Sony Xperia XA1 Plus Price in the Philippines is Php 16,990: Initial Review of Sony's Midrange Powerhouse

Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Samsung aren't the only smartphone brands that you should look to if you're planning to get a midrange Android smartphone within the next few weeks.

Legendary Japanese tech giant Sony Mobile also has a cool sub-Php 20K (or below $400 USD) handset that you might want to consider.

Priced at only Php 16,990 and now available at all authorized retail channels nationwide, the all-new Sony Xperia XA1 Plus represents the company's strong entry into the on-going 2017 to early 2018 midrange Android smartphone war involving big international brands here in the Philippines.

Having played with this model, I'd say it has five key strengths.

First, as you can see, it looks simply gorgeous. To be completely honest, Sony Xperia XA1 Plus looks more expensive than it actually. In fact, I think it already looks similar to that of Xperia XZ releases which sell for more than twice its price.

Sony Xperia XA1 Plus
Sure, the large 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display panel doesn't quite cover the entire face of the phone - unlike other mid-level Android phones this year - but its sides are near-bezel-less, giving it an updated look. This Matte Black version of the handset looks particularly sleek, I think, with the black bezels framing the screen, giving a cleaner look.

The smartphone flaunts a "flattened tube" look that fellow hardcore Sony fans call 'Omnibalance' design language. The company has had this for years, improving on it incrementally with each new mobile device iteration.

Sony Xperia XA1 Plus

Second, needless to say, Xperia XA1 Plus has stellar imaging capabilities. It has a whopping 23 MegaPixel f/2.0 rear camera that delivers clear and brilliant photos in various lighting conditions.

This main cam is complemented by an 8 MegaPixel f/2.0 front-facing shooter that delivers selfies that are instantly ready for sharing on Facebook or Instagram -- thanks to the built-in "Soft Skin" mode, which is Sony's version of a selfie beautification software.

Sony Xperia XA1 Plus

Sony makes the sensor for some of the most powerful cameraphones out there so - naturally - you can expect this model to come with above average imaging performance. Stay tuned for sample photos.

Third, well, XA1 Plus is first midrange release from Sony to have a fingerprint scanner, which the company previously only put on top-of-the-line models.

Unlike fingerprint sensors on other brands, this one is positioned on the side - something that's unique to Xperia phones currently - which makes it easier to access using the thumb when holding the phone if you're right handed or your pointer finger if you're left-handed.

Most midrange Android smartphone these days come with a hybrid secondary nanoSIM slot that also supports microSD cards. This means that with these phones, you'd have to sacrifice Dual SIM Dual Standby connectivity to beef up your storage.

What's nice about Sony Xperia XA1 Plus is that it has a dedicated microSD card slot hidden in the flap of plastic shown above along with the two nanoSIM card trays -- so you can get more space for your files and still be on a secondary network. That's the fourth thing I like about this phone.

And finally, what's cool about release is that - just like all Xperia smartphones from then until now - it has stellar audio performance; Great for those who love listening to music tracks on the go.

Just go to the settings and turn on ClearAudio+ and you can already enjoy instant high-quality sound experience through deeper basses and clearer trebles.

The loud speaker, which sits with the USB Type C port at the rear, also has good volume and likewise benefits from Sony's audio enhancement software.

Inside the phone's svelte policarbonate shell (with metallic sheen), Sony Xperia XA1 Plus runs its heavily skinned Android 7.0 Nougat operating system with a 64-Bit Octa-Core ARM Cortex A53 and Mali-T880MP2 GPU based Mediatek MT6757 Helio P20 chipset, has 4GB of RAM, and comes with 32GB of expandable onboard storage.

Sony Xperia XA1 Plus

In the limited amount of time that I played with this device, I didn't notice any annoying lags or stuttering when swiping through the phone's interface. I was told that the model can run any resource-intensive 3D games that are available for download at the Google Play Store.

Powered by a non-removable 3,430 mAh Li-Ion battery pack, Sony Xperia XA1 Plus is available in four classy and elegant hues including Pink, Gold, Blue, and Black. You can check out how all of these versions look in the flesh via my exclusive hands-on video below, which also features my interview with Ms. Pamela Uy of Sony Mobile Philippines about this much-awaited release.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name : Sony Xperia XA1 Plus
Type : Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category : Midrange
Dimensions : 155 x 75 x 8.7 mm
Weight : 189 grams
Available Colors : Black, Blue, Pink, Gold
Operating System : Android 7.0 Nougat with Xperia UI
Display : 5.5 inches (~71.7% screen-to-body ratio), 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density), IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Processor : 64-Bit Octa-Core (4x2.3 GHz Cortex-A53 + 4x1.6 GHz Cortex-A53), Mali-T880MP2 GPU, Mediatek MT6757 Helio P20 chipset
Internal Storage : 32GB, expandable via dedicated microSD card slot up to 256GB
Camera : Back: 23 MegaPixel, f/2.0 aperture, 24mm, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), LED flash
Front: 8 MegaPixels, f/2.0 aperture, 24mm, autofocus, 1/4" sensor size
Video Capture : Back - Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second
Front - 1080p
Audio and Video Playback : MP3, WAV, eAAC+, FLAC, MP4, H.264
Ports : USB Type C, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity : Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.2 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSPA+; 4G LTE-A Cat4, NFC
FM Radio : Yes
Sensors : Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, Fingerprint Scanner
Network : 2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 and SIM 2,
3G HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
(TBC) 4G LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 12(700), 13(700), 17(700), 18(800), 19(800), 20(800), 25(1900), 26(850), 27(800), 28(700), 29(700), 30(2300), 34(2000), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500)
SIM Card Type : Dual nanoSIM
Battery : Non-removable 3,430 mAh Li-Ion battery
Uptime : All-Day Uptime with Regular Use (TBC)
Value-Added Features : Aluminum Shell, Fingerprint Scanner, Xperia UI, 23MP Camera
Announcement : Philippines - September 14, 2017
Availability : Philippines - November 10, 2017
Price : Official SRP in PH: Php 16,990

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