Sony’s massive Xperia Z Ultra 6.4 inch phablet reviewed

Switch the phone on and you’ll be greeted to a lovely Full HD screen that is razor sharp to look at, with excellent colours and angles.

Sunlight isn’t this phone’s best friend, mind you, and the overly glossy screen does produce some visibility issues thanks to less brightness than we’re used to when taken out in direct sunlight, so just be weary.

Using the Ultra, you’ll be treated to Sony’s friendly user interface which sits atop Android, delivering a slick and clean overlay reminiscent of the the style Sony uses on its other products.

Still, with Android here, you’ll find a drop down menu with power controls, app shortcuts, menus, and several homescreens with oodles of space to throw widgets and shortcut icons on.

App menus can be set in your own order, or the basic ones like alphabetical or most used, and the multitasking still reveals floating application windows too, for when you urgently need a web browser or calculator when you’re doing something else.

Performance is more or less excellent here when you’re opening applications, and just like in the Z1, we didn’t have many problems running anything.

The combination of 2GB RAM and the quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor help to make this handset fly, and you can easily turn off applications by flicking them out of your multitasking menu.

We’re still fans of Sony’s on-screen keyboard, which is very quick to respond as you type, and supports one of the better implementations of the gesture keyboard solutions out there, especially in comparison to some of the other Android phones we’ve reviewed.

Mobile performance is equally impressive, too, netting between 20 and 80Mbps, and that was on a Category 3 network. Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra supports Category 4 4G LTE, which in this country only Vodafone supports (as of the time of publishing), which means download speeds as high as 150Mbps are theoretically possible.

Battery life is definitely not the best, however, and while Sony has managed to slim the phone down in ways smaller handsets haven’t yet achieved, the 3050mAh battery doesn’t have enough life in it to pull in much more than a day.

That result was found jumping between apps, making phone calls, surfing the web, emails, listening to music, and doing all of the regular things you might use a smartphone for.

Cut down on these activities and you might find the Xperia Z Ultra can handle more than just 24 hours, but that almost might limit why you’d buy such a big device in the first place.

Let’s touch upon that, though, because really, this is a massive phone. Too massive, in some ways.

We’ve reviewed 7 inch tablets that worked as phones before, and we felt awkward carrying them knowing full well they were technically tablets with the phone capability switched on.

Here in the 6.4 inch Xperia Z Ultra, that feeling hasn’t moved very far because this size is just so noticeable. It’s hard to get in your pocket, and it doesn’t fit well in your hands unless they’re massive.

In fact, while Sony has nailed the button placement on a big phone better than LG did in the Flex, the insane size of the handset dents it negatively, making it hard to hold and carry, and awkward to keep in the pockets of your pants, unless you happen to have a particularly large or baggy pair.