Xperia Z Ultra hands-on: Mammoth roundup [Video]

by XB on 8th July 2013

in Featured Content, Hands On, Videos, Xperia Z Ultra

XZU_Handson_ThumbIt’s time for another of our mammoth roundups and the name cannot be any more apt when talking about the Xperia Z Ultra. We have included hands-on impressions from a variety of sources below with some of the recurring themes being the size of the handset, the quality of the display (the best yet from Sony many say) and the usefulness of pencil/stylus input.

The design gets many positive mentions, adopting the OmniBalance lines of previous Xperia handsets such as the Xperia Z but the slightly more curvier edges with its metallic frame make it more comfortable to hold. However, like the Xperia Z, the black version of the Ultra is a fingerprint magnet. The flash-less 8MP camera is a weak point, but most seem to like the Xperia Z Ultra. The main question remains, where does the Xperia Z Ultra fit for most – smartphone or mini tablet? Click through for full impressions below.

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup (Translated) ” The maximum brightness of the Xperia Z Ultra is very high, in the course of our measurements the luminosity of reached 362 cd / m 2. In terms of contrast, it reached 655:1, not a record, but still strong and much better than the Xperia Z. The good news does not end there. The display is not only bright with good contrast, but also very colourful with coverage 11% wider than a standard colour space sRGB.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Android Central: This isn’t what we’d call a mainstream handset, and using the Ultra one handed can be tricky. Aside from its sheer size, this is partly due to the design heritage it shares with the original Xperia Z – that phone was blocky and squarish, and it’s ergonomics suffered as a result. The Ultra’s thinner chassis goes some way towards compensating for this, as do its new, curvier sides. But for most users, this isn’t going to be a device you can easily palm and operate at the same time. Sony’s “Triluminos” display also impresses. Gone are the days of Sony phone screens offering lacklustre colours and poor viewing angles – the company’s latest 1080p panel offers rich blacks, wide viewing angles and vivid colours. The Ultra’s 6.44-inch panel is right up there with the latest SuperLCD3 and SuperAMOLED offerings.

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Cnet: “While the handset’s footprint is large, I found it surprisingly comfortable to hold with one hand. The Z Ultra weighs in at a hefty 212g (7.5 ounces), but nevertheless just doesn’t feel heavy. Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 weighs 198g (7 ounces) but its chassis is mostly made of plastic materials, which somehow doesn’t quite impart the same level of luxury as the Z Ultra. I found the 6.44-inch full-HD Triluminos display to be stunning as well. The colours were vibrant and crisp, and Sony seems to have resolved the colour shift issue I first encountered with the Xperia Z.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Engadget (1 & 2): “The screen has been tweaked to enable input not only through capacitive styluses but also typical graphite pencils, with a new handwriting recognition keyboard available for scribbling notes on the go. In practice, it worked well, with Sony’s own windowed mini-apps ensuring we had space to scribble regardless of which app we were running. It did add a few inadvertent spaces here and there, but nothing that some software tweaking couldn’t solve ahead of its Q3 launch. Sadly, it appears that there’s much work to be done on the camera side. Photos taken in darker environments are surprisingly noisy; and the lack of LED flash here only rubs salt into the wound. The exposure and white balance are not ideal, either; but again, we expect these to be fixed by the time this waterproof phone reaches the stores. Remember: this is still work-in-development, after all.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

ePrice (1, 2 & 3): (Translated) ” One-handed typing is quite a challenge with such a big screen, however Sony thought of this and for the Xperia Z Ultra the keyboard can be reduced to 2/3 of the size, and then moved to the left/right position for easy one-handed typing.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Gizmodo: “In the hand, it feels like a tablet; a really thin tablet at that, but a tablet nonetheless. At 6.44-inches, it’s only marginally off the mainstay breed of 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7, but thankfully its bezel is so small it’s significantly more compact, meaning you can pretty easily one-hand it like a phone. Design-wise, it’s like an Xperia Z crossed with a Lumia 925. Everything is the same as the Xperia Z — glass front and back with a similar bezel — it’s just that the plastic edging has been replaced by a metal band, like the Lumia 925. It’s attractive, and feels reassuringly solid in the hand, which is good given you’re going to want to grip onto this thing pretty tight.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

