but for some, it’s otherwise an obvious choice.

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4. Sony Xperia 5 III – Good small option


Beautiful display

Excellent audio

Small size

Solid performance


Lacklustre battery life

Difficult to use camera

Heat issues


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As with Sony’s last two generations of flagship phone, 2023’s Xperia 5 III is essentially a more compact incarnation of the Xperia 1 III.

As such, it features most of the 1 III’s strengths, as well as the same set of weaknesses. There’s no 4K display to speak of here, instead having access to a (still-excellent) Full HD+ 6.1in 120Hz HDR OLED panel.

Performance is still strong (although the phone is prone to heat-up), while a consistent and capable set of cameras is primarily held back by a convoluted still/video app setup.

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5. Sony Xperia 1 II – Best for entertainment


Astounding display

Superb audio abilities

Versatile camera capabilities


Difficult to use camera


Sony’s 2023 flagship doubles down on the unique attributes of the original Xperia 1; with an enhanced 21:9 4K HDR OLED display, a wealth of audio technologies (including a 3.5mm headphone jack) and a Sony Alpha-influenced triple-camera module.

Its augmented but clean take on Android includes meaningful inclusions and despite not looking as competitive on paper as other Android flagships from the same time, its performance and battery longevity prove more than capable in real-world testing.

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6. Sony Xperia 5 II – Great for gaming


Nice 120Hz display

Great performance



No wireless charging

Difficult to use camera


In a world where so many smartphones look similar, you have to admire Sony’s desire to be different. Having a notch-less display and 3.5mm headphone jack is practically unheard of in the current smartphone market, but phones like the Xperia 5 II, remind us that we wish they were on more phones.

Not only does the 5 II feel like a notable upgrade over 2023’s model, it beat its sibling – the Xperia 1 II – to the punch with regards to adopting a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

Performance is superb across the board, while the all-too-rare front-facing stereo speakers are a delight.

On the flip side, the cameras flatter to deceive – unless you’re willing to play around in the Photo Pro app – while a surprising amount of bloatware taints an otherwise excellent software experience. There’s also no wireless charging – a major omission at this price point, but battery life is considerably stronger than that of its Mk III successor.

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7. Sony Xperia 10 III – Unique mid-ranger


Great battery life

Decent performance

Good software experience


Patchy cameras

Slow wired charging

Display still only 60Hz

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While 2023’s Xperia 1 and 5 flagships are more impressive entries in general, Sony’s inconsistencies with long-term software support mean – as of early 2023 – the more modest but newer Xperia 10 III makes for a more sensible buy within the Xperia family.

Performance is good enough for some competitive mobile gaming, battery life is great and Sony’s Android tweaks are both as meaningful and unobtrusive as ever.

Despite its unique attributes for a mid-ranger, however – namely the pairing of an OLED display and IP65/68 dust and water resistance – there are a few too many shortcomings versus competitors outside of the Sony camp to make this an easy recommendation beyond the most die-hard fans of the brand on a budget.

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8. Sony Xperia 1 – Great for media


Industry-first display

Clean software

Decent performance



Lacklustre battery life


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The Xperia 1 goes for broke on being really, really Sony – and it pays off. By catering to a niche audience, this phone can still please, if you want an amazing display with a cinematic aspect ratio, very capable cameras and excellent build quality.

The tall design still feels different but makes the phone slimmer and so easier to hold in one hand, while a dedicated shutter button and the Cinema Pro manual video recording app are tailor-made for film enthusiasts.

Just bear in mind this phone is quite old now so it may not get any more security software updates.

Read our full

9. Sony Xperia 5 – Good performance


Nice display

Great stereo speakers

Decent battery life



Inconsistent fingerprint sensor

Poor value

The Xperia 5 is a scaled-down version of the larger flagship Xperia 1 from 2023 but retains much of what makes the 1 so capable.

A then-flagship Snapdragon chip, the same considerately-customised take on Android and the same trio of rear cameras all marry up with the Xperia 1’s feature set. The 5’s smaller footprint does mean a smaller battery, smaller, lower-resolution display and a lower asking price, though.

