Sony Xperia Z Ultra – Short & Sweet Review

Posted By on Feb 6, 2014 in Android, Reviews | 0 comments


I wanted to spend a little time writing a review of my phone. I had a little money and wanted to splash out on something new. I loved the size of my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, but loved the appeal of having a bigger, waterproof phone and the Xperia Z Ultra was too good to resist. It had a hefty price tag, but with the ‘free’ Sony SmartWatch 2 and bluetooth headset and £50 of ‘free’ content I managed to justify it to myself.

Here, a few months later, are my thoughts…

It’s 6.4 inches; massive in other words. It barely fits in my pocket. Even in my manly (baggy) jeans with man-sized pockets

It’s a very good phone, but there are some flaws…

The first major one is the camera. In short, it’s rubbish.

There’s no flash and the lens is utterly poor, so in anything other than perfect light you get mega grain and digital noise on photos

Also I found on older firmware the phone freezes every now and then and needs reseting. Luckily that’s stopped since 4.3.

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Upsides

  • The screen is awesome. Size, brightness, colour and quality are all great. Just what I wanted for browsing, videos etc
  • The build quality is awesome. It makes Samsung ones seem pants. It feels solid, strong and durable.
  • It’s waterproof to 1.5 meters for 30mins – which opens the potential for underwater photos but also means you can use it in the bath without worrying about destroying it if you accidentally drop it.
  • The battery life is quite good compared to my old phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 2) and there’s Sony settings like ‘Stamina mode’ and ‘Low Battery mode’ that improve it’s life in sacrifice of things like wifi and data sync (though I don’t use these and still get good life).
  • Blue tooth and Nfc works really well with the Sony Smartwatch 2
  • Sony don’t use launchers like Samsung’s touchwhizz, so you almost get vanilla (standard) Android with a few apps and improvements. This generally keeps the phone as Google intended Android – quick, clean and customisable how you want it.
  • OS Updates are meant to be more regular from Sony. Ask me if that’s true next year!

Downsides

  • The camera (see above)
  • The size (it sticks out of my pocket and I have deep pockets)
  • There’s an anti scratch coating on the screen which basically means it’s permanently covered in fingerprints. Also, for some reason if picks up particularly greasy fingerprints and water drops as actual finger presses and starting opening apps and doing strange things when you don’t want it to. A quick wipe and it’s back to normal, but it is an annoyance.
  • There aren’t many roms for it at the moment if you’re thinking of customising it.
  • Everyone is constantly taking the mickey out of me for having such a massive phone and I often get asked if I always carry my tablet around with me.

Summary

It’s a great phone, fast, fun and simple. It has a great build quality (something Apple fanboys are always pulling out to say is pants about Android phones). But has a poor camera and some other frustrations. Honestly, based on my experience I WOULD buy another Sony phone, but if I had a time machine I’d buy a Xperia Z1 rather than the Ultra – mostly because of the superior camera, but I’d miss the big screen.

That’s a quick run down as I don’t want to spend ages covering ground other people have. My recommendation is to go to the phone shops and check it out in person. The quality of the screen and the build has to be seen, felt and held to be believed. But be warned, the camera is really poor. I can’t say that enough.