Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review

Introduction

With so many rumors of a Sony Xperia Z Ultra successor as of late. I thought it’ll be a good opportunity for me to review the Z Ultra and give my comments on what I believe are the key features of the device that made it stand out and how it stacks up to today’s devices.

Design

Truth be told, the Omni-balance design has not changed much over the years, only tiny refinements have been made. Only thing I miss from newer models is the dedicated camera button. But it’s not a big deal breaker as there’s a camera shortcut on the lockscreen.

Waterproof

Similar to the Omni-design, waterproofing have not changed much over the past couple of years and it’s still a feature limited to a select premium devices.

Any Pen Stylus

Sadly, the ‘bullet-proof’ glass screen protector I applied to the screen disabled this particular feature. So am unable to comment on the effectiveness of this feature.

Performance

The Z Ultra is powered by probably the most widely used and most famous SnapDragon chipset released to-date. And unless you are looking at synthetic benchmark results, you will be hard-pressed to notice any significant performance difference(s) between the Snap Dragon 800 and the current flagship – Snap Dragon 810.

Camera

The camera department is definitely the biggest let down. Lack of a flash and optical image stabilisation are just the tip of iceberg of deficiencies. Biggest disappointment for me is the camera sensor itself. Quality of photos taken with the Z Ultra were worse than ones taken using a cheap Lumia 532 that costed AUD$20!

Battery Life

The large 6.4″ screen have a big impact on the battery life. If I have screen brightness at a low setting and seldom use the Z Ultra, it can easily last 2 days. And if I have the brightness at the brightest and under normal usage (i.e. not playing games, just browsing the net, social media, etc.), Z Ultra would last not much more than 3.5 hours. However, something I noticed, that is a bit odd and strange – watching videos barely puts a dent on the battery. I watched a 2.5 hour movie and only used around 22% of battery.

Z-badge

Being a Z-badge series device, the Z Ultra gets first class Android support. This benefit was recently shown off with the Android Lollipop update and Sony’s announcement the Z Ultra will be getting the 5.1 update in August.

Conclusion

Apart from the camera department, everything else is pretty much on par with today’s devices. And it is (at time of writing this article), the only 6.4″ phablet on the market – making it the only one of its kind.

Product Photos

Figure 1. Sealed box.
Figure 2. First look inside packaging.
Figure 3. Inside box after phablet is taken out.
Figure 4. Back of phablet.
Figure 5. First time charging.
Figure 6. First time startup.
Figure 7. Holding device in hand.