Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review
Talking on the Xperia Z Ultra is actually not that uncomfortable if you have somewhat larger hands, as the phone is pretty thin and you can rest your index finger against the huge back for support. You'd be, however, looking rather dorky from the side with that giant slab against your ear, so might want to invest in a nice Bluetooth headset, like the small SBH52 companion Sony unveiled together with the Z Ultra.
Despite sealing the battery unit in a 6.5 mm profile, Sony still managed to equip the Xperia Z Ultra with a 3000 mAh juicer. That capacity is plenty for way above average talk times, at 14 hours cited in 3G mode, and 22 days of standby.
Music playback will run uninterrupted for 110 hours, says Sony, but when the huge screen lights up, the endurance numbers become about average. Video playback is listed as good for up to 7 hours by Sony, which can be expected with such a giant Full HD display.
Sony's first phablet leans farthest to the tablet side of that made-up word than any competitor out there. If you aren't worried about pocketability or one-handed operation, you won't be disappointed by the rest. The Xperia Z Ultra is an engineering marvel, with very thin and premium waterproof design, which is the only thing saving it from being called unwieldy. It is also incredibly fast at everything it does, so once you go past the huge size, interacting with the phone is a rather pleasant experience. Granted, you'd better be the type that uses hands-free kits and has baggy pants or a purse, else talking on the phablet and simply carrying it around will be a nuisance not many can accept as a daily driver.
Out of all phablets out there, the Xperia Z Ultra is undoubtedly the best-equipped to meet what the future holds. The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 and the Huawei Ascend Mate 6.1 can be considered direct competitors in the 6+ category, but they aren't nearly as fast and premium as the Z Ultra, plus the Mega 6.3 is not that much cheaper to boot.
The Galaxy Note II has the advantage of a stylus silo, instead of looking around for a pen or pencil, but is not waterproof and overall its screen is inferior, while the diagonal now puts it in the light phablet category, compared to the 6”+ monsters this year. When the Note 3 comes out, it would be a better match. A closer to the 6” mark competition is the LG Optimus G Pro with its 5.5” Full HD display, which also has a fast processor and sports infrared sensor, but is nor waterproof, though it will be slightly easier on your pocket, literally and figuratively, than Sony's enormous slab.
The Z Ultra towers above all those phablets not only in screen size, but in specs and design, too, so if you've thrown out ergonomics and pocketability with the decision to get one anyway, you might as well do the full song and dance. If you can afford it, that is, as Sony's first phablet will run you more than most current flagship phones at launch.
Software version: 14.1.B.0.461
- Vast and quality screen with pen/pencil input
- Thinnest waterproof design
- Record fast chipset
- Larger than other 6-inchers, uncomfortable to hold and carry
- Camera lacks flash, could be better quality
- Relatively weak and hollow earpiece sound
1. smallworld (Posts: 438; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
As there's the rule that no Sony smartphone should get more 9/10, here they bring the 8.7 rating...
9. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4000; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
If Sony could make a better all around device, maybe they could get up to a 9.
"Larger than other 6-inchers, uncomfortable to hold and carry"
This was a problem for the Xperia Z as well, not only was it larger than other 5" devices, but the corners were sharp and uncomfortable. It might look great, but that doesn't matter much when it's so unwieldy.
"Camera lacks flash, could be better quality"
Even though this is more of a tablet, and cameras on tablets are all but useless, this is technically a phone, and if you're going to include a camera on a phone it has to have flash, that was stupid of Sony to exclude it. Sony's cameras are great, except when they are used in their own devices. Their software is definitely sub-par when compared to the competition (Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z have the same camera, but the Galaxy S4 takes much better pictures).
"Relatively weak and hollow earpiece sound."
This is a phone, an obscenely large phone, but still a phone. If we can have quad core processors and as much RAM as older computers, we should be able to have a quality calling experience.
