Sony Xperia Z Ultra review

Is it a tablet? Is it a phone? Really... do you care?

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We're moving away from the days when you had a phone and you were stuck with the apps you got on there. In fact, we've gone the other way.

The first thing most smartphone owners do when they get their shiny new device is start downloading like crazy.

Unfortunately, that spells bad news for the manufacturers who like to load up their devices with so much useless bloatware because it'll get lost as soon as you start sticking your own stuff in, which is why they often put widgets and shortcuts on the homescreens too. Many newbies won't know how to remove these. It's a good ploy.

At the heart of the Xperia Ultra is Google. That's where the OS comes from and that means you get the staple Android offerings out of the box. That means the likes of Gmail, Google Calendar and of course, Google Maps, to name but a few.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Good old Google Maps

Google Maps deserves special praise. It always does. It is the most comprehensive, up to date, mobile mapping solution out there. And it's free.

Plus it supports offline mapping. It's not just for reference, but it is now a full turn by turn navigation app which means that you are getting a full sat nav for no extra cost. It's basically the app that just keeps giving. And on a display like the Xperia Z Ultra's, that's pretty brilliant.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony gives us a few of its own – for example, Sony Select. Which is basically its own App Store – it never really quite makes sense on Android to do this because you'll get the same apps and more on the Play Store.

OEMs clearly want to confuse new users into thinking that theirs are the best places to get apps but it's just messy. TrackID is basically Shazam (in fairness, Sony has used this for years – long before Shazam lanched its app).

You're also treated to an app called Sketch – which is ok for doodles when using your finger or the pencil functionality. It's something to keep the kids entertained.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Xperia Lounge is meant to give you that feeling of buying into an exclusive club. You can enter competitions and read exclusive interviews with stars.

We can't see it lasting that long. This is the kind of app that peters away when nobody uses it. It says it is in beta. We'd be surprised if it ever graduates out.

And then there's Xperia Privilege. This app actually made us laugh out loud when we opened it. The app logo is very luxurious, and the name gives off the sense that this is something special.

We opened it expecting something akin to the Vertu Concierge service (obviously, at a much more basic level) and the first thing that popped up was a bright pink and green ad that looked like something from a magazine advert. It certainly entertained us. But not in the way Sony probably hopes.

Ultimately, you'll probably find you use the Google apps, not the Sony ones. But that's no bad thing. And installing apps is very, very quick. Probably the quickest experience we can remember on a smartphone, thanks to those internal speeds.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.34 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia Z Ultra
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 850, LTE 900, LTE 1700, LTE 1800, LTE 1900, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD, microSD Extended Capacity (microSDXC)
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time16 Hour
Screen Size16.3 cm (6.4")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)212 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density344 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2 Megapixel
Height179.4 mm
Width92.2 mm
Depth6.5 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time820 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXperia Z Ultra Smartphone
Processor Speed2.20 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 800
Product LineXperia Z Ultra
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part Number1276-0434
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationThe world's largest Full HD smartphone display

The first Android smartphone with a 6.4" Full HD Display - and the first one ever to incorporate a TRILUMINOS™ Display with X-Reality for mobile - Xperia Z Ultra is the smartphone that takes you beyond your wildest dreams. The result? An on-the-go viewing experience that maximises everything.

The world's slimmest Full HD smartphone

With its 6.5 mm body, reflective glass surface and at 212 grams, this premium big screen phone is impressively slim, light and slick.