GSM Arena: ” We’re glad to see Sony’s OmniBalance design again. We loved it on the Xperia Z and the Xperia Tablet Z and we love it here. The sizable Z Ultra phablet has even improved on the already great looking tablet with a brushed aluminium frame running along its sides to give it stability and tempered glass on the back and on the front. Unfortunately, you have to wipe the front and back quite often to keep the Sony Xperia Z Ultra looking good as all that glass is a real fingerprint magnet.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup ” Sony emphasized that the demo models weren’t running on final versions of the software. Nevertheless, using the phones was a smooth and stable experience. The Xperia Z Ultra will come with 4.2.2. Sony sees the Xperia Z Ultra as a cross between a phone and a tablet. When you turned the device horizontally to landscape mode, the entire Android interface will turn 90 degrees, which is unusual for phones.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup “We wondered why Sony did not use matte plastic for the back of the Xperia Z Ultra as it is more resistant to the unsightly smudges and offers a better grip than glass. Sony’s own Xperia Tablet Z uses this preferred rear design, so it makes us wonder why wasn’t user feedback put to good use when the Xperia Z Ultra was on the drawing board. The signature metallic power button is also found on the right side of the device. Unlike the slightly protruding power buttons found on the Xperia Tablet Z and Xperia Z, the button on the Xperia Z Ultra felt a tad too flat for our liking.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup (Translated) “For the moment the display leaves a lasting impression and is an element that can make us fall in love immediately with this super phablet . The display of Xperia Z is a distant memory and here we are at the highest levels of technology available today in the field of screens.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

The Inquirer: “The Sony Xperia Z Ultra impressed us in almost every category apart from its size. It has the fastest mobile processor on the market, it has a great design and the screen is among the best, if not the best, on the smartphone market today. We’re just not sure that the phone’s 6.4in screen is going to appeal to buyers, although we did say the same about the Galaxy Note 2.”

ITProPortal: “Super-svelte chassis or otherwise, there’s no getting away from it – the Xperia Z Ultra is big, too big perhaps. Measuring 92.2mm across, it was a struggle to hold it with one hand and day-to-day operation is likely to put your paws under considerable duress. It also weighs a fair bit more than rival phablets – Samsung’s 5.5in Galaxy Note 2 tips the scales to the tune of 180g, while the Ultra is more than 30g heavier at 212g.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Know Your Mobile: “This humongous device has a sheen of brilliance about it provided by its excellent display and sumptuous design. Whether its size will leave it festering in the hinterland of not-quite-smartphone, not-quite phablet, is not yet clear. Without question, the display is stunning – colour saturation is impressive and images are crisp and detailed. Video playback was a particular highlight with Sony’s X-Reality technology ensuring that watching multimedia content is a treat for the eyes.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Mobile Choice: “It’s great that the Xperia Z Ultra is super thin, but can it fit inside your pocket? Well, we managed to squeeze it inside our baggy jeans, but it was poking clear at the top. We also reckon that climbing stairs with this thing in our pants might ‘cause us a mischief’, as our gran would say. Definitely best off stashing the phone in your jacket or bag.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Mobile-Review: (Translated) “Usually before each presentation, we pretty much more or less know what will be discussed when it comes to Sony. That is, we are hard to impress. At this event, Sony managed to surprise. I have not heard for a while journalists murmuring “wow” when the Sony Xperia Z Ultra was removed from the hosts jacket pocket. And the truth is, wow.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup (Translated) “Phone is thinner than the Xperia Z and this is clearly good for him. Despite the huge size, it does not feel too great and is convenient. The company wanted to make a smartphone is not wider than a normal passport, and they got it – literally the same size joint to joint. Of course, it does not fit in every pocket phone is so long.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

PC Pro: “Sony reckons it’s the slimmest big smartphone on the market. We’re not going to disagree: the Ultra is just 6.5mm thick, yet despite the dimensions, there was no hint of weakness across its aluminium frame and glass rear. It’s a remarkably sturdy piece of kit, and Sony hasn’t just concentrated on making its latest Xperia feel solid – it’s comfortable to hold, too. The brushed aluminium borders aren’t quite as angular as the original Xperia Z, and don’t dig into your palm in quite the same way. Its 212g weight is high for a smartphone, but then we’d expect a little bit of extra heft for a device this big.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Pocket-Lint: “Although we’ve seen a number of great displays this year from the likes of the HTC One, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra has a display that impresses. As a device for browsing the web or watching movies when on your travels, those 6.4 inches obviously give you plenty of space to play. It also looks impressive from the content we’ve seen so far, but bear in mind we’ve yet to see how it performs with our own content, or out in daylight conditions.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Recombu: “The thinness comes at a price. A notable omission is the lack of flash alongside the 8-megapixel Exmor RS sensor, which will upset some photo enthusiasts looking for a larger phone. Having spoken with Sony though, they confirmed this decision due to a focus on slimness and screen.”