20. roldefol (Posts: 2860; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
And yet I knew the first comment out the gate would protest the unfair, biased, Sony-hatin' low 8.7 rating, as if that's a score to sneeze at. This device is simply too unwieldy and lacking as a phone to recommend unconditionally.
37. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
For people who don’t have the Xperia Z or Z Ultra, you said to much BS.
I can not say too much about the Xperia Z because I did not have it but with the latest update, Sony
has improved the Xperia Z camera quality.
And if you think even with the latest update Xperia Z camera quality was much worse than the S4, please prove it was by doing a
fair and unbiased comparison.
Xperia Z "BIGGER THAN ANY OTHER 5" DEVICES "
let me introduce you to "Samsung Galaxy S4 Active" its Taller, Wider, thicker and heavier than the Xperia Z.
52. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4000; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
I don't have it personally, but I have used it, and it is very uncomfortable to handle.
I haven't seen shots from the latest update for the Xperia Z, but judging from the comparison PA did back in April, it didn't fair too well against the Galaxy S4.
If you're going to quote, do it right. I never said the Xperia Z was "bigger than any other 5" devices", I said it was "larger than other 5" devices," meaning it's larger than *some*, not all. Also, the GS4 Active might be technically bigger, but it has curved edges which make it easier to handle, unlike the harsh sharp edges of the Xperia Z.
My avatar might be an HTC logo, but I'm relatively unbiased.
55. jdoee100 (Posts: 305; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)
I don't know why sony insists on sharp edges, that is just a bad idea. It's this kind of stubbornness that cost them their market share in other industries to samsung. Samsung is quick to changing market conditions and taste, but Sony does not change until it's too late. Too bad for Sony.
60. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
active is a more like a niche device. refer to S IV...but you've got a point...HTC One is not small either.
However, we've got oppo, huawei, many other chinese oems producing 5 inches slabs.
Z is big. And this boxy shape doesn't help holding it. It's a reminiscent of Moto razr....wide and uncomfortable,
73. kobainez (Posts: 302; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Here's the hamster nokia fanboy again complaining everything about sony
78. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
stupid kid/. Look closer. maybe one day you''l realize it's not a chamtser. Till this day, you're just a pathetic kiddo.
And point me out where did I complain?
I said about ergonomics which in my opinion is not right. I holded Z in hands and it didn't fit. And I don't have small hands.
So buzz off, kiddo.
Am I a fanboy? And a guy who's defending his favourite oem everytime someone mentions it is not a fanboy?:d You're doing it all the time. it's easy to call somebody out without looking at yourself.
94. kobainez (Posts: 302; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Hey hamster, I know it's not a hamster I'm calling u hamster because im insulting u stupid. U're complaining abt the z being big bt isn't the lumia got bigger bezel? It's almost as big as Z and I dont see u complaining about it and it's 4.5 inch almost as big as 5 inch z. Why don't complain about the camera like u did before stupid hamster? I asked u many times abt honami sample but u're not replying. Here the sample again http://www.imgus.net/bilder/6a
Gt anything to say?
96. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
you don't get something. it is called ergonomics. Are you familiar with this temr? A hand shape and tthe way it feels in a hand.
For me, Lumia is much more comfortable.
You've got problem with it?
Go scr$%^ yourself kid. I'm entitled to my own opinions, Just like everyone else. Even an abomination like troll.
You've got nothing interesting to say, shut your hole.
95. kobainez (Posts: 302; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Well u're a nokia fanboy because u always praising nokia and always bash sony. Fanboy!
97. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I prever Nokia to sony...what's wrong with this statement??? You're doing just opposite. So you're a troll as well.
Learn a bit about personal preferences and trolling kid.
