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Sony Xperia Z Ultra review

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh



Our Score:


Sony Xperia Z Ultra - Battery Life

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra packs a 3,050 mAh capacity battery which is smaller than the one inside the Galaxy Mega 6.3 (3,200 mAh). You do still have some of the power management tools, specifically STAMINA mode to keep the Z Ultra going.

Sony claims you should get around 8 hours of life. In extreme conditions looping video the Z Ultra manages with maximum brightness around 5-6 hours but on general use manages around 7-8 hours. You will need to tap into that Stamina mode to get through a day’s use.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra product 20

In terms of speed of charging, hooking up to the power adaptor for 30 minutes from a critical battery levels jumps up around 10 per cent. Battery quickly drops off simply going on Twitter or browsing the net, though. Streaming movies hits it harder and it’s here where the screen invariably saps the life out of the battery. It can make it through a day, but for more intensive tasks, you really need to keep an eye on what you are using during the day.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra - Call & Sound Quality

Once you get over the embarrassment of putting the tablet-looking phone next to your ear, Sony includes a host of features to ensure calls come out nice and clear. There’s active noise cancellation using a secondary mic and 'HD voice' also aims to reduce background noise and improve clarity.
The call-making experience is very similar to our experience with the Xperia Z where calls can sound a little distant. The HD voice technology does a good job drowning out exterior noise but can sound hollow and muted at times.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra product 2

As for the internal speaker, we've already mentioned the issue of speaker placement becoming a nuisance when watching video or browsing in landscape mode.

It’s a very tiny speaker. Sony’s ClearAudio and xLoud enhancement audio tech aim to improve clarity, and while dialogue is nice and clear it’s overall a tinny experience. it lacks the warmth and richness needed to make it ideal for watching films. Things improve when you plug in a pair of headphones.Sony Xperia Z Ultra product 13

Should I buy the Sony Xperia Z Ultra?

If you are truly sold on a phone this size, then the Z Ultra is the best 6-inch phone out there. It’s only real rival is the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 (£449). The super-sized Galaxy S4 didn’t really make a good impression with its old specs and some performance issues.

The Xperia Z Ultra at £600 is more expensive SIM-free and does have the same size issues. It's just feel too big to comfortably use as a phone and is more suited to be used as a tablet. We do like the bright, colourful screen, the Z1-like performance and it has a far nicer design than the Mega. We were left disappointed by some of the features to take advantage of the larger screen estate notably the frustrating input support and decent but not Z1-quality camera.

You have to keep an eye on what you are using to make sure the battery makes it through the day as well. If you really have to go for a ‘big phone’ without the worry of fitting in your pocket, using it in one hand or getting the benefits of the larger screen, we’d opt for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.


The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a big phone with a big performance but it’s just too much to handle or keep in the pocket.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Calls & Sound 8
  • Camera 7
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Software 8
  • Value 7
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


October 8, 2013, 9:16 pm

I've been using this phone for just over a month (bought in HK for close to 200 less SIM free than in the UK) ... Following on from 18 months with a Note 1 it is a revelation. Reliable (barely a reboot in a month), fast, amazing screen and my go to device for work, browsing and actually making calls. The slimness makes it glide in and out of your pocket, and whilst big phones are normal in HK (using a 'normal phone' after my Note died (reason I choose a waterproof phone) made me realise bigger is actually better) I will get stick when back in the UK. The camera is pretty terrible, but size, function and battery life, and I am sure positive user reaction will ensure a Ultra 2 will happen. At 6"4 tall it is proof your phone should match your height (having said that there are plenty of tiny Chinese girls with these phones stuck to their ears). 9 out of 10 for me.

Matthew Bunton

October 17, 2013, 10:56 pm

I was seriously considering this phone until I read about all the screen scratching issues. Sony have used a shatter proof cover over the screen which unfortunately scratches really easily.

Matthew Bunton

October 17, 2013, 10:58 pm

At 6.4 it probably seems just right for you then. It is a lovely looking phone and for me is ideal as it also replaces the need for a tablet.


October 31, 2013, 7:51 pm

the reboots become more regular if my experience is to go by, start at one or two per month, normally when you are most in need of the phone and slowly increasing as it seems to burn itself out. Camera oddly was the thing I found strongest. Just posted a updated review above, I would recommend insurance.

Best John


October 31, 2013, 8:00 pm

Do not put this phone on your Christmas wish list! I commented
on this website regarding my Sony Experia Z a few weeks after I got it back in
April. Free as part of my 24 month
Vodafone contract upgrade, I agree it has a sleek look and fantastic camera but
do not be fooled, this is a terrible terrible phone. I create live outdoor events; it was the claim of waterproof that attracted me not how it looked. I have not tested the waterproof but the trim is made of poor quality plastic that damages easy.

Sony know they have a pony here and are praying their updates will solve many of the issues, but they have not and mine has finally died today. Constant crashing, to find a mobile signal never mind internet, very slow in most functions, big updates via the awful ‘Bridge for Mac’ solves some issues, overheating and going into on/off loops for example, only to create new issues. It is too big as a phone and burns your ear often, long calls are near impossible without putting on load speaker.

Sony is a Japanese company so will not make any admission, but this post and my previous post, as well as other user feedback elsewhere will expose a poor product. Vodafone wanted £10 per month insurance, way above it appears other insurances for similar phones, Vodafone was probably aware it is going to fail once people
began using it, thus discouraging insurance take up. Having been with Vodafone for years you become savvy to their many practices.

£600? Wow, you will need to be pretty flush to burn that sum on what will prove to be a false dawn for Sony in the phone market.

Do not be seduced by the camera or look.


January 9, 2014, 7:38 am

It is the best phone in the world. I am 250% happy with this great beauty


January 30, 2014, 11:53 am

Is there a problem with the flaps on the sides ? Do they come off ?


September 29, 2015, 1:28 pm

This phone has been amazing for me. Admittedly I got it used for just $50CDN. It already had Android 5.0.2 on it. Recently updated to 5.1.1 and running smooth as silk. I also got a great deal on the official Sony case/battery CP12 for it. Using the CP12 doubles the size and effective runtime of the phone. Display is bright and clear. I end up using this phone more often than my Samsung Note 4. Especially because the Sony skin is far less obtrusive than Samsung's awful Touchwiz.

Aggrey Ingutia

December 8, 2015, 2:42 pm

I can't find words to describe how this phone makes everything easier at my fingertips.No phone in modern times can match the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.I love it,I like it.

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