Besides the 21:9 aspect ratio, however, this is a tough recommendation, considering what else is out there at the same price and entries that have launched since. It also may no longer be supported by Sony for software updates.

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10. Sony Xperia L4 – Most affordable


Decent upgrade

Premium design touches

Great software experience


Stilted software support

Slow charging

Inconsistent cameras

There still aren’t many phones around this phone’s low price point that boast an expansive 21:9 display, making this a unique budget mobile media player.

Look past the mediocre cameras and Sony’s excellent user experience, plus its somewhat premium design, will help the L4 stand out from the crowd for some.

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Sony Mdr Xb650Bt Unboxing And Quick Review

Sony MDR XB650BT Specifications

Sony MDR XB650BT Pros

Extreme levels of Bass

Great Bluetooth range of up to 10 meters

Extended battery life of up to 30 hours with 4 hours of charging.

Sony MDR XB650BT Cons

No provision for using the headphones in a wired mode if battery runs out

Sony MDR XB650BT Features

Bluetooth Connectivity

On-ear design

30mm drivers for good sound output

Sony MDR XB650BT Unboxing Photos

Sony MDR XB650BT Box Contents

Inside the box of the Sony MDR XB650BT, you’ll find the following contents.

The headphones themselves

A micro USB cable for charging the headphones

Quick start Guide

Warranty information

Design and Build Quality

In terms of the design, the headphones feature the classic Sony headphone design that we’ve seen before. These headphones have a matte finish on the ear cups which gives it a premium look.

The right ear cup of the headphone houses the microphone and the Bluetooth controls, along with the charging port for charging the inbuilt batteries in these headphones.

In terms of the portability of the headphones, the headphones fold flat so you can carry them in your bag without any problem. Unfortunately, the headphones don’t come with any carrying case, but the build quality of the headphones had me convinced that there is no need for a carrying case. The headphones have a sturdy plastic that makes up strong look on the headphones.

Sony MDR XB650BT Photo Gallery

Sound Quality and Performance

The sound quality of the MDR XB650BT is exceptionally well. If you are a bass lover, you’ll definitely enjoy using these headphones but even if you’re not, you can just turn down the bass from your phone’s equalizer and enjoy your type of music.

For testing the sound quality of the headphones, I paired it with my Nexus 6 from last year and played my EDM Playlist that has a lot of good songs with high bass and beats. The sound performance and the maximum volume that I could get from the headphones were exceptional. That’s all I can say about it.

Microphone Quality

The microphone on the headphones is located on the right ear cup and, first of all, you’ll think that how good can the microphone be if it’s all the way on the ear cup. But trust me, the microphone does get the job done. I used the MDR XB650BT with my smartphone, and while listening to music, I also attended a few calls. During the call, the sound clarity was great for me to listen and for the other person as well.

The microphone on the MDR XB650BT has some sort of noise cancellation as well because I was in a busy area when using them, and still the other person could hear me without any trouble.

Bluetooth Controls

As I’ve already told you about the Bluetooth controls, which are located on the right ear cup of the headphones. In terms of usability of these controls, I must say that these controls do work well and are easy to get used to. I tried controlling the music playing from an Android device as well as an iPhone and in both the cases, the controls worked just fine. There was just a minute lag at times when changing songs, but other than that, it was all great!


Sony Playstation 4 Liveblog: The Future Of Videogames?

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In reverse-chronological order–so, newest updates first._

8:06: We don’t know what the console looks like, what it costs, what games costs, when it’ll ship, what kind of hardware it uses beyond “x86 processor.” What we do know is that Sony just took two hours of my Wednesday night when I could have been at home on my couch under a really nice wool blanket watching House of Cards and drinking a nice mug of tea. HOW DARE YOU SONY

8:04: Guys, pretty sure we all just got pranked, because Sony doesn’t appear to be actually showing the PlayStation 4 hardware today. That’s the end of the presentation. It’s coming this holiday season, and we still don’t know what it looks like, and I have been drinking, goodnight.