100. kobainez (Posts: 302; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Until now u still didn't comment about the image quality of honami. I think it's better than your lumia 1020 which has a larger sensor than honami. What a shameful defeat for nokia
66. MrTzr (Posts: 105; Member since: 26 Jun 2013)
I do have the xperia Z and sony did not improve the camera quality (10.3.1.A.0.244). (At least I did not notice it).I compared the image quality of the XZ with the S4 and the S4's quality is far superior. It does still lack detail and the images are a bit grainy. (But after all it's still good, just worse than the GS4)
101. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 116; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)
Yudi, my pal.. I recently did a camera comparison between Xperia Z (latest 244 firmware) and Samsung Galaxy S4 (default firmware) I own Xperia Z, and the galaxy s4 is my dad's
Even on the latest firmware, the camera quality of Xperia Z can't defeat the camera of samsung galaxy s4. The S4 beat xperia z easily in all aspects such as resolved detail, colour rendering, focusing, noise levels, macros, and night shots.
Truthfully, as a sony fanboy this comparison made me sad. I hope sony improves the camera quality in the next update
111. ososucre (Posts: 5; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)
For me, the features are so-so if comaring to Galaxy Note 3 but the design is superb flawless
123. shaolin95 (Posts: 5; Member since: 14 Oct 2013)
so so? Laughable comment.
Aside frome the s note (which you can still use a pen with the Ultra although not as tightly integrated), I will take the Ultra any day over the Note 3.
Display alone is enough for me to love the Ultra more. Size and quality is awesome. The AMOLED has amazing black levels but other than that the Sony is more accurate.
122. shaolin95 (Posts: 5; Member since: 14 Oct 2013)
"Larger than other 6-inchers, uncomfortable to hold and carry"
Your are a midget, or dont like big phones. Obviously you havent tried one because this things feels amazing on your hand. Much better than my previous Note 2 which was smaller.
"if you're going to include a camera on a phone it has to have flashy"
That comment is just so stupid that more than funny it makes me feel sad about you. You have NO IDEA what photography is all about much less the use of Flash.
Go learn and stop making a fool of yourself.
"Relatively weak and hollow earpiece sound."
The audio quality for phones is great..not a single issue so again more BS comments of someone whon knows nothing about what he is talking about.
As a loud speaker for music (which is even more ridiculous to discuss from any phone really), yes it is not as loud but guess what..it is WATER PROOF so damn, you dont think there is a trade off there?
So..next time before all your BS nonsense..at least try to make some sense with your comments and get your facts straight.
16. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 775; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)
Ya I'll give this beautiful monster at least 9 rate.
46. GTR722 (Posts: 235; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)
THIS is the only thing PA is worth it, the video/photo quality of the devices. And for the review....best screen in the market, water/dust proof, best CPU/GPU in the market....not even a 9 for PA...lets wait for the all gimmick plastic overpriced GN3 to se a 9.5
21. ianbbaa (Posts: 196; Member since: 20 Mar 2013)
Review says "The tip of the pen has to be larger than 1mm for the magic to work, though, and we found out that the disposable ones didn't do the trick."
Did PA even proove this in real? 0 mention about the tech inside and how it works. Besides devices cons, we d like to see this pro feature in action. Everywhere on youtube it works just in PA office it isnt wort to test/mention.
I am not SONY lover anymore, but this feature is NEW and it is worth to test it.
22. akki20892 (Posts: 3434; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
forget about review look at Xperia Z Ultra so gorgeous........!!!
26. _Bone_ (Posts: 2125; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
But also very uncomfortable to hold due to the sharp edges.
33. ArtSim98 (limited) (Posts: 2738; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
You can choose nice design but uncomfortable holding or ugly design and comfortable holding. I think the design is more important, since we humans have thick enough skin so it won't go thorough and for most of us it won't even hurt a bit.
45. Airforce (Posts: 62; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
come on..what else do you want Sony to do....WHY DOES THE WORLD COMPLAIN SO MUCH...............yyyyyyy
124. shaolin95 (Posts: 5; Member since: 14 Oct 2013)
Enough of the stupid sharp edges BS. Go test one for real then tell me about it.
