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Sony Xperia Z Ultra review

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh



Our Score:


Sony Xperia Z Ultra - Software & Apps

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and should receive an Android 4.3 update, but as it stands it’s much the same from what we’ve seen on the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z. Sony’s skinning of the UI is improving in terms of intuitiveness and stylish looks.

Xperia Z Ultra screenshots

It offers the same native apps as the Xperia Z and Z1, and they are a mixed bag in terms of usefulness. At one end of the spectrum you have the well designed Walkman, Album (photo gallery) and Movies applications. At the other end, there’s the not so great PlayStation Mobile, Sony Select, Social Life and Xperia Privilege app offerings.

Xperia Z Ultra screenshots 5

The most important thing is that the Sony's presence is not as overbearing as some approaches to using the Android OS and the widgets can of course always be removed.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra - Performance

For such a big phone, it’s great to see Sony give the Xperia Z Ultra the kind of power it really needs to excel. There’s a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU. It impresses in all departments. Navigating homescreens is a smooth and lag-free, web browsing is quick, streaming video is done with ease and it handles graphically demanding gaming with little issue.

Xperia Z Ultra screenshots 7

The benchmarks back up the Z Ultra’s processing prowess. In the Peacekeeper browser benchmark it score an impressive 789 putting it just below the iPhone 5 (907) and the iPad 4th generation (951). Running the 3D Mark Ice Storm benchmarks, it scores a 16770 putting up there with the Samsung Galaxy S4 (17732). The Geekbench 3 multi-core registers 2523 well above the Galaxy S4 (2076).

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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