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Sony Xperia Z Ultra review

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

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra takes the phablet concept, adds a bit more size, a lot more elegance and throws in specs to die for.

More connectivity options than a very connected thing, more grunt than a Ferrari. Sony knows it will be a very niche device. But it clearly wants the Xperia Z Ultra to be the niche device. It's thrown money and specs at it. Will that be enough?

We liked:

The Xperia Z Ultra has phenomenal specs – from that beautiful screen, to its breathtaking design and powerful innards, there is so much that Sony has gotten right here.

It's not a gimmicky device and has given power users one of the things they often desperately crave – a good battery performance and top speeds.

We like that we can use it for the high-drain things: browsing the web and watching video, as well as a spot of Google navigation through the maps app. When you've got a phone like this with a screen that's phenomenal, it deserves to be used.

Having a microSD slot, as well as the open headphone jack, are great additions that make us feel like we're looking at a well-thought out handset that will be fine to come swimming with us.

We disliked:

The camera just ruined the entire experience for us. It's not that we intend to use the Xperia Z Ultra just to take photos, but it's the way that Sony has just not bothered to even try to make it usable. It leaves us worrying what other corners have been cut inside, away from view.

There's not a lot else wrong with the phone, thanks to the fact it brings top end technology in a different package. A lot of people will find the phone too large, simply due to hand size - there's an argument that with this phablet Sony has erred to hard on the side of 'ablet' over 'ph'.

Calling on this phone predictably becomes a chore. If you have to add a Bluetooth headset to make it work, you're doing it wrong.

Final verdict

The Xperia Z Ultra is one of those devices that makes you gasp. Partly because of its beautiful design and partly because its specs are so great. It's a phablet, but Sony wants you to also remember it's a phone.

The market is increasingly getting competitive and the Galaxy Note 3 is a strong challenger. But if you need something bigger, the race is strictly between the Xperia Z Ultra and the Galaxy Mega. And this wipes Samsung's offering off the table.

If you want something to surf the web on, play games and make occasional calls – and size isn't a problem – then the Xperia Z Ultra is it.

But if you even want to take occasional photos, then don't bother. Sony's really let itself down here. We admit that a camera on a phablet isn't the reason to buy a device, but we expected a lot more from Sony.

This is an excellent phablet, and one that will impress many. But with the higher base price, it could be a lot more impressive in some areas.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
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
ColourWhite
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 Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
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.