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Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Posted: , by Daniel P.



Call quality

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review
The earpiece of the Z Ultra is just a small slit at the top of the frame, and our callers sounded quite hollow and muted, even at the highest volume. The two noise-canceling mics did their job well in weeding out the background fluff and relaying our voices strong and clear to the other side.

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
PhoneArena rating:
User rating:
8.817 Reviews

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posted on 13 Aug 2013, 09:51 33

1. smallworld (Posts: 503; 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...

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:11 24

9. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:55 12

20. roldefol (Posts: 4365; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 12:49 12

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.


Hahaha ...
let me introduce you to "Samsung Galaxy S4 Active" its Taller, Wider, thicker and heavier than the Xperia Z.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 14:46 5

52. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 15:14 5

55. jdoee100 (Posts: 334; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 16:06 4

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,

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 21:06

73. kobainez (Posts: 442; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

Here's the hamster nokia fanboy again complaining everything about sony

posted on 14 Aug 2013, 01:00 1

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.

posted on 14 Aug 2013, 13:04

94. kobainez (Posts: 442; 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/6a7f722126dbda9790af5df2e6fb4914.JPG
Gt anything to say?

posted on 14 Aug 2013, 14:51

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.

posted on 14 Aug 2013, 13:09

95. kobainez (Posts: 442; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

Well u're a nokia fanboy because u always praising nokia and always bash sony. Fanboy!

posted on 14 Aug 2013, 14:52

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.

posted on 15 Aug 2013, 04:14

100. kobainez (Posts: 442; 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

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 17:21 5

66. MrTzr (unregistered)

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)

posted on 17 Aug 2013, 00:43 1

101. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 163; 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

posted on 18 Aug 2013, 23:22

111. ososucre (Posts: 25; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)

For me, the features are so-so if comaring to Galaxy Note 3 but the design is superb flawless

posted on 12 Jan 2014, 14:39

123. shaolin95 (Posts: 9; 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.

posted on 12 Jan 2014, 14:37

122. shaolin95 (Posts: 9; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:39 18

16. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1524; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Ya I'll give this beautiful monster at least 9 rate.
so beautiful

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 14:02 1

46. GTR722 (Posts: 270; 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

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:56 3

21. ianbbaa (Posts: 332; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:57 13

22. akki20892 (Posts: 3902; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)

forget about review look at Xperia Z Ultra so gorgeous........!!!

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 11:09 7

26. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

But also very uncomfortable to hold due to the sharp edges.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 11:47 3

33. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 14:02 5

45. Airforce (Posts: 69; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)

come on..what else do you want Sony to do....WHY DOES THE WORLD COMPLAIN SO MUCH...............yyyyyyy

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 14:08 2

48. GTR722 (Posts: 270; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)

So you have used the ZU ??

posted on 12 Jan 2014, 14:42

124. shaolin95 (Posts: 9; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 12:07 6

35. Fallout09 (Posts: 421; 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.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 19:02 1

69. maccess (Posts: 742; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)

lol.. unfortunately you're 1000% correct..

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Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

OS: Android 5.1 5.0 4.4 4.3 4.2.2
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display6.4 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (342 ppi) TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 processor
Size7.06 x 3.63 x 0.26 inches
(179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm)
7.48 oz  (212 g)
Battery3050 mAh, 14 hours talk time

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