Performance & software
Instead of sticking with the sub-par Mediatek CPUs found in last year's Xperia XA1, Sony has stepped things up for 2018 - and it makes all the difference.
The XA2 arrives with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, a much faster chip that delivers silky smooth performance in Android Oreo. It might not be an outright powerhouse like Qualcomm's top-spec Snapdragon 835, but it's perfectly capable of handling your everyday apps. With 3GB of RAM, multitasking didn't seem to be a problem, either.
Sony's take on Android sees only minor changes, too, which helps conserve resources. The XA2 really cuts down on the bundled apps, leaving you with more of the 32GB built-in storage to play with - and there's a microSD card slot if you need to add more storage later.
It's games that might reveal the phone's limits, but with none installed on the demo units we saw, it's tough to say whether there's anything in the Android app store that'll prove a challenge.
Battery life is a bit of an unknown, too. Sony is promising "all-day" use, so we'll be putting that to a test once we get a final review sample into the office.
Sony Xperia XA2 initial verdict
Well how about that: Sony took a fairly forgettable mid-range phone and fixed just about all the complaints we had about it.
The XA2 has a much more capable processor, higher resolution screen, and what looks to be a fantastic set of cameras too. If Sony gets the price right, it could be a very tempting phone for anyone on a budget.
We'll find out a little closer to launch, when we get one in for a full review.