This thing feels amazing on your hands and it pisses me off people talking crap showing they have not handled one in real life.
35. Fallout09 (Posts: 415; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Gorgeous? Am I missing something? Its a just a really big rectangle. Not much more. I see zero signs of design aesthetic on this device.
69. maccess (Posts: 598; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)
lol.. unfortunately you're 1000% correct..
89. istitch (Posts: 161; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)
Havent you heard of simplicity? Sony is able to make use of the simplicity and make the device so elegant and premium.
For those who say it is uncomfortable to hold because of the sharp edges, i beg to differ, the device is so big that, YOU WILL BE HOLDING THE MIDDLE PART, and you are unlikely to reach the corners! it is considerably light and thin at this size. Please, see it, hold it yourself before judging.
103. skyguy7567 (Posts: 148; Member since: 17 Nov 2012)
Who would be reaching the corners when it is such a big device? Is your hand so big that holding by the corners can make sure that your phone is stable? I hold my Xperia Z by the 'middle', and that is the entire reason why Sony designed their power button that way. Nobody told you to dig your palm into the corners of the device. People who hate Sony just say that the sharp corners are uncomfortable. Have anyone noticed that Samsung's 'smooth corners' are pretty slippery? You made a good point, ist
28. yadu004 (Posts: 63; Member since: 26 Apr 2013)
It's just a phone dude, this review is not an Olympic event. relax..
40. Feanor (Posts: 304; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
I agree. I don't think that the Note II was better last year and it got a 9. Also I think the Z Ultra is much improved in comparison to the Z and it gets a similar score? Also the size is a matter of taste, obviously Sony didn't do it huge in order to lose points, but to target it to those who like big screens. I actually think that they should be rewarded for making it so incredibly thin instead of having points cut because of size.
2. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)
I liked the design a lot, and putting size aside, i wont buy one simply because there is no camera flash behind...
3. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Let down by no Flash
To tall, long
To much bezel
No 3Gb Ram
No 3700 Mah battery
12. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
No flash? Who cares about flash? The Z Ultra has an Exmor RS sensor, so in low light, it will be okay.
Too tall, long? That's because you have sissy hands.
Too much bezel? Wear your glasses man, what do you mean "To much bezel"? You're the only moron who's complaining about bezels.
No 3GB RAM? Buy a freakin' gaming laptop.
No 3700mAH battery? Buy the Changhong Z5 with a 5000mAH battery, made in China. But I think it doesn't suit you because you have a bad taste.
17. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
O how in denial... When next year come it will all equip with those specs. So why don't you buy and get 2011 devices if you don't like the progress.
You don't everyone else does. Cool you are a Sony Fanboy Like me. You wouldn't complain even if it had 2010 spec on 2013 device.
So it's a crime to ask for more. O wait your not a power user so no point having a convo with non techys. You the typical Jane average Joe
19. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
I like the progress, but I don't like your whining.
Next year, you're gonna whine 4GB RAM, 4.5GHz Snapdragon 1000 processor, 6000mAH battery, rainbow underpants etc.
You ain't techie, you're an attention seeker.
29. _Bone_ (Posts: 2125; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
It doesn't have an Exmor RS sensor but a bad low-light performer Exmor R, so the lack of flash for a $800 device is annoying. TROLL has a point cause when Samsung comes up with the smaller better screen, larger battery Note III with OIS Exmor RS, flash, 3GBs of faster RAM, faster NAND flash and real pressure sensitive Wacom digitizer, the small things could turn Sony fans away from the Ultra.
Personally I like the device, but I'm most definitely waiting for the company that kickstarted the phablet category.
31. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
It does have an Exmor RS sensor, watch the video.
32. _Bone_ (Posts: 2125; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Even so, it's just 8MPs and lacks flash, it's hardly 2013 on the camera front.
126. shaolin95 (Posts: 5; Member since: 14 Oct 2013)
Spoke as a true wannabe that have no idea what photography is about. Really...go learn about cameras and flashes then stop posting BS.