7:59: Whoa, Bungie’s on stage. Bungie is the developer behind Halo, the series that single-handedly made the Xbox a successful–perhaps the most successful–product. Looks like they’re announcing a new game called Destiny which looks…um…exactly like Halo.

7:54: We’re updating a little more slowly now because this announcement is kind of really boring? Blizzard is on stage showing off Diablo 3 on PS4, which I suppose is notable because Blizzard is typically a PC developer, but it is not that interesting. Also we have begun drinking, also we are ordering pizza.

7:45: Colin: “Wouldn’t it be weird if they invited someone without a Y chromosome out?”

7:43: This is taking forever. Some guy who does not really speak english just said “I am not the brother of your sister” in a cadence like it was a killer Steven Wright one-liner. There was complete, uncomfortable silence, obviously, because what? I feel for him. Ubisoft is on stage now. Reminder: we still don’t know what the PS4 looks like.

7:38: Square Enix is up. Editorial Director Suzanne notes that the guy giving the announcement is “PRETTY.” His game looks like some kind of terrorism simulator with bonus wizards.

Square Enix at PlayStation 4 Event

7:31: A Japanese rep from Capcom is talking about the new engine his team built from the ground up for PlayStation 4. Everyone is watching the teleprompter…because he’s speaking Japanese.

7:25: Some kind of motion-sensing music game…thing…happening here? With the Move controllers? I have no idea what’s happening to be honest. It’s like a metal riff? Please stop Sony please.

7:20: Asked Colin to tell me about the crowd. He says: “Pretty sure someone is on Facebook, but cannot confirm. Someone just left. Ha. Then someone clapped when Sony said “30,000 polgyons.” Chill out, you.

7:12: Blow’s new game, The Witness, will start on PS4 only. Colin reports that “some people haven’t looked up from their laptops or phones in several minutes.”

7:09: Hahaha Jonathan Blow, the creator of independent art games like Braid, just came out and insulted everyone who just showed off games full of explosions.

7:07: Oh, it’s a sequel to Infamous. Hm. I mean those games are fine but that was an insane intro.

7:04: Uhhhh this took a really weird turn? It’s like an insane libertarian fantasy about combating constant surveillance…and then it turned into a superhero game? What is this

7:03: Take a shot if a sports game is next.

7:01: Verbatim text from Colin: “You drive. And are in a club. Wtf. I will be back soon to drink heavily.”

6:58: Sony’s showing off a game called, I swear, Driveclub. Apparently it’s a group driving game?

6:54: This game is ridiculously violent. I’m not sure we’ve seen anything besides skyscrapers and people dying bloody deaths.

6:51: First game to be shown off is the new Killzone game, to be called Killzone: Shadowfall. It looks very violent! And pretty good, graphically, I guess? It’s not a very innovative-looking game so it’s hard to tell. Seems kind of an incremental step visually.

6:44: Interestingly, this all seems totally focused on add-ons like streaming, sharing, and emulation. We still know basically nothing about the actual PlayStation 4.

6:42: Eventually they want you to be able to stream any PlayStation game, from any system, on any device.

6:40: You’ll be able to remotely play through a level on your device from a game that somebody else owns–that’ll be through Gaikai, the streaming company Sony bought a little ways back. And there’s something called “remote play,” which’ll let you play PS4 games on the PlayStation Vita (which we reviewed here). Sony wants that for every single game.

6:30 Some dude from Gaikai is talking now. Sony is partnering with Facebook and Ustream, calling it “the first social network with streaming.”

6:27: Big social push with the PS4, sort of like Facebook. There are profile pictures and all that kinda stuff. Also you can see your friends playing from all kinds of devices…not sure if that’s something people actually want.

6:24: Love the little things being announced–you can “suspend” games in low power states. Hit the button and you’ll come back to the exact right spot. That means no more “booting” really–resume games instantly! Also, games are playable even as they download–cool!

6:21: Showing an example game that Carney, from Sony, says he “architected.” Looks like a Pixar movie.

6:18: Looks like the controller rumors were exactly right–looks pretty much like what we saw. Has a Share button, plus a stereo camera that tracks via a light bar on top.

