The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a unique phone in the Xperia family of smartphones. The 6.44-inch display towers above anything that Sony has made before (tablets excluded) and at 6.5mm in thickness it is by far Sony’s thinnest smartphone to date. These factors combine to make the Xperia Z Ultra a thing of beauty, albeit a bit precarious to use.
Frankly, while some people prefer to use their handsets naked, we feel that the Xperia Z Ultra needs some kind of protection. There are a dearth of good quality cases for the Xperia Z Ultra, but you can always rely on Noreve to fill that gap. We have their leather case for review, which costs €52.99 with free delivery (outside of the EU the case costs €44.30 with free delivery as no VAT is applied). Click through for our thoughts.
We were sent the Xperia Z Ultra leather case in Cobalt, or purple if you prefer.
Noreve supplies the typical aspirational packaging as seen in all of their cases. This consists of a cardboard box with its slogan on the side “Haute Couture for Mobile Devices” and a draw-string bag to make sure the leather doesn’t get scuffed during transit.
Noreve can supply the case in a variety of designs, this includes the Perpétuelle Selection, the Ambition Selection, the Exception Selection, the Pulsion Selection and the Illumination selection. For a couple of the ranges (Perpétuelle and Ambition), Noreve also do a ‘Couture’ finish with a visible stitched design. Each of these ranges are also available in a variety of colours.
It is worth noting that whilst the most popular black versions can normally be dispatched within 24 hours, if you pick a custom design/colour, then it can take up to 14 days for shipment.
We have the Ambition design in Cobalt for review. The Ambition selection comes with pebble grained leather known for its durability, due to a polymer film containing pigments. This surface coating allows an enhanced resistance to scratches and discoloration. This particular design is recommended for intensive use and is said to be resistant to weathering.
The back of the hand-crafted case is reinforced to ensure maximum protection.
Noreve is a French-based company and founded in Saint-Tropez. Hence the silver embossed logo on the back of the case.
The inside of the case uses the same coloured leather as the outside which is a nice consistent touch.
The interior lining of the case is embossed with the Noreve logo.
The case is reasonably slim, although the front and back sides are padded which does add some bulk. This is something we’re happy to sacrifice given the cost of the device and the protection it serves. Others may not be willing to make the trade-off.
The case leaves all ports accessible through the various cut-outs. The only part of the phone you won’t have access to is the magnetic charging port when the case is closed, but looking at the cases on the market so far, we haven’t seen any that allow for this. However, there is a work around as you can simply unclip the left side of the phone and use it in the dock this way.
The right side of the phone has easy access to the headphone jack, microSD/micro SIM slots, power button and volume rocker.
The left side of the phone has easy access to the micro USB flap/port. The rest of this side of the phone is covered by the case. As mentioned above, this means the magnetic charging port is covered.
We had no problem in opening and closing the USB flap for charging. This is partly helped by the Xperia Z Ultra design, whose flaps are much easier to open/close compared to previous Xperia smartphones.
The top of the handset leaves both corners exposed. With the case closed, the back and front covers of the case should do enough not to cause any damage if the phone dropped, however this would depend on how it fell.
The bottom of the case covers both corners thankfully, especially as this is the part of the phone that would most likely hit the floor if dropped. There is an opening for the speaker, ensuring no muffled speaker.
The case has a clasp that is used to keep it closed. This is neither a magnetic closure nor a snap closure, it simply grips the side of the phone when shut. From our initial use, the case has held itself tightly when closed. We do wonder how the clasp would fare over long-term use and whether the clasp would give a little over time. There is no suggestion that this would be the case from our use so far though.
A perfect cut-out for the camera lens meant there were no hindrances when taking photos. However, given the style of case, when taking photos the case had to be kept open. Folding over the case would block the camera.
To use the case as a stand, you simply need to unclip the left edge of the phone and the leather bends easily enough. This is a great option if watching media on the handset. You can also use this mode when charging the phone with the DK30 Magnetic Charging Dock.
There are no ridges or grooves to keep the handset at a particular angle, however we found that the leather was just stiff enough to allow a comfortable viewing angle. As can be seen below, the case has enough flex to be used at quite shallow angles.
Overall, we are quite fond of this Noreve case. It looks classy, it is made out of premium hand-crafted leather and it offers some decent protection for the Xperia Z Ultra. The case is not particularly cheap at €52.99, but then again it is a premium case for a premium handset. The case does add bulk to the very slim profile of the handset, but it will be down to you to decide whether you want to sacrifice the form-factor for added peace of mind in case of an accidental fall. In our view, it is well worth it. The added bonus of being able to use the case as a sturdy stand leaves us easily recommending the Noreve case if you own the Xperia Z Ultra.