Hands-on with the Sony Xperia Z Ultra (video)

5 Jul 2013

Demonstrating the waterproof capabilities of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra

The latest addition to Sony Mobile’s top-end Xperia Z range – which already has the brand’s flagship smartphone and tablet device – is a durable, multi-tasking phablet announced just last week. At an exclusive Sony event, we got a hands-on demo of the Xperia Z Ultra from Ciaran Cleary, national sales and marketing manager for Ireland at Sony Mobile.

The Xperia Z Ultra was first announced at the recent Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai, and we were invited to get familiar with the new device ahead of its release in Ireland next month.

The first thing that will strike you about the Xperia Z Ultra is its size. With a 6.4-inch display, the device is just about the right size to still fit in your hand, but far too big to truly consider it a smartphone.

For me, the Xperia Z Ultra fits in the category we’ve come to refer to as ‘phablets’: not quite a smartphone, but not quite a tablet. But falling short of either of those categories is not to say that the Ultra is not an impressive device in its own right.

Though it’s hard to discern from a second-hand viewing in our video, I can assure you that the display is as stunning as Cleary claims and the optimisation provides greater clarity and depth of colour – but this really has to be seen with your own eyes to be believed.

As with every Sony device released in the past few months, the Ultra has an NFC chip for fast connectivity to a range of devices. You can even see at the start of this video the music playback that was prompted by someone testing the new SmartWatch 2 on the other side of the room.

Users can make calls using the Xperia Z Ultra, but they may not want to be seen holding the giant device to their ear. Sony has already considered this, though, and a range of accessories are in the works, including a small Bluetooth and NFC-enabled handset for making calls. The keypad can also be toggled left or right for one-handed usage, plus the responsive screen isn’t fussy about what kind of stylus is used – even a plain old pencil will do.

Perhaps the most appealing smartphone feature of the Xperia Z Ultra is the price. Though this high-spec device could easily bear the same cost as a mini tablet, Sony has stuck to its guns on marketing it as a smartphone and this will also apply to the price tag.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.