Yesterday Sony provided Hardware.Info with a hands-on session with its latest high-end smartphone, the Xperia Z Ultra. It's literally the bigger sibling of the current flagship Sony phone, the Xperia Z. The new Ultra is equipped with an extremely fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.2 GHz, but the most eye-catching quality is the size of the new phone. The Xperia Z Ultra has a 6.4-inch Full HD display, which puts it in that grey area between smartphone and tablet. We had the opportunity to play around with the new phone for about half an hour. It will be available in the third quarter of this year, for a recommended price of 719 euros.
Like the Xperia Z, the new phone is also dust- and waterproof according to IP55 and IP58 standards. In terms of design, the Z Ultra looks a lot like the smaller Z. It's heavier and thinner, however, weighing in at 212 grams. The Xperia Z Ultra measures 17.9 x 9.2 cm, and is only 6.5 mm thin. It gives the phone a very sleek look.
Inside we find Qualcomm’s latest SoC, the Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor with built-in Adreno 330 GPU. It supports 4G, NFC and modern WiFi standards including 802.11ac. The phone comes with 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. You can add additional storage by means of MicroSD. The phone is equipped with a magnetic connector that connects to an optional dock, or to a charger.
It's surprising that the battery 'only' has a capacity of 3000 mAh, which is kind of limited for a phone this size. The battery life is supposed to be assisted by smart software that automatically disables WiFi and other connectivity features. Sony claims the phone will last 14 hours on a single charge, and on standby up to 550 hours. This aspect we of course couldn't test in our limited hands-on time.
The camera on the Xperia Z Ultra has a lower resolution than the camera in the standard Z, instead of a 13 megapixel sensor it's equipped with an 8 megapixel one. A LED flash is absent. Sony calls this a conscious choice, as their new phone supposedly isn't meant for people that take a lot of photos.
The screen on the Xperia Z Ultra is significantly better than what we're used to from Sony. Viewing angles have never been that great on Sony phones, in our experience. The new 6.4-inch display on the Xperia Z Ultra (almost) doesn't suffer from this, and it looks great. The 342 ppi pixel density isn't as high as on smaller phones with a Full HD display, but it's still impossible to see individual pixels.
Sony calls the screen a ‘Triluminos’ display, which indicates that it has a greater color range than the standard sRGB spectrum. We've seen with Triluminos televisions that they are indeed capable of making red more red and blue more blue than standard LCD screens. It's not really possible to make any objective statements about the color range of the Xperia Z Ultra based on our brief hands-on experience. That will have to wait until our in-depth review.
The Xperia Z Ultra comes with a small capacitive stylus, and Sony says it should also be possible to write on the screen with a normal pen or even a pencil. Another neat feature is that you can place a Post-It note on the screen, write on it with a normal pen, and the writing will be copied by the screen as a kind of digital carbon copy.