Sony Xperia Z Ultra review
- Great display
- Waterproof is cool
- Good battery life
- It's enormous
- Average camera
- No flash
Phones are getting bigger, we know. Once they reach a certain size, there's less need for a separate tablet. And with the new Sony Xperia Z Ultra, that need is almost completely negated. After all, with the 6.4-inch display of the Xperia Z Ultra, why would you want to carry a 7-inch tablet as well?
That's what Sony is hoping you'll think - and certainly Samsung has had big successes with its Note range - most recently the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Meanwhle, the Nokia Lumia 1520 6-inch device has just been unveiled, as well as the HTC One Max. But this screen is a lot bigger - is it a phablet too far?
Sony Xperia Z Ultra: Size and build
It may be big, but the Ultra is so slim it fits in the hand easily enough - though it's not for the tiddly fingered. It's also light - much less than a 7-inch tablet like the Nexus 7 or the iPad mini for instance - and the slightly curved edges also improve the hand feel.
It weighs 212g, so much heavier than most phones, but not impossible. Size wise, stat fans, it's 179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm and it's the 6.5mm thickness that really makes the difference.
The glass back is similar to the Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone and makes the phone feel premium and classy. It also has the precision-milled power button on the right edge, as introduced on the Sony Xperia Z. This one is halfway down the side - a concession to the phone's length.
The only downside to the design, really, is a necessity of the waterproofness. To keep the wet out, all the sockets are protected by flaps. These are a faff to open and close and can feel a little fragile.
Actually, the headphone socket doesn't have a cover, it's waterproof inside, which is good as you may need to use it a lot. And if you have the special charging dock, it attaches to two contacts on the side which are exposed. For most of us though, opening the flap on the microUSB socket to charge the phone is unavoidable.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra: Features
Being waterproof is one of Sony's signature features and it sets the company apart from rivals. Whether you're watching movies in the bath or texting in the rain, you're okay with the Z Ultra. The screen keeps working when the phone's underwater though of course the touchscreen can't function when submerged.
And for the rest of the time, it's just handy to know that spilling coffee on the phone, or getting it wet some other way won't damage your valuable electronics.
Sony specialities on the Xperia Z Ultra include Track ID, Sony's own, very capable, alternative to Shazam. And there's Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, Sony's music and movie download or streaming stores.
Sony's take on Android is elegant and demure - none of the brash, colourful icons found on Huawei or LG phones, for instance - and it looks great. Similarly, the Rolodex type display for photos on your phone is fun to use and well executed.