By February 19, 2014

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review

Z UltraYou may have seen the review that I did for the “regular sized” Sony Xperia Z1 a short time ago and if not I suggest you take a few minutes to read that review as most of it is true of the Z Ultra but in a super-sized way.

Sony Xperia Z1 review

If you haven’t seen the unboxing Matt did you might want to check it out as it will give you some idea of the size and scale of the Z Ultra.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra unboxing video

 

What’s in the Box?

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
  • 3-Pin UK Charger
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Important Information/Start up guide and Warranty Information

The 10 Second Review:

  • Product: Sony Xperia Z Ultra
  • Price: £449 Sim Free, free from £38 per month with Carphone Warehouse
  • Summary: A wonderfully built, well specified phone with a screen that is beautiful to look at (in the right conditions)
  • Best of: Build quality, display, very fast, battery life, waterproof.
  • Worst of: Very large, requires two hands almost all of the time, fingerprints magnet, very slippery.
  • Buy From: Various online and high street outlets with various prices
  • Also Consider: HTC One Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

 

Sony Xperia Ultra Review specification

  • 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – all versions
  • 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 – all versions
  • 4G Network LTE 700 / 850 / 900/ 1700 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 – C6806
  • LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 – C6833
  • Micro-SIM
  • Dimension: 179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm (7.06 x 3.63 x 0.26 in)
  • Weight: 212 g
  • IP58 certified – dust and water proof Water resistant over 1 meter
  • Display: Capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 16M colours, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 6.4 inches
  • Size 1080 x 1920 pixels, 6.4 inches (~344 ppi pixel density)
  • Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass
  • Triluminos display
  • X-Reality Engine
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Memory Card slot: microSD, up to 64 GB
  • Internal Memory:16 GB, 2 GB RAM
  • WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
  • NFC
  • microUSB v2.0 (MHL), USB On-the-go
  • Primary Camera: 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus. 1080p@30fps, video stabilization
  • Secondary Camera: 2 MP, 1080p@30fps
  • OS: Android OS, v4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400
  • Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • TV-out (via MHL A/V link)
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3050 mAh battery

 

A quick walk though of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

The front of the Z Ultra

P1120419

 

On the top we have nothing

P1120422

 

On the right we have the waterproof 3.5mm headphone jack, SIM and Micro SD Slots, the volume rocker and the sleep/wake button with a slot for a lanyard or phone charm at the bottom.

P1120420

 

On the bottom we have the speaker.

P1120423

 

On the Left only the Micro USB port, again under a waterproof cover.

P1120421

 

 The back side with camera

P1120424

 

If you’ve got this far you’ll have some idea what type of device the Z Ultra is and if it’s something that interests you. It seems to be a bit of a Marmite device with roughly half the people who see and use it loving it with the rest thinking it’s ridiculous.

Without wanting to spoil the rest of the review too much, those of you who listen to the podcast will know that I’m quite a fan of it. I’ve been using it day-in, day-out for the last couple of months with my work SIM and it has been a real eye opener for me.

Until quite recently I was a confirmed iPhone user and The Xperia Z1 was the device that turned me on to Android in and larger screens. I’m now using a Nexus 5 as my personal phone and I’ve become completely comfortable with Android.

In my review of the Z1 one of my criticisms of that device was that it was a little too large. The Z1 has a 5 inch screen and the Ultra has a 6.4 inch 1920×1080 screen. The odd thing is that the size of the Ultra feels right most of the time and despite being huge by most standards, I’ve not found it a problem to carry it around either in a jacket pocket or jeans.

Whilst the screen is nowhere nearly as sharp and clear as my beloved Nexus, being a bigger device that can be used more at arms length it doesn’t seem to matter.

You may be wondering just how big the Ultra is and how it looks compared to some other phones and devices.

iPhone 5 v Z Ultra

P1120418

 

Nexus 5 v Z Ultra

P1120413

 

Z1 v z Ultra

P1120415

 

HTC One Max v Z Ultra

P1120416

 

iPad Mini v Z Ultra

P1120417

 

As you can see, it is definitely a large device and when people said to me “is that a Phablet Phone-Tablet)” I replied with “No, it’s a Tone (Tablet-Phone)”. I found that the Ultra easily replaced a phone and a tablet in every day use and I even found it easy to leave my iPad Mini at home and be able to use the Ultra for all of the same tasks plus everything I would do with a phone. For anyone looking to reduce on the number of devices you need to carry or the number of cellular contracts needed, it is an excellent device.

I found no problems with carrying the Ultra about on a daily basis as it would fit into an inside pocket of a jacket very easily and due to being so thin it really didn’t cause any problems at all. I wouldn’t suggest that it would be the ideal device for a night out but, as an example, a cost effective sim-free phone like the Moto G would pair very nicely as you could pop the sim into the smaller phone when you know that you won’t be needing the tablet-like qualities and still have access to all of the same services that you know and love.

A big downside of the Z Ultra is that the camera is a major let down compared to the Z1. Where the Z1 has a 20.7 mega-pixel shooter, the Ultra must make do with and 8 mega pixel unit. The images that it produces are not the best but are certainly not a major selling point.

download_20140218_223524

One downside for me was that I could not mount my Sony QX10 lens that I have reviewed previously to the Ultra but Sony have recently announced/launched some mounting options for tablets in general and the Ultra in particular that would solve this problem.

Battery life was fantastic throughout my time with the device and I would regularly get 2 days of hard use out of it without needing to even think about charging it up.

 

Conclusion.

The Xperia Z Ultra is definitely not a device that everyone should rush out and buy but it is an exceptionally useful and wonderfully executed device. Going back to a standard (5 inch) phone for every day use has really proved how good the Z Ultra is and I have found myself swapping back and forth from my phone to my iPad Mini mid-task on a number of occasions as one device or the other was better suited to the task in hand. If you even think that you might like the Z Ultra, I would suggest that you probably would and I would suggest that you try one out.

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