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Sony's mid-range Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra are still all about the cameras

Wide-angle selfies, anyone?

CES hasn't been much of a smartphone show in recent years, but don't tell Sony that. Rather than save the goods for Mobile World Congress, the company decided to reveal a trio of new Xperias meant to spice up its existing line of mid-range devices before the show officially kicks off.

First up is the Xperia XA2, which blends Sony's classic Xperia aesthetic with one of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 630 chipsets and 3GB of RAM. Unlike last year's XA1, Sony's sequel packs a 5.2-inch, 1080p display -- a much-needed resolution bump that hopefully won't drive the cost up too much. And since the screen is slightly bigger than the XA1's, that means the tweaked build of Android 8.0 here gets a little extra room to breathe.

Sony's cameras have always been one of the best reasons to buy an Xperia, so it's little surprise the company went with one of its impressive 23-megapixel sensors with hybrid autofocus and support for 4K video recording plus 120-fps slow-motion shooting. Low-light performance should also be respectable, at the very least, thanks to the camera's ability to shoot at up to ISO 12,800. Flip the phone over and you'll find an 8-megapixel wide angle camera with a 120-degree wide-angle lens just for good measure.

Curiously, the XA2 -- along with every other phone Sony announced today -- features a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. That normally wouldn't raise any eyebrows, but this design shift is notable because of Sony's seeming resistance in the past to including fingerprint sensors in its US devices. Not so anymore: Every version of the XA2 will have a fingerprint sensor, and for that we're grateful.

The XA2 Ultra, meanwhile, is a fascinating variation on a theme. It uses the same Snapdragon 630 chipset as the regular XA2, but instead pairs it with 4GB of RAM, either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage and, most importantly, a much bigger 6-inch, full HD screen. Just above the display are two front-facing cameras: the 8-megapixel wide-angle camera the XA2 uses, plus a 16-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization to ensure those selfies come out just right. It's otherwise identical to its little brother, save for a slightly larger, 3,580 mAh battery -- a nice bump, to be sure, but we'll soon see how it copes with that more expansive screen.

Rounding out the lineup is the more modest Xperia L2, which runs with a (currently unspecified) quad-core chipset clocked at 1.5GHz, along with 3GB of RAM and up to 32GB of storage. Beyond that, the trade-offs really become apparent: the L2's 5.5-inch screen might be bigger than the XA2's, but it only runs at 720p. It's also going to ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat onboard, not to mention a considerably less impressive 13-megapixel main camera.

None of these new devices have final prices just yet, but it won't be long before Sony clarifies that for us: All three phones are slated to launch later this month.

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