6:15: Looks like it has an x86 CPU–that means it’s basically as powerful as a modern PC. Plus 8GB of “unified memory,” whatever that means.

6:10: And it’s officially called the PlayStation 4, which is…not a surprise! Related: what kind of accent is this? Is it maybe Australian?

6:05: Andrew House, a British man with a goatee, is listing buzzwords about games. He really likes games I think.

6:02: It’s starting! There’s a video of controller buttons, then lasers, then a bunch of weird phrases like “Imagination is the one weapon” followed by pictures of Sony’s greatest hits. Also I’m pretty sure a Metric song is playing now.

5:59: [Ed note: I just asked Colin if there was anyone around he’d like to make fun of, publicly, on a post bylined with his name. His response: “no time to list them all. Only two minutes left before it starts.”]

5:53: Or is it the voice of the PS4???

5:51: Soothing voice informs me we have 10 minutes to go. Not sure if it’s a robot or a human voice.

5:50: First sighting of people taking pictures with a laptop! [Ed note: I just told Colin to leave if he feels uncomfortable in such a weird place but he’s sticking it out.]

5:48 There’s a balcony area filled with late people? Or possibly aristocrats? Also I’m pretty sure I was on Russian TV earlier so if you’re Russian, first of all, привет, second of all, please email me if I was on your TV.

Live From PlayStation Event: Cool Powerpoint Slide

5:46: There is absolutely nothing here except a PlayStation logo everyone is waiting to change into a giant “4.” I assume. There are a few iPad games going on next to me. INTENSE BOGGLE GAME.

5:42: Packed house. There’s a circle of cameras behind me set up in back. This place is huge–there are multiple floors of people!

Sony Xperia Xa2 Ultra Review: Big Screen, Mid



Our Verdict

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is a weird phone. Sony could have made a svelte mid-range Xperia at a lower cost than its flagships, but has instead made a £379 chunky mess. You can get the XZ1 for £449 in the UK now, and we strongly recommend that Sony phone over this one. If you really want a 6in 16:9 screen then the XA2 Ultra is one of the only ones on the market and its performance is solid. The rear camera is acceptable and the audio quality, run by Android Oreo, is top notch. But with cheaper mid-range phones like the Honor 7X boasting more compact 18:9 6in displays, the huge XA2 Ultra is a phone that will only appeal if you love the design, its audio quirks, and have a pocket big enough to fit it in.

Best Prices Today: Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra




View Deal

Sony makes good phones. Even  some great phones. But it cannot escape criticism for its design language and large bezels.

This isn’t because the bezels are actually that much of an issue. Big bezels do not a bad phone make. It’s because Sony releases so many phones with such regularity that we, and other tech reviewers and consumers, end up getting disappointed at seeing the same design every three to six months. The design itself isn’t much of a problem. 

But if you just hate on bezels (and many do), the Xperia XA2 Ultra won’t make you happy. It’s a pricier version of the XA2 that has more battery, a larger display and dual selfie cameras. Is that enough to ignore its unwieldy size? 

Price and release date

The cost of technology continues to rise and the XA range is more expensive than ever before. Although the Xperia XA2 Ultra isn’t quite at the top of the  mid-range, it’s still a fairly pricey 450€ with the smaller  Xperia XA2 100€ lower.

We’re still waiting for an official UK price but it’s listed for pre-order on  Clove and  Amazon at £379, £80 more than the regular £299 XA2. 

It’s currently listed on Amazon US at $449.95. 

This is not only more than its predecessor, but puts the device in direct competition with some brilliant phones that are effectively flagships with a mid-range price. It’s hard to beat the  OnePlus 5T and  Honor View 10, both at £449.

The XA2 Ultra should go on sale at the end of February. 

Design and build

At the front, the Xperia XA2 Ultra looks pretty much identical to the previous model. The main giveaway that it’s new comes via the two camera lenses in the top bezel.

Looking at the phone from the top or bottom sees a subtle slight curved design, complete with bevelled edges. However, the remainder of the XA2 Ultra looks distinctly average and even dated. 

