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Sony Xperia Z Ultra Reviewed – Pros and Cons

Updated on October 17, 2013

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is an example of a phablet, a cross between a smartphone and a tablet. A phablet can do all the things that smartphones can do, but come with a screen that is so much larger than what you're used to seeing in smartphones.

The size of the phablet's screen approaches that of tablets and because of that, a phablet can function almost as a tablet. However, such a large screen may not be appropriate for everyone. There are some things about the Sony Xperia that people may like or dislike.


Like: The Sony Z Ultra comes with a 6.4 inch touchscreen that's resistant to scratching and shattering

The primary reason to get a phablet is because of its extra large screen. The Sony Xperia Z ultra does not disappoint in this regard. You get a huge 6.4 inch touchscreen with support for Full-HD at 1080x1920. If you hated being confined to a small screen as is the case with many smartphones, then the Xperia is a pleasant change with plenty of room.

Using the Internet is much better with such a large screen. It's easier to get work done, which means that can you can still be productive while you're on the move. It's not necessary to wait until you've arrived at the office or your home, you can get started working right away using the phablet. The large screen is also beneficial when it comes to entertainment such as watching movie clips.

In addition, the screen has been manufactured in such a way as to make it resistant to scratching and shattering. That's a good thing because the large screen makes it more likely for the Sony to come into contact with other objects that would otherwise damage screens that aren't protected. It helps to know that the large screen will last over time.


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Like: the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is dust-proof and resistant against water

Like the smaller Xperia Z, the larger Xperia Z Ultra is dust-proof and can withstand water up to a depth of one meter. You can therefore use the phone in conditions that would be impossible for other phones to handle because they would damage the phone.

For instance, using the phone in the rain is no problem at all. If you happen to live in an are where it rains a lot, you will appreciate this feature of the Sony. You can also use the phone while you're in the bathtub or shower. With other phones, you have to get out of the bathroom in order to answer a phone call. Not so with the Sony.

Ditto if you live in an area where it's very dusty. Dust can accumulate inside a phone, which over time can permanently damage a phone. The Sony is protected against this. If the phone ever breaks, it won't be because of dust. Overall, all this protection ensures that the Sony will last longer when other phones break down.


Like: the battery life of the Sony Z Ultra is good for its type

One benefit of buying a large phone is that they come with much bigger batteries than those that you'll find in smaller smartphones. The Xperia Z ultra is no exception and you can easily make it through the day with enough battery life to spare. To put your mind ever more at ease, there is a Stamina mode which can extend battery life even more.

To be fair, there are other phones with much better battery life. If you're primarily interested in the longest battery life possible, then this phone is not for you. However, when compared to other phones that are very thin and with such a large screen, the Sony does a good job.

Although other thin phones like the Sony tend to have short battery life, its length and width make up for it. The phone may be thin, but it's also very large. There is enough room for a large battery, which is usually not the case with smaller smartphone that are more compact due to their thin design.

As a result, the phone can be used often without much consequences. There is no need to worry too much about your phone running out of power like some other smartphones. You can concentrate on whatever it is that you're doing without having to worry about distractions such as battery life.


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Neutral: a phablet carries it own challenges in terms of handling and storage

The Sony is of course a very large phone. That presents its own set of challenges in terms of handling and storage. The large screen of the Xperia makes it unavoidable that the phone will be much larger and heavier than what people are used to carrying around.

The large size is both a good and bad thing It doesn't fit into most pockets like other smartphones do. Some people with very small hands may also have some issues handling the phone comfortably. However, it also allows you to do things that are harder to do on a small screen.

The bulk of the phone can turn some people away. You need to decide beforehand if you're willing to deal with a phablet. It really comes down to what people prefer in their phone. Depending on what they like, the Xperia can be both a good and a bad fit.


Neutral: the battery of the Sony Z Ultra is not removable

It's worth mentioning that the battery is not removable. This was done to conserve space to install a bigger battery. Since the phone is very thin, installing a removable cover would have used up space that is needed. Instead, the back and battery have been integrated into one.

If you need to replace the battery down the road, you will need to to get it done for you because you can't do it by yourself. This is time-consuming and much more expensive. However, that's the price you need to pay for getting a very thin phone, which is what the Xperia Z Ultra is.


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Dislike: the camera of the Sony Z Ultra does not come with a flash

It's important to note that the Xperia does not come with a flash for the camera to increase the amount of light. As the amount of light decreases, the quality of pictures goes down dramatically. Sony does claim that the camera has been optimized for low-light conditions, but more light would have improved the quality of the photos in my opinion.

Personally, I would have preferred if Sony had included a flash as almost all smartphones do nowadays. Sony may think that it's not needed, but I would have let the consumer decide for themselves. He or she can always turn it off or on if they want to.

Unfortunately, there is no flash and you'll have to take that into account whenever you're taking pictures where there is not enough light such as indoors or during the evening. Outdoors during the day, a flash is almost never used and is therefore not needed.


4 stars for Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Summary and comparison of what's good or bad about the Sony Xperia Z Ultra

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a very impressive smartphone. True, it might not be suitable for everybody because of it's size and price. However, those people looking for a phablet and what they can offer, will certainly find the Sony very appealing and rightfully so.

The phone can function as a tablet due to the large screen, while maintaining the functions needed as a smartphone. It offers the best of both worlds, which for that segment of the public that requires such a need can be a good thing.

The only that is missing in my opinion is a flash for the camera. Besides that, the Sony has everything that one could look for. It's especially suitable for people who need to use the Internet a lot for whatever reason. The large screen really helps to get things done quicker and easier.

There are a few rough edges, but in general the Xperia has far more strengths than weaknesses. As long as you're willing to accept the size and bulk that comes with a phablet, you'll be more than happy with the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.


Pros:

  • Very large, high-resolution 6.4 inch screen
  • Protected against dust and water
  • Glass screen is protected against scratching and shattering
  • Good battery life for a thin phone
  • Fast enough to handle all software
  • Thin and stylish design

Cons:

  • Does not come with camera flash
  • Large size can create some difficulties when carrying around


Sony Xperia Z Ultra specifications

Type
Smart Phone
Operating System
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Processor
Qualcomm MSM8974 2.2 GHz Quad Core processor
Graphics
Adreno 330
Band (varies by version)
LTE: 800/850/900/1700/1800/1900/2100/2600
 
HSDPA: 850/900/1700/1900/2100
Transfer Rate
EDGE/GPRS: 850/900/1800/1900
Style
Bar
Color
Black/white/purple
Dimension (H X W X D)
179 mm x 92 mm x 6.5 mm
Weight
About 212 gr
LCD
6.4-inch Multi-Touch IPS LED
LCD Resolution
Full-HD (1080 X 1920, 342 PPI)
Rear camera
8MP, Exmor RS, 16x digital zoom, autofocus, 1080p@30fps
Front camera 
2MP, 1080p@30fps
RAM
2 Gigabyte (GB)
Flash memory
16GB
Memory card slot
Included, up to 64GB MicroSD card
Connectors
microUSB, USB 2.0, 3.5 earjack
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC
FM radio
Supported
Sensors
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, GPS + GLONASS
Battery
Lithium-ion 3000 mAh
Special features
Triluminos display with X-Reality Engine
 
Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass screen
 
Dust proof and water resistant up to 1 meter (IP58 certified)

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