47. Airforce (Posts: 62; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
xperiaDROID .OMG!!!....u REALLY CRACK ME UP MEHN...NIce write up....I love ur reply.....I dont know why PEOPLE complain so much on things they cant even create
61. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
nah....it won't be ok...exmor r sensor of the previous generation..check previous reviews...it is not bad by any means, but it's far from considering it good. Especially in low light. it's not its domain.
Flash doesn't require so much space to exclude it. Putting older exmor sensor means that sony didn't put too much effort on camera capabilities. It's a shame that phablets have mostly dreadful cameras (this one is decent) but anyway, some silly inhibitions from putting a really good camera module. Why not????
18. valapsp (Posts: 474; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)
The only part that i somehow agree is the battery size.
41. Feanor (Posts: 304; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
1.Sony hasn't given to the Z Ultra excellent photographic capabilities in order not to create internal competition to their future Honami flagship. Samsung put their best efforts to both the S models and the Note derivatives but this is an unusual marketing strategy because their model just cannibalize each other (same with the Zoom and Active models). Bashing the Z Ultra for middling camera is like bashing a Ferrari for not having enough luggage space. It's obviously not the point of the handset.
2. No 3Gb RAM? It's still the fastest, isn't it? If it had 3Gb RAM would you complain that it doesn't have 4Gb RAM?
63. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
why shouldn't we require a better camera from so high-priced handset? it's like a sony's flagship. Maybe even more than Honami. So why not??
It's not a xenon which needs much more space...it's a frikking led.
They should put their best instead cutting corners.
It's in a different category than honami will be so there wouldn't be any cannibalism.
49. GTR722 (Posts: 235; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)
Sorry but the 3GB of RAM is a Samsung thing...you know to move all that bloatware and gimmicks that touchwiz is.
53. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8240; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Or you know, you can just disable the features that you don't use so you don't have to worry about it. Sigh...
62. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I don't get why people complain about Lumia's bezels. They aren't as big as you think. Compare them with this huge amount of unused space in HTC One or Sony's.
74. kobainez (Posts: 302; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Are u stupid? Lumia 920 is almost as big as 5 inch sony xperia z and u don't get why people complain about it? If it was 5 inch, it will be bigger than z for sure. Stop showing ignorance here hamster
79. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
kiddo, go play with your kids at your age.
I don't give a rat's ass about your opinion. Lumia is not the smallest one but is much more comfy to hold.
keep your non-existed Z and be happy.
...and now you're the one who mentioned sony's product. I didn't do it. Are u a butthurt? A real butthurt?
90. istitch (Posts: 161; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)
please, DONT JUST FKING judge before you have it!
sheer battery capacity doesn't guarantee battery life, optimization of the software and hardware play an important role as well. my friend told me that ZU lasts 7 hours STRAIGHT with the screen on, connected to 3G
4. amansingal14 (Posts: 286; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
I see darker blacks and more vivid colours but no flash or OIS is a deal breaker.
27. _Bone_ (Posts: 2125; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
These samples are actually better than what the Exmor RS pulled on the problematic Xperia Z. This is excellent news coming to the Honami, Sony phones can take good photos after all.
34. romeo1 (Posts: 228; Member since: 06 Jan 2012)
The xperia z camera has got allot better with the updates. with the last update i got i tested it in low light against my brother's s4 and even without flash on you saw more than with the s4 with flash on. it had less noise on the s4 but less details. But with flash onn the z kicked its but easy. im talking about low light have not tested outdoos with lot of light against eachother
54. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8240; Member since: 14 May 2012)
S4's camera puts the Xperia's Z to shame even after the 100's of updates pushed to it lol.
|Display||6.4 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (342 ppi) TFT|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Quad core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||7.06 x 3.63 x 0.26 inches|
(179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm)
7.48 oz (212 g)
|Battery||3050 mAh, 14 hours talk time|