Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review: Durable By Design


Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review

The mighty Sony Xperia Z Ultra sees some of the best elements of Sony’s high-end smartphones packed into a phablet form factor, for the first time. Sony Mobile recently announced that its focus now lies on quality of experience rather than quantity. And, it’s clear to see that the Japanese manufacturer has gone to great lengths to create a phone-tablet hybrid that’s as big on innovation as it is in size.

Xperia Z Ultra – Good things Come in Big Packages?

The Z Ultra, which went on sale earlier this month, currently stands as one of the highest specced Android handsets on the market. But, does it live up to its name in ability as well as it does in its ample measurements?

We put it through its paces to find out.


Key features of Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Features of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra

  • 6.4-inch Triluminos display
  • 2.2GHz quad-core processor
  • 8 megapixel camera
  • Water and dust proof
  • Up to 64GB internal storage
  • Android OS, v4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Li-Ion 3050 mAh battery
  • Weight 212 grams, 6.5mm Thick


Design

This muscular smartphone packs an impressive number of specs and features into its razor thin 6.5mm profile, including a generous 6.4-inch display.

At 179.4mm long this device is borderline tablet, which as you can imagine makes it almost too big to hold in one hand. Sony has however, slightly rounded off the edges of the rectangular frame improving the ergonomics, making it easier to handle.

Xperia Z Ultra Multiple Images

If you’re someone that tends to store your smartphone in your pocket, you may have some trouble with the Z Ultra, as we found it really gets in the way when sitting down.

Taking design cues from the Xperia Z, the Z Ultra features tempered glass on the front and rear, encompassed by a solid metal frame. One element this device stands out for is durability, and with an IP58 certification it’s one of few handsets to be fully water tight. In fact, it can be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes to a depth of one meter.

Display

Dubbed as “the largest display in the world’s slimmest Full HD smartphone”, the Z Ultra’s Triluminos offering with a screen resolution of 344ppi is a fantastic platform for showcasing pictures, videos, web pages and everything in between.

And, with Sony’s X-Reality Engine also on board colours and contrasts are optimised, offering a striking, vibrant palette of colours. However, due to the size of the display the pixels are spread across a wider surface area which can cause colours to appear a little washed out, when the phone is held at certain angles.

Xperia Z Ultra Display

Unfortunately the battery let things down slightly. While the 3050mAh offering may sound more than adequate, with such a big unit and high definition display to support you’ll struggle to get a day’s use out of it from an overnight charge.

Given its meaty measurements this phablet would have benefited greatly from a stylus, and although Sony hasn’t included one this time round the display does respond well to a pen or pencil.

Camera

Boasting a modest 8 megapixel camera, which records in 1080p, the quality of senor doesn’t quite match up to the display’s potential. It’s likely you’d find this level of camera on a tablet device, which is where the handset crosses over from phablet territory.

The powerful 2.2GHz quad-core processor ensures snaps are captured instantly, so you always get the best shot. Pictures produced are fairly detailed considering the resolution, although with no flash on board performance in low-lit settings is particularly poor with shots appearing blurry and out of focus.

Xperia Z Ultra Camera

The stand out feature for us is Sony has made it possible to take pictures underwater, making it perfect for the more active user. There’s also a range of camera modes to hand to enhance your shots even further, whether you’re in or out of the water.

We had hoped the large display would let us see even more of our pictures, however the viewfinder only fills around two thirds of the full screen, which is a shame considering the superb quality of the display.

Verdict

The Z Ultra isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and while its vast form-factor is impressive, it can make even the simplest tasks like positioning the speaker to make a phone call a bit of a chore.

However, this is an excellent piece of kit that expands the goal posts of the phablet market even further, while propelling the current trend for oversized smartphones to the next level. And, if you’re seeking a big phone then the Z Ultra is certainly worth considering.

Official Sony, Xperia Z Ultra Introduction

Sony’s innovations and desire to create something different is clearly paying off, and as a result the company has swung back into profit in recent months. During 2013 the firm witnessed “significant sales” of its Xperia range of smartphones, and there’s no doubt that the Z Ultra will help bolster these figures even further over the coming months.

Author Sarah Hazelwood

View all Sarah’s articles

This guest post was written by Sarah Hazelwood of Phones 4u, the home of #projectupgrade.



Xperia Z Ultra Images Courtesy of Phones 4u


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