Granted, the screen goes right to the edges at either side but the phone has fairly hefty bezels above and below. The wait for an 18:9 bezel-free Xperia goes on.  

Unless you have huge hands (and pockets) or simply love physically huge phones then the XA2 Ultra is too big. Previously, having a large 6in screen would justify its massive size but we’ve rightly come to expect slim and light handsets, even in the mid-range. 

The Samsung Galaxy A8 is in the same price range with a bezel-less design very similar to the pioneering Galaxy S8, making the XA2 Ultra look fairly ridiculous by comparison. 

It’s not just about the looks though, it’s also impossible to use one handed. The Xperia XZ1 had big bezels but was slim, light and packed stereo front facing speakers. The XA2 Ultra is very heavy and uses only its top bezel effectively, housing the headline dual selfie cameras.

The build quality on show is premium, and the metal design is robust though the back is a textured plastic.  Volume rocker, power key and the excellent dedicated shutter button are on the right side, while Sony has moved the fingerprint sensor to the rear for the first time, under the camera lens. 

Thankfully for American Sony fans, the fingerprint sensor now actually works thanks to the end of a weird long running legal battle. The camera also had a flash, as do the two front facing sensors. 

A speaker on the bottom edge accompanies a modern USB-C port. The XA2 Ultra amounts to a monolithic slab of smartphone, an unashamed brick of a thing.

It comes in the blue of our review unit, as well as black, gold and silver.

Specs and features

As you’d expect, the XA2 Ultra is a bigger version of the regular model. However, there’s more differences here than just a larger screen. 

The screen is actually exactly the same as the XA1 Ultra at 6.0in with a Full HD 1080p resolution resulting is a fairly poor 367ppi. That’s a decent chunk bigger than the 5.2in XA2.  

Despite the low ppi, Netflix binges on the train look pretty decent. But you’ll have to put up with its mad 221g weight, one of the only phones we’ve reviewed recently that tips the scale over 200g. For comparison, the 6in screened Honor 7X is just 165g.  

It’s nice to have a big screen but you’ve got to really want it here to live with the size and weight of the phone, as the 16:9 aspect ratio makes it huge. The 6in screen on the recent Honor 7X is a slighter 18:9, looks great and costs £269.99 at the time of writing – £100 less than the XA2 Ultra.  

The display settings hidden away do improve things though. Usually phones come with the saturation turned up which is less natural but more attractive. You can turn on standard mode to boost it at little, or go all-out with super vivid mode. We prefer standard, but it’s good that the option is there to bring some life to the natural but dull out of the box settings. 

Unlike the Mediatek chip in the previous XA1, the XA2 Ultra has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor. A small upgrade on the power-efficient 625, the 630 here proved to give excellent battery life both in real world usage and the Geekbench 4 battery test, where it ran for an excellent 9 hours and 57 minutes. The pairing of energy efficient chip and 3,850mAh battery proves solid. There’s also NFC for mobile payments. 

There’s a relatively tame 32GB storage on board but you can expand with a microSD card up to 256GB. Some regions will get a 64GB option but both versions come with 4GB RAM, an upgrade on the regular XA2’s 3GB.

As is the case for most phones in this price range, there isn’t wireless charging or any form of official water or dust resistance rating. Despite this, the Ultra has a decent set of specs for the price.


The XA2 Ultra’s camera mostly excels in daylight landscapes

In low light the sensor struggles considerably

Sony markets the Ultra as a phone for selfies as the two front facing cameras allow for wide angle group shots, or just a way to get more of the background in. It’s quite good but you get the fish bowl effect often seen at the edges of pictures taken with such a set up. You may also want to turn off the on-by-default skin softening mode.

A real boon here is the selfie cameras’ optical image stabilisation, something the rear camera actually lacks. It means your group selfie shots will be largely blur free, and it’s good to see on the phone considering the price.

If you’re into your selfies you will enjoy the feature, but there are better camera set ups on other mid-range phones. 

The wide angle selfie cam in action

One nice-to-have feature is 4K video recording, unusual on a mid-range handset. The phone does struggle to process it though and lags considerably during recording. The slo-mo recording feature from Xperia flagships has also been ported over for recording bursts of 120fps footage.

