Sony’s latest Xperia smartphones boast changes, but not a major redesign

sony xperia xz2 premium rumors and news
As was widely expected, Sony is unveiling the latest models from its Xperia lineup — the Xperia L2, XA2, and XA2 Ultra — at CES 2018.

Those of us who had been hoping for a major redesign of Sony’s Omni-Balance design that the Xperia line has been rocking since 2013 may be in for a letdown with these devices. Still, there are some clear changes here, the most obvious being the switch to a rear-placed fingerprint scanner on each of the three models — similar to the placement on Huawei devices and the Pixel 2 range. Since this is present on each of the three models here, it’s probably safe to assume that we’ll be seeing more of this choice in the other Xperia phones in 2018. So love it or hate it, it’s likely here to stay for now.

We’re looking at three new models here — an update to the Xperia’s budget range with the Xperia L2, and two new models in Sony’s “super midrange” with the Xperia XA2, and XA2 Ultra. Here’s everything that we know about these devices.

Xperia L2

xperia l2

Despite Sony pulling the plug on its drive for “Affordable Premium” devices, the Xperia L2 is looking to be a solid entry-level addition to the Xperia lineup. Physically, it’s not too much of a change from the original Xperia L1 released in 2017, with the exception of that rear-placed fingerprint scanner. Dimension-wise, the L2 is slightly smaller than the L1, and packs the same 5.5-inch display as its predecessor, as well as the same 1,280 x 720 resolution.

There are also improvements internally. The 1.45 GHz Quad Core processor we saw in the Xperia L1 has been upgraded to a 1.5 GHz processor in the L2, and it also comes with a 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage — both increases from the previous model. The battery has seen some serious improvements, going from a 2,620mAh battery in the L1 to a seriously beefy 3,300mAh on the Xperia L2. That’s an increase of more than 25-percent — which should mean that the Xperia L2 will have some seriously good battery life.

Sony doesn’t seem to have skimped on the cameras either — the rear of the phone has a 13-megapixel snapper that comes equipped with a maximum ISO of 3200. The front camera is a wide-angle 8MP lens that should allow for some great-looking selfies thanks to the additional scope offered by the wide-angle lens.

It’s not all good news. As we said, the physical changes are relatively minor. The L2 also doesn’t come with the latest version of Android — Android 8.0 Oreo — and will instead ship with a version of Android from 2016 — Android Nougat 7.1.1. As of yet, there’s no word from Sony as to whether the L2 will be upgraded to the latest Android version at a later date. That’s got to be a disappointment for any fans of the Xperia L1 who were looking for a serious update with the Xperia L2.

The Xperia L2 will be available in black, pink, and gold in late January/early February. Pricing has not been announced yet, and it’s unclear if it will be available in the U.S.

Xperia XA2

xperia xa2

Like the Xperia L2, don’t expect too many physical changes between the Xperia XA1 and the XA2. Both devices are much the same in terms of dimensions, and the fingerprint scanner on the back is the main difference between the two. The XA2 does have a slightly larger display, 5.2 inches compared to 5 inches, so it’s clear that Sony has been able to shrink the top and bottom bezels on the device, even if it’s only a little. The XA2 is now also running a full HD 1080p resolution, replacing the 720p display on the older device.

Internally, the XA2 should be a much more powerful device, thanks to the inclusion of the Snapdragon 630, a respectable midrange processor. The XA2 comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage as standard. Like the L2, the XA2’s battery has seen a significant upgrade, increasing from 2,300mAh to 3,300mAh.

Camera-wise, the XA2 is packing a 23MP shooter on the rear that comes with the ability to shoot video in 4K and slow-motion video at 120fps (frames-per-second). A maximum ISO of 12800 should mean that the single lens is excellent at nighttime photography, though it’s not clear whether the sensor size has been increased to match the ISO. Around the front of the phone, there’s an 8MP selfie camera with the same 120-degree wide-angle lens as the L2, so get used to no longer having to squeeze everyone into frame, or moving to fit as much of the background in as possible.

The Xperia XA2 will launch with Android 8.0 Oreo, and be available in silver, black, blue, and pink (in selected markets) in late January/early February. We don’t know how much the XA2 will cost, and whether it will be available in the U.S.

Xperia XA2 Ultra

xperia xa2 ultra

The Xperia XA2 Ultra is much the same device as the XA2, but with a few differences. Physically, it’s again much the same to the previous XA1 Ultra, save for a slight thinning of the top and bottom bezels. The 6-inch screen outputs a full HD 1080p resolution, and it’s powered by the same Snapdragon 630 as the XA2. There’s 4GB of RAM, as well as the choice between 32GB and 64GB of internal storage.

Around the back of the phone, you’ll find the new fingerprint scanner and the same single lens as the XA2 — but you’ll find a surprise on the front. The wide-angle 8MP lens on the front of the device has a friend — a 16MP lens with optical image stabilization (OIS). Sony is clearly going all in on making sure XA2 Ultra owners get the best selfies possible.

The battery is a massive improvement, increasing to 3,580mAh from the 2,700mAh on the previous XA1 Ultra.

Like the XA2, the XA2 Ultra will launch with Android 8.0 Oreo, and be available in black, silver, blue, and gold (selected markets only) in late January/early February. Pricing and availability has not been announced.

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