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Summary:

Can small tablets replace smartphones for some? I still think so and Sony’s new Xperia Z Ultra is the latest device to fit the bill. With a 6.4-inch 1080p screen, however, will it fit in your pockets?

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Maybe there’s a market for the ill-named “phablets” after all. Sony must think so since it launched a 6.4-inch smartphone, the Xperia Z Ultra, on Tuesday. The large-screened, waterproof and dustproof device is part phone and part tablet, offering those with big pockets the chance to carry just a single device instead of two.

Similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2, the Xperia Z Ultra supports stylus input but it doesn’t require a special pen like Samsung’s product does. Sony says the new device has “handwriting recognition which is compatible with any pencil and selected stylus or pen (capacitive stylus or metal pen with tip diameter over 1 mm).”

I’m not sure I’d want to write on my mobile device with a pencil, but I have to believe that the screen is protected from scratches and such. At least I hope so because 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 6.4-inch display should look fantastic and I’d hate to ruin the device.

xperia z ultra lineup

It’s sure to be a solid performer as well, given that Sony chose Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 800 chip to power the Xperia Z Ultra. This uses four 2.2 GHz cores and an Adreno 330 GPU for graphics, making the handset a potential powerhouse to run Google Android. The handset supports LTE connectivity and uses an 8 megapixel Sony Exmor RS sensor. Oddly, Sony couldn’t find space in the large device to fit a camera flash.

Sony also claims this the thinnest full-HD handset on the market thanks to its 6.5-millimeter body. And although it’s a large device, it doesn’t weigh too much: 212 grams. Being light and thin helps, but make no mistake: this is a large handset, which could put some off.

Xperia Z Ultra in black

I actually prefer a large-screened phone as well as 7-inch slates, so this might be the sweet spot for me and replace my Note 2. At this size, however, I’d likely opt for hands-free and Bluetooth phone calls. My pen-shaped Bluetooth “phone” might be just the partner for this device; something I purchased because I think small tablets could take the place of smartphones. I have time to consider that though: Sony says the Xperia Ultra Z won’t launch globally until the third quarter.

  1. Nicholas Paredes Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    Although I am primarily a resident of the iOS ecosystem, something like this is definitely appealing. The iPad Mini fits in my coat and Levi’s pockets just fine. In the past, I used a Dell Streak as my Android device, and found it perfectly acceptable. I make a call a day at most, and if they are long I use headphones. Not a huge fan of Bluetooth headsets by the way…

    From my personal perspective, have a wallet portfolio case is key to its existence in my life. My phone has mostly been my wallet as well. They are never forgotten in tandem!

    Since the Sony P-series, I have been a fan of their devices, and would gladly buy another. They have taken the abuse — washing machine — and always performed. I wish I would have picked up on my behavior of using the smartphone camera as my primary camera in 2005!

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  2. Now that we are getting more choices in this category, I am excited about being about to choose one over the other based on things that matter to me (camera quality is more important to me than call quality based on usage.) Happy to see the rest of the world catching on to the joys of large screen phones.

    HTC Advantage
    Dell Streak
    Samsung Galaxy Note
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2

    After years of 5″+ screens, regular phones feel like toys.

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    1. Amen to that! :) It’s been funny to watch us get scoffed at several years ago when we had larger screened mobile devices like those you mentioned. And now? It’s a whole new market; small, but growing.

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  3. Hey, just add a point to the “pen-shaped Bluetooth phone” and you have a stylus!!

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    1. I like that idea! :)

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  4. Is this really a phablet? I mean 6.4 inches is way too big. We will not be able to hold it in our hands, forget about using it. Sony can not compete Samsung by doing anything. Jumping into the market without any innovation won’t do any good. I have Note 2 with me. I brought it when it was released and I have difficulty sometimes holding it or using it with one hand. But what made it popular? The new features introduced by Samsung. There was S Voice, Air View, Multi Window and obviously S Pen . These are all the features which attract a customer.
    I guess this device won’t get popular.

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  5. Ok, watched the predictably boring video – no one really calls using headsets – wired or otherwise.

    I wonder what kind of noise canceling this thing has? Does it require a plan like the Note series?

    Lots of considerations. Also the edges look sharp for a 6″ device

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  6. Cant wait. I got note2” but 6.4 even better.. my device mainly for entertainment. Also with full HD is A plus. Water resist ect. Great travel companion. Just have to remember get 3-4 extra battery and battery charger on hand. Lol :)

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