SoyaCincau: “In one word, the 6.4-inch full 1080p HD (about 344ppi) display is gorgeous. Sony’s Triluminos technology produces vibrant, natural colours with a wider colour spectrum while the X-Reality engine enhances sharpness and detail especially when viewing images and videos especially the ones that have been compressed after being uploaded to the internet. It is something you have to view for yourself to appreciate. Viewing angle has been improved as well. Unlike the Xperia Z where blacks appear washed out especially when viewing at acute angels, the display on the Z Ultra is great to look at from any angle. On screen movement appears natural thanks to a fast refresh rate and details a pin sharp whether reading text or viewing an image.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup “Don’t. Seriously, don’t. Look at the picture below. Do you want that to be you? Of course you don’t. Get the Smart Bluetooth handset for goodness’ sake.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

T3: “While the customer base seems to confirm that people do indeed want giant phones we’re more of the view that if you do buy one then it has to at least feel as though it’s offering something that a smaller phone can’t. Nowadays just having a bigger screen won’t cut it. While the Xperia Z Ultra should be praised for being a pioneer by offering such a high-resolution screen in a waterproof package you never really feel like it’s actually aimed at solving any questions. Whereas the Note 2 offers a stylus and family of dedicated apps this really does just feel like a giant phone, creating more problems than it does solve them. That said this is only based on spending a short hands-on with the Z Ultra so hang tight for the full review to see if we end up falling in love with its titanic charms.”

TechCrunch: “First impressions: there’s no getting away from the sheer size of this beast. The Xperia Z Ultra is a mammoth. It’s huge, crazy huge. It looks more like a mini tablet than a phone when you see it wielded in anger, which likely explains why Sony has felt the need to make a dummy handset accessory (powered by Bluetooth) so you don’t have to hold this slab up to your face. Doing that is going to invite ridicule unless you’re one of those Ballmer-sized business men with hands the size of dinner plates.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

TechRadar: “The waterproof element to the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is obviously one of the high points, and as such the little doors that seal in the ports are back in force. However, they’re intriguingly not used on the headphone jack, with Sony working out how to make it so the water gremlins won’t destroy your sound.”

TrustedReviews: “The main concern we have with the Xperia Z Ultra is battery life. The 6.44-inch HD screen will doubtless be thirsty and we hope the 3,000mAh battery can cope. The smaller and lower resolution Galaxy Note 2 packs a 3,100mAh battery and has great battery life so we hope the Z Ultra can compare. As with the rest of the Xperia range it will come with Sony’s Battery Stamina Mode to make the most out of battery life.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

V3: “While we were really impressed at how good the display looked running these technologies, during our hands on we were far more interested with the unnamed technology that let us make notes on the screen with regular pens and pencils. The tech let us take notes using a regular, wooden HB pencil, removing the need to carry around a custom and expensive stylus, like the S Pen peripheral used on Samsung’s Galaxy Note devices. While this may sound small, we’re thinking the ability to pull any old pencil or pen out to start taking notes on the Ultra’s crisp and suitably large screen could be a welcome boon for any business user looking for a portable notepad replacement.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

The Verge: “The original Xperia Z was already pushing the boundaries of reasonable handset dimensions with its 5-inch screen, but the new 6.4-inch Z Ultra categorically breaks past them and strays into the territory of small tablets. That’s not necessarily a bad place to be, as it allows Sony to insert a sizeable 3000mAh battery and provides a big old canvas for stylus input — which the company is pushing in a big way with this new product. You just have to be cognizant of what you’re getting yourself into when purchasing an Android slate that makes 5-inch devices look positively compact.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

What Hi-Fi: “The front and back are made of tempered glass, framed by a band of aluminium. Despite its size, it’s actually nicer to hold than the original Xperia Z thanks to rounded edges. We’re finding it difficult not to keep coming back to the phone’s massive footprint. Whatever Sony’s intentions, it certainly feels more tablet than phone. This is for people more likely to text, browse or watch films than make phone calls. Sure, you can make calls as well as any other phone, but you’d look (and feel) ludicrous.”

