Sony Xperia Z Ultra vs Sony Xperia Z

Vs Paul Briden 17:10, 28 Jun 2013

Is the Sony Xperia Z Ultra phablet a better alternative to the Xperia Z?

Sony’s Xperia Z re-defined the company’s design style and even introduced a new interface overlay for Android. It’s a 5-inch smartphone with a Full HD 1080p display, quad-core processor and a waterproof chassis.

The Xperia Z Ultra build on the Xperia Z with a larger form factor, a bigger display packed with new technology and a high-end Snapdragon 800 chip.

Sony Xperia Z: Key specs and features

The Xperia Z was the first phone to introduce a new design ethos at Sony. Not only does it feature a highly angular shape with some interestingly detailing and premium finish materials, but it’s also IP57 certified for water and dust resistance and is waterproof up to a depth of one metre.

The exterior design is rewarding to look at thanks to the Dragontrail glass front and back – which also offers extreme durability – sharply contoured corners, silver trim, matte finish polycarbonates and panelled detailing along the neatly shaped edges.

Picking up the phone is no less pleasing an experience, everything fits together nicely with a solid feel and materials which are suitably premium to the touch. It’s thin at 7.9mm and reasonably lightweight at 146g.

The Xperia Z is a very nippy device in terms of speed and performance thanks to a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor chip clocked at 1.5GHz with an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit (GPU) and 2GB of RAM. Android 4.2 is well-optimised here and the Sony UI works smoothly. You’ll get no lag while transitioning between screens and you can rest assured even the most demanding content on Google Play will run well with a wealth of choice from Google’s ecosystem too.

Sony continues to impress with its display technology. The 5-inch touchscreen packs a 1920x1080 pixel Full HD resolution at a super-sharp 440 pixels-per-inch (ppi) pixel density and is also powered by Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2 for enhanced colour, contrast and clarity. It’s a phenomenal screen to behold with a highly cinematic almost 3D-like experience, making it ideal for watching feature length films, TV shows, YouTube clips in HD quality and flashy 3D games.

For connectivity the Xperia Z is well-stacked with 4G LTE, NFC, MHL TV-out, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DLNA and GPS. A microSD slot allows storage to be expanded by up to 64GB.

The onboard camera is a very competitive setup as it uses a 13-megapixel Sony Exmor RS sensor with an LED flash, HDR, panoramic capture, digitals stabilisation and 1080p video capture. A 2.2-megapixel secondary also provides decent self portraits and 1080p video calls.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra: Key specs and features

The Xperia Z Ultra is bigger than the Xperia Z in every sense of the word. While the form factor has been enlarged to accommodate a 6.44-inch display there’s very little about the exterior that’s changed. But, this is a very good thing, as mentioned above the Xperia Z’s styling, build and design are all top notch and combine to form a very slick product. The panelled detailing, glass front and back, silver trim and angular, thin shape all make a welcome return here. So too does the IP certification for dust and water resistance and waterproofing, this time bumped up to IP58 and without the need for fiddly port covers, though it’s still only good for up to a metre of water.

The larger 6.44-inch display sports the same 1920x1080 pixel resolution, which results in a slightly lower pixel density of around 342ppi, but this is still incredibly impressive for a screen of this size and you’d probably find it difficult to tell the difference.

It also benefits from some additional enhancements. All of the Xperia Z’s positives are here – enhanced colour, contrast, brightness, white purity and clarity, but they’re boosted even further by Sony’s advancement of these technologies. Instead of the Mobile Bravia Engine 2, Sony has tweaked things to look even better with what it’s now calling the X-Reality Engine. Equally as significant is the use of Triluminos display technology which creates more natural colours.

As well as a display upgrade the Xperia Z Ultra also packs a significantly boosted processor setup and it’s the first handset to be launched packing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at a staggering 2.2GHz with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. At present you won’t find a faster smartphone anywhere else.

Also of note is the fact that the Xperia Z Ultra supports stylus input. It does not come with a stylus, but supports third party pokey sticks and even will allow the use of a pencil, pen or other similar implement. This means it doesn’t use a digitiser and therefore can’t do things like adjust line thickness based on pressure, but for basic note taking and diagrams this is no real issue.

Lastly, the Xperia Z Ultra has a very large battery pack rated at 3,050mAh, ensuring that you should be able to go for at least a day and a bit on one charge.

Direct spec comparison: Shootout

Device Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Dimensions 139x71x7.9mm, 146g 179.4x92.2x6.5mm, 212g 
Display 5-inch LCD,1920x1080 pixels,440ppi 6.44-inch Triluminos LCD,1920x1080 pixels,342ppi, X-Reality Engine 
Camera 13-megapixel Exmor RS,LED flash,1080p video 8-megapixel Exmor RS,1080p video
Storage 16GB,microSD up to 64GB 16GB,microSD up to 64GB
Processor, RAM, Graphics 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4,2GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800,2GB RAM,Adreno 330 GPU
Operating System, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
UI Sony UI Sony UI
Connectivity microUSB,Bluetooth,NFC,Wi-Fi,Wi-Fi Direct,Wi-Fi Hotspot,DLNA,4G,GPS,MHL microUSB,Bluetooth,NFC,Wi-Fi,Wi-Fi Direct,Wi-Fi Hotspot,DLNA,4G,GPS,MHL
Battery 2,330mAh 3,050mAh

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