Sony’s rapid software update pace for older Android devices, mid-rangers included, comes with a fair share of risks and disadvantages, as the Japanese OEM occasionally takes too little time to iron out kinks and make sure everything’s nice and smooth before green-lighting an OTA rollout.
On the plus side, you have to commend the company for its proactive approach to quashing bugs and fighting even “minor” performance inconsistencies. After very quickly solving the stability problems of the Xperia Z5 family, Z3+ and Z4 Tablet’s Nougat promotions a few months back, Sony has just done the same for the lower-end XA and XA Ultra.
In the space of a week or so, all glitches have been fixed, and general system volatility mitigated, with revised Android 7.0 upgrades already out over-the-air. The two’s build numbers are subtly altered, from 33.3.A.0.127 to 33.3.A.0.131 and 36.1.A.0.179 to 36.1.A.0.182 respectively, and at least in theory, you should get the best user experience yet.
Replaced by second-gen models near the bottom of Sony’s mobile hardware food chain, the original Xperia XA and XA Ultra are still pretty smart buys from retailers like Best Buy or B&H. The former has the 720p 5-inch XA on a “clearance” sale at a discounted price of $162, which the latter lowers to $150, also for a limited time. Meanwhile, the 1080p 6-inch XA Ultra costs $250 and up, which doesn’t feel ultra-affordable, but it’s a whopping 150 bucks less than the XA1 Ultra.