The added AR feature is fun to turn your living room into a prehistoric scene and the timeshift burst mode lets you select the best shot from several, handy if you have a moving pet or child to snap. 

We still recommend spending more on a higher-end phone if photography is important to you. Despite Sony’s insistence that the camera tech here is top end, it isn’t quite. A better display and better software processing are needed such as on Google’s  Pixel 2 or the  Huawei Mate 10 Pro. 


Where the XA2 Ultra does deliver is in its audio delivery. Though it lacks front facing speakers, the wired headphone experience on the phone is great. ClearAudio+ is a software setting that optimises the sound output, making music and video brighter and more immersive.  

It’s a surprisingly decent feature, but might not be to your taste if you prefer a compressed sound and isn’t driven by a hardware DAC like on the (admittedly pricier) LG V30.  


Pleasingly, the XA2 Ultra comes with Android 8.0 Oreo on-board. This is excellent news for a mid-range device, and Sony has beaten tons of handsets double the price to get it. You can enjoy features like picture in picture and password auto-fill. Sony is also doing a good job at the moment with monthly security updates. 

Sony’s Android skin is minimal, with only minor aesthetic changes to Google’s stock version. It’s very crisp and clean and doesn’t make any change for change sake like Honor does with its EMUI skin.

Sony still pre-installs and pushes SwiftKey on you, but we prefer to download and use Google’s Gboard.


Below are benchmarks from the XA2 Ultra and some comparable phones. The Ultra is a solid choice for mobile gaming, though if that’s the reason you’re looking to buy you will want to spend a bit more on a high-end phone.  

Casual gaming looks great, and the extra money you will pay compared to the Honor 7X (with its Kirin 659 chip) or the Moto G5S Plus (with the older Snapdragon 625) will be worth it.  

Multi-tasking is also fluid even when using many apps or when in split screen mode but the phone can lag when shooting and playing 4K video.

Specs Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra: Specs

Android 8.0 Oreo

Qualcomm Snapdragon 630


32GB storage (microSDXC support up to 256GB)

6.0in Full HD (1080×1920)

23Mp rear, 24mm wide-angle, f2.0 lens

16Mp front camera with OIS

8Mp front camera, 120 degree wide angle

Bluetooth 5.0


USB Type-C

Fingerprint scanner

3580mAh battery with Quick Charging 3.0



Sony Xperia Z3 Vs Lg G3 Comparison Review

Our Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Xperia Z3 and PS4 owners may find this battle a no brainer thanks to PS4 Remote Play. However, at more than £100 less expensive, the LG G3 is our overall winner with its amazing Quad HD screen, excellent camera and premium build.

The fight for top spot in the smartphone market continues to rage and Sony’s latest effort is the Xperia Z3 but can it outpace the amazing LG G3? Find out in our Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 comparison review. See also: The best smartphones of 2014

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Price

Both phones we’re looking at here are premium and although Sony’s official price for the Z3 is £549, Clove has it for just £515 which isn’t too bad for a brand new smartphone. Read: Sony Xperia Z3 release date, price and specs.

However, because the G3 has been around for six months, it’s already reasonable price (£479) is even more reasonable and you can get one for just £379 from Amazon which is quite a big saving in this comparison.

Cheaper isn’t necessarily better though, so read on to find out whether the Xperia Z3 can trump the LG G3 in design, hardware and software.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Design

The Xperia range has always been quite big and the Z3 is still a pretty large phone but Sony has trimmed it down to 7.3 mm and 152 g. Its rounded sides make it more comfortable to hold than previously.

Meanwhile, the LG G3 is surprisingly manageable considering its screen size (see below) thank to tiny bezels and a rounded back. At its thickest point, it’s a bit bigger than the Z3 at 8.9 mm but it’s lighter than its rival at 149 g.

