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Welcome to the 2013 Sony Xperia Z Ultra review. Although the Z Ultra has been reviewed a number of times else where we decided to add our own voice with this focused review. Furthermore we dumped the iPhone 5s and replaced it with the Xperia Z Ultra, yes we actually bought one. It was perfect for the portable tablet and phone we wanted. We BLOG too honestly to be given anything for any manufacturer to test so you can be assured that if a phone or gadget is good it really is!

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is currently priced at around $700 but can also be purchased on various plans as most other top end mobile phones. Since the Xperia Z Ultra is a very large phone so it can be quite awkward to hold and as a result we also added the new Sony SmartWatch 2 as an accessory. A review on the SmartWatch2 will follow this review – naturally.

In terms of construction the Xperia Z Ultra is made of metal and glass. The fit is tight and sturdy meaning that its quite difficult to bend but not impossible as with any other phone. We have accidentally dropped the phone onto concrete from our pocket and there was no damage or scratches apart from a tiny scratch on the side,we’ll be much more careful next time! As a result we can say that the screen can take some punishment. It meets IP55 and IP58 standards so it can be dropped in water or easily used when walking in the rain or desert without any damage. Just make sure the flaps for the power via mini-USB, microSD card and SIM tray are properly closed. We are also impressed with the glass as it seems to clean its self when put in our pocket! We are not joking. We do not have any sort of cover or screen protection on the phone.

In terms of hardware the Sony Xperia Z Ultra packs what is currently the fastest quad core CPU but rated at 2.2 GHz and the latest graphics CPU Adreno 330 and 2 Gigs of RAM. Furthermore it CPU is rated higher than the original Z and more equal to the Z1. The Z Ultra also has the latest screen technology on the massive 6.4 inch 1080p screen which looks much more amazing compared to say the iPhone5. The end result is a smooth or slick navigation with fast app operation including the web browser.  MicroSD memory expansion means that you’ll never really run our of space! The specs are completely top end except for the camera which doesn’t even have a flash which is disappointing. Overall very well made surprisingly light and thin phone!

In terms of use it has all the FACs things for Android OS but adds few things like standard lock screen widgets and  drop down shortcuts which make day to day use much easier. There are so many more customisation options on Android that it can get daunting but that said the iPhone too has the same problem. Overall its very fast and rock stable! The other reason for choosing the X Ultra was that when we considered the Samsung Note 3 we found that the Note 3 included too much software that makes it seem less responsive than the Xperia Z Ultra. Both are fantastic phones though.

The only issue we have with the Xperia Z Ultra is the quality of the camera pictures. It does not produce results good enough for printing on a a large scale but adequate for the social networks like Instagram and Facebook. The missing flash is also disappointing considering the price. We guess it so that people would buy the normal Xperia Z1 for the better camera. The screen brightness also needs to be brighter for use in direct sunlight.

The Xperia Z Ultra battery life has extended after charging it a few times including draining the battery completely for calibration. The Xperia should last a day for frequent use or 2 days under normal its use with WiFi and Bluetooth turned on. Due to the large screen it does chew through quite a bit of battery life when in use but the quality is top end HD (it’s not perfect though) only the Nokia 1020 screen is noticeably better a first glance.

The Xperia Z Ultra is definitely on the limits of what can be called a mobile phone due to physical size. However despite its size it is amazingly light and solid to hold. Normal sized humans can use the phone quite easily and even one handed since you can customize the keypad to left or right small hand layout orientation! Yes – those who claim to have reviewed the phone clearly missed this feature or haven’t really used one which is not a surprise! Overall the Z Ultra is very easy to use due to the large touch screen. The SWYPE keypad and superior spellchecker also help convince us that this phone was the right choice.

Holding the Z Ultra  to your ear initially can be odd due to size but after getting used to the size it becomes second nature. Earphone sound quality is excellent likewise reception but loud speaker quality could be louder and better. Not too bad considering that the phone is essentially fully sealed unit due to being water resistant!

Overall the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is an excellent phone with all the benefits and issues with Android based phones. However due to large size it is on the limit of what can be called a mobile phone! If you where a tall or larger guy or girl it would look much better than a dainty little phone. Of course you can go for the smaller 5 inch Xperia Z1 which has the better camera and easier to handle size. Else if you wanted a tablet and phone than the Z Ultra is a perfect compromise! Just don’t buy it for the camera. We liked it enough due to its overall features and currently 100% satisfied it will be hard going back to a small screen phone.

That said if we where to consider a replacement it would need to have a IR blaster, a better camera and flash, louder speaker and a few flashy lights wouldn’t go astray either!

Specifications

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
  • Network
    GSM All frequencies
    3G All frequencies
    4G/LTE All frequencies
  • Design
    Touch screen
  • L79.4 x W92.2.6 x D6.5 mm
  • Weight 210 grams
  • Display
    6.4 inch 1080 x 1920 Trilluminos
  • Camera
    8MP auto-focus
    2nd forward facing video call camera 2MP
  • Video Camera
    1080p high definition 30FPS main video camera
  • Connectivity
    Wi-Fi
    Bluetooth V3
  • CPU
    Quad core 2.2 Ghz Krait 800
    Graphics Andreno 330
  • Memory
    2Gig RAM
    Approx 12Gig for user
    Up to 64Gig micro-SD expansion
  • Features
    A-GPS
    Gyroscope, Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity
    Ambient Light
    Dolby Digital
    Music and Media player
    Ring tones: MIDI, MP3, Video, vibration and others
    Google Play store
    Free Google Navigator (requires data plan)
    MS-Word, Excel and Powerpoint, PDF, ZIP compatible
    Organiser/Calendar
    SMS, MMS, IM, Email
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Li-Po 3050 mAh battery
    Up to 800 hours Standby
    Up to 11 hours Talk Time
  • Price history
    Approx $700UD late 2013 (Outright)

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