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Review: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Sony’s Xperia Z range of premium devices has done quite well for itself. It has prepped up the Sony smartphone division and now with the release of the Sony Xperia Z1, there are just more and more avenues for the line-up. Meanwhile, we have got our hands on the biggest slugger amongst the smartphones – the mammoth 6.4-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 1

This phablet comes with a big price tag too, at Rs. 46,990, it is way out of most consumers’ price range.

The question is – has Sony overdone the large screen gambit and made the handset too big for its britches? Or can its still make do? Also, is it enticing enough to put in all that moolah?

Packaging

The Xperia Z Ultra comes in a small and simple package. The one we got was the standard thing with a data cable, a USB charger and a mean pair of earphones. Sony has also packed extra earbuds and user guides.

Display

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 9

The display is definitely the star of the device. It actually covers most of the device. The 6.4-inch fHD display is an OLED display. It is actually one of the best screens we have had our hands on in a while. Sony has borrowed the OptiContrast and X-reality technology from its TVs and it lends a great flavor to the screen. The screen is bright clear and can be easily used even out in sunlight.

Body and Hardware 

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 6

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 4

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 3

If one could only neglect its bigger than useful size, the handset is a piece of art. Its wafer-thin form factor might in fact win your heart.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 12

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 11

But the truth sadly is that this phablet is too much of a tablet rather than a  smartphone. The smartphone is smooth but has a glossy exterior. A little too much, since it easily gets smudgy.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 5

Just like on the Xperia Z, every port is covered on the Xperia Z Ultra so as to make it waterproof. The power button and volume rocker is situated on the right just like the Xperia Z handset.

There is no dedicated camera button on the handset.

The handset comes with a weirdly placed MicroSD slot and

the MicroSIM tray needs to be pushed out and might be confusing to use at first. On the top right edge of the handset, the 3.5-mm jack is situated while, on the left edge of the screen, the USB/Charging slot is there. Everything is covered by a layer of plastic.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 13

The handset comes with an 8-megapixel camera not a 13-megapixel or 20-megapixel one and lacks an LED flash, placing more suspicions on the fact that this was designed to be a tablet and not a smartphone.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 7

There is a 2-megapixel front snapper on board too.

OS and UI

The OS and UI on the handset are definitely top notch. The clarity that the graphics engine endows the handset with, is amazingly great.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 41

Along with the most recent update, it jumps to Android 4.2.2. The OS is like always amazing. Sony has custom skins which makes the handset awesome as hell.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 34 Rest is fairly work-a-day but the Sony touch to the UI never fades

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 38 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 25 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 26 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 40 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 22

 

As soon as you switch on the device for the first time, you are guided to using it. After that, you will have to tune yourself with the immense range of Sony apps the device has.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 27Find My Device

 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 24

Movies 

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 23 Album 

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 21

Voice Dialer

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 20 X-4 Video Player (Plays 4 videos at once)

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 19

Sony Walkman app

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 18

Wisepilot for Xperia

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 17

Xperia Privilege (For device related products)

Camera

Sony has put in an 8-megapixel camera. The camera somehow doesn’t match up to standard set by Sony’s own Xperia Z smartphone.

The camera app though is amazing and offers  quite a range of stuff.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 32

 Camera Modes

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 31 Camera Filters

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 43Party Mode

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 43 Soft Snap Mode

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 44 Beach Mode 

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 45  Soft Skin Mode

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 47 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 46

Indoor Shots

Because of the lack of an LED flash indoor shots are crappy, although the camera performance with outdoor shots is amazing.

Performance

The Xperia Z Ultra comes with a 2.2 GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 processor. The processor is powerful and is accompanied with 2 GB RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU. It never lags and you can easily multi-task on it. Even heavy games run amazingly smooth and the handset is greatly graphically endowed.

The Snapdragon actually proves to  be great here, which explains why the company has made tie-ups for almost every upcoming high-end device. Qualcomm has really put its weight behind the processor and based on our experience with this device, it has won us over.

The Snapdragon 800 is engineered to support high-res full HD videos.

Qualcomm has tied up everything in a neat little package.

Snapdragon 800

According, it is one of the high point of the handset and we look forward to seeing more Snapdragon 800 based  devices.

Multimedia 

Multimedia is the handset’s forte. Whether it be music images or videos, the handset plays everything smooth as silk. Especially viewing videos on the handset is a great pleasure. The clarity and the smoothness is out-of-the-world.

There are hordes of apps on the phone to keep you occupied.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 37 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 36 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 35

Besides putting in  external apps such as Box, Sony cashes on its TV and music division to provide the user with apps such as Sony Liv and Sony Jive.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra 15 Sony Xperia Z Ultra 16

Along with that, there is an attractive pair of Sony headphones although the speakers on the handset performed a little below our expectations.

The only pain is that the screen kind of loses sensitivity some times.

Battery 

The 3000 mAh battery performs okay – we would rate it as neither too good and nor too bad.

Conclusion

When we first heard about the Xperia Z Ultra, we thought that it would carry on the torch from the Xperia Z handset. Well, it fails miserably in doing that. A hefty Rs. 46,990 price tag is no help in pitching the handset.

Parting thoughts – if you love to watch videos, this handset is your best bet, otherwise the price tag sort of sinks its ship.

Pros:

  • Amazing display
  • Amazing video playback
  • Great UI
  • Awesome form factor
  • Dust and waterproof

Cons:

  • Just too big!
  • Screen lags
  • Super-expensive price tag
  • Glossy Form Factor
  • Non-removable battery
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