Sony’s massive Xperia Z Ultra 6.4 inch phablet reviewed

It’s worth noting here that while the screen is 6.4 inches diagonally, the phone is 7.6 inches diagonally, as Sony has left almost 2 centimetres worth of borders on the top and bottom, increasing the size of an already big handset relatively dramatically.

This huge size is impossible to ignore, and while it will be easier to find in a bag, you generally feel more conscious as you hold it to your ear, not to mention keeping a grasp of the massive handset as you’re walking that also happens to be quite slippery.

We’re not saying that the Z Ultra is too big — that’s something only you will be able to work out for yourself — but the Sony Xperia Z Ultra feels more like a tablet than a phone, and this ridiculously large size combined with the extra space Sony has left on the handset doesn’t help to make holding the handset feel natural over a long period of time.

If you think the 4.7 inch HTC One is big, Sony's Xperia Z Ultra just swallows it whole.

The camera is a bit of a let down as well, especially when you compare it to some of the offerings Sony has given us in the past.

Unlike the camera on the Xperia Z1, you don’t see a 20 megapixel here, but rather an 8 megapixel module, with some of the weakest low light capabilities seen in ages.

Expect noise and a bit of pixelation in your photos, some even appearing in daylight when you’d least expect it. It’s not the greatest result, and certainly not what we expect from Sony.

Sample image from the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. More in the gallery at the end of the review.

The 8 megapixel camera isn’t helped at all by the lack of a flash, a strange omission on such a big phone, and one we expect should be here.

Combine this missing element with the weak low light camera and you have a phablet that really fails at taking pictures in any place but the most brightly lit, limiting where you can use it considerably.

Almost as if to emphasise that this isn’t a phone you’ll be taking pictures with, Sony has removed the dedicated camera button, something we saw on the Xperia Z1 earlier on which helps to let you avoid touching the screen when you want to fire off a shot.


Sony’s alternative to owning a tablet is certainly one intriguing device, though it’s one that comes with a fair share of niggles that may be enough to turn you off the experience.

People who love big phones will no doubt see this as being a brilliant idea, partly due to it being the biggest phone out there.

That said, regardless of how you feel about having a big phone, you will likely feel self-conscious using this phablet in public, and that’s because when you hold it up to your ear, it’s easy to point out that yes, you’re holding a tablet to the side of your face.

You know differently, though. It’s a phone. It just happens to be sized like a tablet.

If that doesn’t bother you, no worries, because you’ll be fine, but if it does, you need to be aware that the feeling doesn’t go away, and when you pull out a phone this big on the bus or in public, it will get people to look in your general direction.

But if you can handle the size, and the looks, as well as know you’ll still need to carry a proper compact camera to replace the mediocre one found here, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra doesn’t just break the boundary between smartphones and tablets, it literally tears it asunder, and questions whether you’ll ever need a tablet again.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Simple design; Great Android overlay, as per usual for Sony; Supports microSD; Screen supports a pencil as a stylus; Resistant to dust and water;
Ridiculous size; Screen has a good centimetre or two of space at both the top and bottom, making the phone appear even bigger; Camera responds poorly in low light; No camera flash; Not the best battery life; No dedicated camera shutter button like on other Xperia models; Very slippery; Display isn't the best in sunlight by a long shot;