That weight is largely down to the fact Sony uses glass front and back with an aluminium frame while LG uses a plastic rear cover with a metallic skin. Both feel equally premium in the hand.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Screen

Sony has made no change on the Z3’s screen compared to its predecessor so it has a 5.2in display with a Full HD resolution. It’s a great screen at 424ppi and Sony says the reason not to go to Quad HD is partly because it’s unnecessary and the negative effect on battery life.

LG was the first to equip a smartphone with a Quad HD display (1440 x 2560) resulting in a 534ppi pixel density. It’s something of a debate whether this kind of resolution is worthwhile on a screen this size but we thinks it’s incredible and the LG G3 has the best display of any smarthphone.

It’s worth noting that although LG has done a great job with tiny bezels, 5.5in is still quite large so some users may find the size difficult to use. In this comparison, it’s no harder than the Z3 with its chunky top and bottom bezels, though.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Processor and memory

Things are pretty similar here with both phones running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, a quad-core chip clocked at 2.5 GHz. It’s a powerful and reliable processor but isn’t 64-bit so won’t run Android L to its full potential when these handsets are upgraded.

The Xperia Z3 has 3 GB of RAM like the  Xperia Z2 o but you’ll have to but the 32 GB model of the LG G3 to match this as the 16 GB model has 2 GB. LG says the software is designed for 2GB so the extra GB is headroom.

See also : What’s the fastest smartphone of 2014: processor, web and graphics performance comparison.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Battery life

Sony has opted to stick with Full HD to offer great battery life, touting two days from the 3100mAh non-removable battery. We’ve found that it easily lasts this amount of time and will go even further with Son’s excellent Stamina mode.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Storage

As we’ve just explained, the LG G3 comes in two storage capacities: 16- or 32 GB. That is at least some choice which Sony doesn’t offer because the Z3 only comes in 16 GB. Fortunately, both have a microSD card for adding up to 128 GB additional storage.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Wireless

As we’ve come to expect from 2014 flagship smartphones, the Xperia Z3 and LG G3 come with the latest wireless technology: 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and Cat 4 LTE 4G. However, the LG G3 is the only one in this comparison to have an IR blaster and wireless charging.

It’s not a big deal but the Z3 uses a nano-SIM while the G3 uses the more common micro-SIM.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Unique features

We’ve already mentioned the G3’s IR blaster and wireless charging so that’s two unique features with LG boasts and it can also track your steps out-of-the-box.

The Xperia Z3 has the waterproof design (see above) and it also has front facing stereo speakers. Interestingly, both the Xperia Z3 and G3 support playback of High-Res audio although Sony has added support for DSD files making it the first to do so.

Sony’s other magic trick is PS4 Remote Play which will arrive in November. This allows PS4 owners to play games on the Xperia Z3 rather than the TV which the console is plugged into. That’s a neat feature but only if you own a PS4 or plan on getting one.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Cameras

More of the Xperia Z3 hardware is the same as the Z2’s with a 20.7 Mp rear camera (you can hardly blame the firm) and it does have improvements in the form of a 28 mm wide angle lens and up to ISO 12800 which is the highest on any smartphone. We also love the dedicated camera/shutter button.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Software

Both the LG G3 and Xperia Z3 come pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat but Sony keeps things simpler with its user interface.

LG G2.

While LG’s is recognisable as Android, the firm has done a lot more customisation than Sony. It’s still easy to use and looks good too. It has far more built-in features than the Xperia Z3 with LG’s range of Q apps (QMemo, QSlide, QVoice and QRemote). You can also run two apps side-by-side, adjust the keyboard size and there are ways of making the large screen easier to use including the ability to reposition the dial pad and an optional navigation button for the notification bar.

While the LG G3 is packed with more features, it’s understandable for a simpler setup to be more appealing. This is where personal taste is important.

Specs Sony Xperia Z3: Specs

Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS

5.2in Triluminos Display (1080×1920, 424ppi)

2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU

Adreno 330 GPU


16GB internal storage

microSD slot (up to 128GB)

20.7Mp rear camera AF with LED Flash

2.2Mp front camera

Video recording at up to 2160p

Wi-Fi up tp chúng tôi 4.0


4G LTE Cat 4


3100mAh battery

Dust and waterproof (IP68)



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