Recently the opportunity to purchase a new XA2 Plus dual sim at good price came up, so I bought the phone and flashed SFOS 184.108.40.206 on it without any errors or problems. I bought it because it is the 6GB RAM/64 GB storage model, which is basically twice as much RAM and storage as my standard XA2 (but obviously not quite as much as the 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage as my X10 iii).
The base Android delivered with the phone was Android 8, and I used 220.127.116.11 r1 v16 of the XA2 binaries.
The idea was to use this as my daily driver and compare it to my Xperia 10 iii (also with SFOS 18.104.22.168).
Well, I’ve used the XA2 Plus for a couple of months now and, for anyone who is interested, here are my observations.
Not surprisingly the Xperia 10iii is faster at loading apps, rendering web pages and so on, but not by that much. After a few days of using the XA2 Plus you tend to get used to its speed and only notice the X10 iii is faster when you go back to it.
Yes, the XA2 Plus is physically bigger that the X10 iii, mainly in its width, but that does mean the text on the screen is more natural to read as it is not as ‘squashed up’ as on the X10 iii due to its narrow profile. For me the XA2 plus has the more comfortable screen to live with - its easier to read because the text proportions are better, and the colours are more natural on the LCD screen than the rather ‘over-vivid’ saturation of the X10 iii.
Ah yes, the dreaded XA2 GPS issue … Well, with the recommended settings (online positioning OFF and offline MLS positioning ON) the XA2 Plus takes, literally, hours to get a location fix, if ever. BUT, operate it with only GPS and NO offline MLS positioning and then it only takes a minute or so to get a lock. I’ve tried toggling the settings a number of times now and always get the same results. It works as it should using just the device GPS, but switch on either online or offline MLS position lock, or both and it doesn’t work at all properly - so there seems to be some bug here as the offline MLS position fix is supposed to help things, not make them worse.
Disappearing Sound in Calls, Notifications, Alarms, etc
This happens several times a week on my X10 iii, the only cure being to reboot the phone - which is a real pain. On the XA2 Plus its not happened once in two months. My usage patterns on both phones (GPS tracking, Android apps, etc) is identical - so the XA2 is definitely more reliable than the X10 iii in this respect.
Another win for the XA2 Plus. In two months the fingerprint sensor has never failed to work - unlike the X10 iii where I have to restart the fingerprint service two or three times a week.
Mobile Data in Android
Again, a partial win for the XA2 Plus. On the X10 iii when the network switches from wifi to mobile data (i.e. when you leave the house or office) mobile data simply disappears for all Android apps for good. It still works fine for native SFOS apps, but the only way to get it back for android apps is a phone re-boot; nothing else works. But, on the XA2 Plus, whilst mobile data still disappears for Android apps when changing networks it can be brought back by stopping Android support and re-starting it. Its still a pain, but better than having to re-boot the phone.
Despite the X10iii being available with SFOS for some time now, there are still way more apps across OpenRepos and the Jolla store for the older 32-bit XA2 architecture than there are for the newer 64-bit architecture used on the X10 iii. Sure, this is mainly in the areas of the lesser maintained, older, apps - but it still means there is more choice and variety for the XA2 than the X10 iii.
Out Of Memory Crashes
A direct comparison is difficult as the XA2 Plus is only 32-bit and has 6GB memory and the X10 iii is 64-bit but has 8Gb memory. Even so, on the XA2 Plus apps (mainly the web browser or apps that use web view) seem to crash far less frequently than on the X10 iii. What is an issue on the XA2 plus is apps that sometimes won’t load at all - you just get the app cover, a rotating circle, and then the whole thing disappears. Only the Jolla apps (Clock, Notes, Calendar) are affected here. You can try as often as you like, but once an app won’t load for the first time, it won’t ever load again. BUT, if you run it from the command line its works perfectly (so may not be a memory issue), and then it will subsequently load from the app grid again until next time it fails. Also, maybe another clue … when something like the clock fails to load, and you try again, you get multiple ‘jolla-clock-prestart’ processes running (as shown on Crest). This never happens on the X10 iii.
All in all, the older XA2 Plus seems, at least for me, to be a more reliable daily driver for Sailfish than the newer X10 iii. Perhaps the most telling aspect of this is the uptime. I haven’t had to re-boot the XA2 Plus since I flashed it two months ago, whereas I have to reboot the X10 iii on a near daily basis. So, for now, I will be keeping my new (old) XA2 Plus as my daily driver and, sadly, my much newer, faster, bigger capacity, Xperia 10 iii in the drawer as a spare and test phone.