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Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

September 22, 2013 10:54 IST

Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Himanshu Juneja

Sony's flagship phone has a brilliant hardware under the hood but leaves too many areas neglected.

The dividing line between a phone and a tablet has already seen lot of blurring of late. The Xperia Z Ultra is def going to push the constant blurring effort a notch up. The phablet is the latest to come out from Sony's stable.

Specs

The device certainly has been constructed with top-notch hardware, unlike anything else which has been dished out by Sony So far.

Display: 6.44", 1080p full HD display. boosted by the Triluminous technology.

Processor: Quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2GHz

RAM: 2 GB

Onboard Memory: 16 GB

Memory Card slot: Yes

Camera: 8MP NO FLASH / 2MP Front Facing Camera

OS: Android 4.2.2

Connectivity: HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and GLONASS.

Misc: Dustproof, Waterproof (above 1m)

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Image: Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Photographs: sonymobile.com

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Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Himanshu Juneja

Build

The phone is massive. No questions about it. Sony has maybe tried to see at what point does the consumer base draws the line that the gadget is too big to be lugged around while being called just a phone. Single hand use is going to be next to rare for this model.

The phone's material is glossy and will attract the fingerprints and smudges easily. Hairline marks tend to appear on such surfaces too.

The phone has been impressive regarding its thickness, or the lack of it. With just about 6.55 mm thick, it is astounding how nicely the phone sits in your hand thanks to the slimness factor.

Sony has also included a magnetic charging port along the side to enable the users the option of charging their device via magnetic dock.

The designing has been thoughtful on the front that the metallic borders have been raised just a little more than the glass level. This will act as a line of protection in case the phone slips out of hands.

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Photographs: sonymobile.com

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Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Himanshu Juneja

Display

The display being the 6.44" that it is, gives the user more real estate to play around with, and Sony too has provided an enhanced home screen layout, giving the users more options to customise their shortcuts accordingly. The dock itself has the ability to hold 6 shortcuts without causing any strains. The display has been adequately protected by providing shatter proof and scratch resistant technology.

As mentioned, the phone comes with the full HD display. Most impressive is the specially designed X reality engine which enhances the images to a good extent by improving colour saturation, contrast enhancement and reduction in noise. All these factors will definitely contribute to render the standard definition images more suitable for the HD viewing experience.

Something which really did seems like an innovation for the future is that the users can use a graphite pencil or even a metal pen with tip diameter of over 1mm as stylus. This is definitely something which will make users to try these options out. Sony definitely did the thoughtful here.

However, it should be mentioned that in general and especially after having experienced something like Samsung's well known AMOLED technology, the Xperia Z line up's screens do look a bit washed up. To make matters bit more grim, the viewing angle are poor on this device as well. The latter shouldn't worry a prospective buyer too much, but the former cannot be overlooked.

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Photographs: sonymobile.com

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Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Himanshu Juneja

OS and performance

The phone runs Android 4.2.2 right out of the box. This comes as a good addition, as the phone boasts of a tremendous array of impressive hardware all around. Hence it was natural that the company will not leave the OS dept being devoid of anything
either.

Powered by the superb Snapdragon 800 chipset, (it is the first phone to do so), the new Adreno 330 GPU, and the 2GB RAM, the phone really is super smooth. Whether you are talking about the general usage, or experience while browsing via the phone's internet connectivity. The performance is all round zippy. The performance has been lifted to a level where users will struggle to find an application which can make use of the provided hardware.

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Photographs: sonymobile.com

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Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Himanshu Juneja

Battery

A phone with massive display and loads of raw power under the hood had to be supplied with a battery which could match the hardware's requirements. The non-removable 3050 mAH battery supplied seems to be doing the job pretty well and should let the users get enough juice to run the phone for a day.

If the need be, one can try the stamina mode to cut the battrey drainage significantly. The apps which can access the data while being in sleep mode can be customised to achieve the effect.

Sony claims 16 and 14 hrs of talktime on 3G and 2G respectively.

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Photographs: sonymobile.com

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Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Himanshu Juneja

Camera and noticeable flaw

Thanks to its size being just under what can be termed as a tablet, people won't be holding a full fledged slab to take a pic. The rear camera comes with image stabilisation feature, the pics come out very impressive in well-lit condition and the results were very good. Once clicked, the pics can be zoomed in quite decently to obtain a better view.

But the user dare not try this device for low level light condition. It simply doesn't has a camera flash to be used!

Coming up with top of the line hardware and impressive build quality, apart from the big screen size, it seemed that Sony had it covered, until the missing LED/Xenon flash is noticed. This really is a big feature missing in today's times.

The loud speaker of the device fared worse and wasn't satisfactory either.

One doesn't expect these shortcomings given the competition and Sony really did serve a bad surprise in this department.

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Photographs: sonymobile.com

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Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

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Himanshu Juneja

Conclusion

There is no doubt that with the arrival of the new entry in the Sony line up, the company is defenitely heading down the same path which has earlier been taken so very successfully by Samsung. By bringing out number of variants under the Xperia umbrella, the company is trying to attract and offer the consumers a range of choices from a trusted brand and series' backing.

But with the Ultra, Sony may have backed themselves a bit too much. They tried to serve a phone which has brilliant hardware under the hood but left too many areas neglected.

As if the humungously large screen wasn't enough of a gamble, they have gone ahead and taken out the all essential and now omnipresent LED flash from their unit. Seems like they have all but shot themselves in the foot. The result is that the camera is dependent heavily on ambient lighting.

The phone is nowhere easy to be carried around as your primary phone, pictures will be either a hit or a miss depending upon light conditions, screen looking a bit washed out and a bad loudspeaker. These are quite noticeable flaws.

With these crucial shortcomings, whether the phone will see acceptance from Sony fans remains a big question mark, and Sony may just find itself a bit unhappy with the answer in due course of time.

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Photographs: sonymobile.com

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