Xperia Z Ultra hands-on roundup

  • dm

    a phone for elephants……

  • m sacha

    i want this phone even more..

  • Clarence Alvarado

    I’m eager to see the Honami with the unbelievable dev-friendly Xperia Camera Add-Ons. Wish we could see an add-on like Dual Shot, Time Lapse, Long Exposure, and more… without sacrificing internal memory…

    You know what I mean. Hahaha. *Samesung*

  • xperiax10.awesome

    Otherwise its awesome device..

  • hans

    I can see myself using this phablet in the future :) but with the price of $800, might be screaming YOLO at the line lol.. I mean, if we use smaller phone in class, people might think that we are playing games or such, whereas with this and a true pencil, people might see me as a serious people taking a note (while playing game) :p

  • Question01

    I have a question. You know how some people like to rest their palm on the surface before writing? How does the X Ultra reespond to that?

  • retyenger

    I hope it will fail :)

  • jangaleon

    get a life.

  • mike ross

    just fuck your ass with your tiny dick moron!!

  • RS

    IS the UI Tablet or Smartphone?
    like apps gmail,calendar… work as tablet apps or smartphone

  • goldenblls

    I love it. I spend more time on the internet and watching stuff than making calls so this will be a godsend. It’s fantastic size but will give a fantastic experience too.

  • ipatz

    but, no led light is such a turn off.

  • retyenger

    I’d love to but my dick is to small to reach my ass :(

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  • Carl-Johan Nilsson

    Great compilation! Thanks XB!

  • ClioCreslind

    It’s called “Palm-rejection”.

    I see no way it could have palm-rejection, so I think you’ll end up with lots of accidental strokes/scrolls on your notes. So I think the whole pencil-sensing thing is moot, nothing more than publicity-stunt really.

    Besides, pencils will leave its mark on the screen, especially if you use screen-protectors, and some of it will just come off again into your shirt or jacket pocket.

    Sorry, unless I’m proven wrong, this over-sized phone/notepad-wannabe is total nonsense.

  • Abdullah Robben

    does any one have a link to download the lock screen wallpaper?

  • dm

    guess u were d first one who found it faggot…..

  • Anukul

    good work man !

  • LMAO


  • LOL
  • daniel

    If you used cheap screen protector… :-)

  • hans

    Admit it, flash in mobile photography usually destroys the natural lighting of the scene, so the only usable function mostly just for flashlight. But then with that big screen, i can imagine that the display will substitute that flashlight for lighting.

  • Azerila

    The contrast is just 652 and the brighness is just 350 and many say it’s Sony’s best so far?

  • roeshak

    Too big!! Too damn big!!!

  • AA

    This is actually a very good question. I’m wondering about this as well.

  • Mohammed Khired

    im not a fan-boy or sheep..and my screen size’s maximum of 4.3-4.5 inch

    but i want this phablet for the pencil feature only…


  • brunosr23

    For example, HTC One measurements is 1500:1 for contrast and 647 cd/m2 brighness

  • Best sony tablets in 2013 and the upcoming sony tablets in 2014 –

  • a.mubher

    ” The display is right up there with SuperAMOLED ”

    Only a few people really know how to review a display, people in general just don’t pay attention to the details which is shame. SuperAMOLED is not up there by any chance, it is good enough though.

  • jag

    just wait and see the retail demo first. the size might be just fine.

  • jag

    go to xda and look at the xperia Z forums

  • jag

    you wont use the flash anyway.. i dont use mine.

  • lolsomany

    this is for westerner, for asian people like me will choose 4.6/4.7 inch

  • Pingback: Sony Xperia Z Ultra: recensione e prime impressioni d’utilizzo()

  • InspectorGadget80

    so want this PHONE SO BADLY. Deciding over this or the HONAMI. and why bother put it up against the ugly iPad for it’s not even a phone

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