Sony yesterday launched its new mid-range smartphone – the Xperia XA1 at a price of Rs 19,990. This new mid-range handset from Sony comes just after the company launched its Xperia XZs last week for a price of Rs 49,990. When we talk about the entire Xperia lineup, Sony hasn’t been in the best of form recently with an outdated design and specifications for the price. On the other hand, Chinese handset manufacturers like Gionee are slowly climbing up in the offline market. The company recently launched its A1 mid-range device which had some decent specifications for the price (Rs 19,999) and looks to be a worthy contender for the sub 20K mid-range battle. While Sony surely comes with its best in class camera, Gionee has some serious value for money up its sleeves. Let’s break down the verdict between the Sony Xperia A1 and Gionee A1.
Design and Display
While the design is something where not a lot of innovation is witnessed these days, these smartphones are radically different from each other in terms of design. Starting with the Xperia XA1, Sony has gone in with a familiar design but with a strange set of materials. The Xperia XA1 has aluminium sides with polycarbonate at the back painted with a diamond-cut finish for better grip. The back is flat giving it a brick like design. The side bezels are extremely thin whereas the top and bottom chins are, perhaps, the ugliest part of the device. We have a dedicated camera shutter button on the right with power and volume rockers just above it. The device is 8 mm thick which is decent but when we take the battery into consideration, the device appears to be tad thick.
On the other hand, Gionee A1 comes with a pretty standard aluminium unibody design which is curved around the back which in turn makes it easy to hold despite its bigger size. The Gionee A1 comes in Black, Gray and Gold colour and is also a lot heavy weighing at 182 g compared to 143 g of Xperia XA1. Design wise, the Gionee A1 surely feels more premium and sturdy but it will not be an ideal device if you have small hands. That is because the Gionee A1 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display. On the other hand, the Xperia XA1 comes with a smaller 5-inch HD (720p) IPS LCD display.
To sum up, Gionee A1 has an upper hand in terms of the overall feel while Xperia XA1 bounces back with its compact form factor. However, the former takes the win in the display department with its Full HD AMOLED panel which will offer you much better colour than on Xperia A1’s 720p IPS LCD panel.
Hardware and Software
Once done with the exteriors, the internals portrays a different story. On the Xperia XA1, we get a 2.3 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6757 Helio P20 chipset coupled with Mali T880MP2 GPU. The device has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is further expandable up to 256GB via a dedicated microSD card.
Meanwhile, the Gionee A1 is powered by MediaTek’s MT6755 Helio P10 chipset which is clocked at 2.0 GHz along with Mali T860MP2 GPU. Besides, the device packs in 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which is again expandable up to 256GB via microSD card which this time uses SIM slot 2. Both the devices run on Android 7.0 Nougat with their respective skins on top of it.
In terms of performance, the Xperia XA1 does come with a more powerful processor but fell down in terms of RAM. MediaTek’s Helio P20 is built out of 16nm process which makes it more battery efficient and coupled with the fact that it has higher clock speed and better GPU makes it a more powerful SoC by default. While 4GB RAM will surely be take in more apps at a time, 3GB RAM will not pose any major issues while multitasking. A dedicated SD card slot on the Xperia XA1 might interest some users.
Well, Sony has been an epitome of perfect cameras on a smartphone at least when we talk about hardware. The Xperia XA1 comes with a 23-megapixel rear camera which boasts Sony’s Exmor RS mobile sensor with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection and laser autofocus and LED flash while at the front, we get an 8-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture. Both the front and rear cameras can record only in 1080p.
On the other hand, Gionee A1 comes with a 13-megapixel sensor at the back with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF paired with a 16-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture as well. Both the cameras here can record 1080p videos as well.
Commenting on the camera performance based on the specifications can be highly misrepresentative as a lot depends on a device’s software processing. While megapixel does play a role in image detailing, it is not the only thing in a smartphone’s camera module. Given Sony’s past reputation with smartphone cameras, the Xperia XA1 will offer some commendable picture quality whereas Gionee A1 banks more on the other side i.e. the 16-megapixel front camera.
Battery, Connectivity and Others
To fuel up the larger 5.5-inch Full HD screen, Gionee A1 comes with a 4100 mAh non-removable battery inside. Further, the fact it is an AMOLED screen will save you a little more battery as well. On the other hand, the Xperia XA1 dwarfs its way here with a 2300 mAh battery inside. A smaller display with a lower resolution coupled with a battery efficient chipset will still not able to match up the battery performance seen on the Gionee A1.
In terms of connectivity, both the smartphones come with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 (v4.0 in Gionee A1), GPS etc. The Xperia XA1 gets a slight edge in this department with NFC, USB Type-C, however, it lacks a fingerprint scanner. Both the handsets also comes with their respective fast charging capabilities
To wrap up this contest, you will have to make some strong decisions here. The Xperia XA1 comes with a more powerful chipset, compact form factor and USB Type-C port while the Gionee A1 takes away the crown with a better display, bigger battery and the fact that it comes with a fingerprint scanner. Cameras are something which needs to be tested thoroughly although based on initial impressions we expect Sony to be better at the back and Gionee to be better at the front. For our verdict, we would go with the Gionee A1.