Sony Xperia Z Ultra hands-on: First look

GSMArena team, 25 June 2013.
Pages: 12345


Sony just dropped a real bomb on the phablet market - a 6.4" monster that threatens to flatten the competition. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra the first officially announced device to be powered by Snapdragon 800 and it's also the thinnest device with a 1080p screen.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra official images

The list of tricks the Sony Xperia Z Ultra knows is almost too long to fit on even its sizable screen. Seriously, this thing is both massive and packed to the rafters with cool features. It slots between the Xperia Z and Xperia Tablet Z, using the same sleek OmbiBalance design and philosophy - "glass is good, thin is even better".

Sony Xperia Z Ultra official images

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra profile measures just 6.5mm, the slimmest 1080p device and close to slimmest overall. We were quite impressed with the Tablet Z and this undercuts it by a fraction. Unlike the Xperia Tablet Z, however, this uses the latest chipset and Android available - Snapdragon 800 and Android 4.2 respectively.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra at a glance

  • General: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, penta-band UMTS/HSPA, 100 Mbps LTE
  • Form factor: Ultra-thin water-resistant touchscreen phablet
  • Dimensions: 179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5, 212 g
  • Display: 6.4" 16M-color 1080p (1080 x 1920 pixels) capacitive touchscreen TFT Triluminous display with X-Reality and OptiContrast
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
  • RAM: 2GB
  • OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Memory: 16GB storage, microSD card slot
  • Camera: 8 megapixel auto-focus camera with face detection; Full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps with HDR, 2MP front-facing camera with FullHD video capture
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, standard microUSB port with MHL and USB host, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC
  • Misc: IP58 certified - dust-sealed and water resistant beyond 1 meter; Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass for the front and the back panel, metal frame on the sides

This is a no-mercy pre-emptive strike against the Samsung Galaxy Note III and all other high-end phablets that might crop up. So far we've only heard that this or that device will use a Snapdragon 800 chipset, but this one is the first to really go for it. And the attractive design and thin body are bound to win many proponents - they did for the Xperia Z and Tablet Z.

Same goes for the water resistant certification - IP58 means it can go deeper than 1m of water, unlike the sissy Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.

Sony Xperia Ultra hands-on photos

The screen has 1080p resolution and despite the big increase in diagonal it still has 344ppi pixel density, enough to qualify it for a Retina display label. It's a Triluminos display with OptiContrast and X-Reality, too, to prove that Sony is throwing the kitchen sink at this one. If it's as good as the one on the Xperia Tablet Z, we'd be stocked (no offence to the Xperia Z phone, but we like good viewing angles).

The slim body did come at a price though, the battery has only 3,000mAh capacity. That's not a lot to go around for a quad-core processor clocked at the insane 2.2GHz (which might be very power-efficient, we don't know yet) and a 6.4" 1080p display.

So, is the Sony Xperia Z Ultra the future - big, high-powered, thin and beautiful - or is it just the king of the phablet niche? Well, that niche has been expanding as of late and so have our pockets. Our first impressions of the Xperia Z Ultra along with live photos follow on the next page of this article.

Update August 1: We had a second encounter with the Xperia Z Ultra and we've updated the following pages with new live photos and benchmarks of the device.

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