We’re just several days away from stepping into the second half of 2013 which means that sooner rather than later the majority of smartphone manufacturers will release the next wave of high-end devices. It looks like the second half of the year is also a time for “phablets”, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 being expected to make an appearance at IFA Berlin sometime in September. However, the Note 3 will not be the only large-screen device to go on sale by the end of 2013.
Sony has recently announced the Xperia Z Ultra (formerly known as the “Togari”), a 6.44 inch behemoth that that makes justice to the term “phablet”. Let’s see what it has to offer.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra – Hardware, Design, Characteristics
As established above, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is equipped with a 1080 x 1920 6.44 inch TRILUMINOUS display, making it the largest and thinnest FHD smartphone ever created. The package is being powered by a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor with a frequency of 2.2 GHz, an Adreno 330 graphics chip, 2 GB of RAM, a 3,050 mAh battery and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box. Storage-wise, the Z Ultra comes with 16 GB and a microSD card slot (which can be used to expand the storage by up to additional 64 GB).
As far as the media department is concerned, the handset arrives with an 8 MP main camera as well as a 2 MP front-facing sensor. The bad news is that, judging by the released press renders and various “hands-on” videos, the Ultra does not have an LED flash to help out the 8 MP sensor in low-light conditions.
Other notable features of the Xperia Z Ultra are its dust and waterproof capabilities, its thin 6.5 mm profile, and the ability to detect on-screen input from pretty much any type of pen, including a regular charcoal pencil. It’s also going to be retailed in three different colors, those being black, white and purple, much like the Xperia Z. However, unlike its 5 inch sibling, the Z Ultra will feature a solid purple tone instead of a glittery one.
Featuring a 6.44 inch display, the Xperia Z Ultra shapes up to be more of a tablet than a smartphone, which means that it can become quite impractical (or even embarrassing) to accept phone calls on such a large slate. Sony seems to be aware of the situation, and as such, reports indicate that the manufacturer will include a splashproof SBH52 Bluetooth headset in the box. This accessory features its own OLED display that provides feedback regarding incoming calls and text messages; it supports NFC, FM radio with RDS and can also be used as a music headset.
Interestingly enough, the SBH52 Bluetooth headset does not follow the conventional design cues of a regular headset. Unlike other such accessories, the SBH52 does not feature an ear hook / loop / clip, and it needs to be held against the ear, just as a regular phone.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra – Availability
Sadly, Sony hasn’t been able to reveal the exact release date and price of the upcoming Z Ultra. However, the manufacturer claims that the device will go on sale sometime within the third quarter of the year. This will definitely make it a direct competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 which could hit the market in late-September / early October. The Note 3 is rumored to arrive with either a 5.7 or a 5.99 inch display. That being said, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra really takes the cake; at least when it comes to overall dimensions and screen diagonal.
However, chances are that the Sony Xperia Z Ultra will see the light of day ahead of the Note 3, not only because it’s been officially announced earlier, but also because it seems that the gadget has already visited the FCC.
According to the latest reports, the Snapdragon 800-powered beast has been spotted at the FCC featuring 1,700 MHz HSPA as well as GSM 850/1900 MHz network compatibility. The documents have also confirmed the IP 58 certification which gives the device the ability to survive for 30 minutes while being submerged under 1.5 meters of water.
Overall, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a rare breed and an intriguing smartphone. It’s very well equipped (except for the part where it lacks an LED flash), it’s slim, full HD, dust and waterproof, and arrives with a convenient Bluetooth headset. Nevertheless, this gadget will clearly not appeal to everyone, given its large dimensions. Would you be interested in buying one? What are your thoughts concerning the handset’s features and screen size? Don’t hesitate to share your opinions below.