Sony's Latest Xperia X Phone Boasts a Monster Front Cam

Maybe the gorgeous girl you're gaping at on Instagram was born with it, or maybe she has a Sony Xperia XA Ultra. The newly announced smartphone features a razor-sharp 16-megapixel front camera with what Sony calls "super low-light capabilities" aimed at taking great selfies under any circumstances. Little else about the phone's availability and price has been revealed, except that it will be available from July in select local markets.

The XA Ultra's 16-MP front cam not only comes with what Sony unabashedly describes as its "renowned low-light sensors," but also offers a smart selfie flash (which is presumably a method that lights up the phone's screen to brighten up a self-portrait). The front camera also boasts an optical image stabilizer, automatic timer and a Gesture Shutter. The latter lets you trigger a picture by raising a hand in your photo, which will start a countdown to let you get ready for your closeup.

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A 16-MP sensor offers a really high megapixel count in today's market, where most flagship phones have 5- or 8-MP front cameras. The XA Ultra's selfie shooter even beats most phones' rear cameras, which are generally about 12-MP sharp these days. Not to be outdone by its front-facing counterpart, the XA Ultra's rear cam packs a 21.5-MP rear sensor with hybrid autofocus, as well as quick launch and capture shortcuts.

Camera tech appears to be where Sony intends to differentiate its Xperia X line from the competition. The Xperia X, announced earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, offers what Sony calls predictive hybrid autofocus. The camera is designed to be able to tell where your selected subject will go in your frame, keeping it in focus. This worked well during our hands-on with the Xperia X

Sporting what the company calls an "infinity-feel borderless 6-inch curved glass display," the XA Ultra will be one of the largest midrange phones on the market when it arrives. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s Plus have 5.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens respectively. However, Sony offers a "mini screen" mode to make it easier to operate the XA Ultra with one hand. No word on the XA Ultra's display resolution yet, so we can't be sure how good media will look on the screen.

Despite the large panel, which should theoretically use more power, Sony claims the XA Ultra will last up to two days on a charge. The phone will also come with a Quick Charger UCH-12 that promises to deliver 5.5 hours of juice in just 10 minutes.

Sony also raves about the XA Ultra's bezel-less display and "razor thin design," but because I haven't actually seen the phone, all I can say is that the phone looks good based on the renders that Sony provided. We will be getting a closer look at the XA Ultra soon, so stay tuned for early impressions.

Whether the XA Ultra will be worth your time will depend on the phone's other specs, such as its performance, actual battery life and image quality. Stay tuned for a full review to find out how the Xperia XA Ultra stacks up to the competition.

Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.