Sony launches Xperia Z Ultra
Manufacturer claims multiple records broken with new flagship handset
Sony Mobile Communications yesterday launched a new premium Android smartphone in its well-received Xperia Z range
Sony makes a number of bold claims for the Xperia Z Ultra. It is said to be waterproof and dustproof. It is said to feature the world's largest HD smartphone display at 6.4 inches. And it is said to be the world's slimmest full HD smartphone.
Sony is the fourth smartphone manufacturer in a month to invoke the "world's slimmest" moniker in relation to a handset, but is claiming only that the Xperia Z Ultra is the world's thinnest with a full HD display. In late May, Chinese company Umeox announced its X5 model, at 5.6mm, but it is not clear when this device will be on the market, or under which brand. Huawei's Ascend P6, at 6.18mm, will likely hold the title for world's slimmest smartphone when it goes on sale in July, but the display is not full HD. Lenovo's recently announced K900 handset was said to be "the thinnest phone in its class by a wide margin", but at 6.9mm thick - clearly the thickest of the four - it is unclear what "class" Lenovo was referring to.
Sony also said the Xperia Z Ultra is the first smartphone ever to incorporate a Full HD TRILUMINOS display. Sony's own X-Reality technology is integrated for enhanced picture quality.
The Z Ultra is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2.2 GHz quad-core CPUs, 4G LTE and HD voice. Sony hailed the combination as the means to provide "a seamless connected entertainment experience, industry-leading battery performance and amazing speed".
"The Xperia Z Ultra is the most exciting revolution in large-screen smartphone entertainment devices with both the slimmest and largest Full HD smartphone display in the world," said Calum MacDougall, director of Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications.
"We're already bringing the best of Sony technology and design across a range of premium smartphones and tablets, and now we are bringing this same premium offering to the large-screen smartphone segment, setting a new standard for others to follow."
The 6.4-inch touchscreen Full HD display with Sony's mobile-centric TRILUMINOS Display technology, was designed with the company's BRAVIA TV portfolio in mind, to create a broader colour range. X-Reality, another mobile-oriented technology, employs proactive image analysis that fills in missing pixels to optimise sharpness.
GALLERY: Sony's 'record-breaking' Xperia Z Ultra
Sony was keen to emphasise the portability of the Xperia Z Ultra in its 6.5mm profile and 212g body. To accomplish this, the front and back were crafted from tempered glass, creating a seamless surface with the OptiContrast panel housed in a solid metal frame. It features the same OmniBalance design as Xperia Z and Tablet Z. The Z Ultra is available in a choice of black, white or purple colour finishes.
Durability also plays a role. Sony stressed the ZUltra's rating of IP55 and IP58, indicating standards of dust and water resistance. According to Sony the waterproof standard is sufficient to allow users to film in Full HD underwater. The camera features "Exmor RS for mobile", HDR for both photos and film, and Superior Auto mode automatically activates HDR and noise reduction when needed.
The Z Ultra is also equipped for big screen phone entertainment, including watching movies, playing games, reading books and browsing the Web.
Sony's WALKMAN, Album and Movies media applications enable discovery of online and offline content through a single access point.
The WALKMAN application uses Sony's audio engine and Facebook integration for sharing and discovering new music and is said to offer a "unique" feature in providing "seamlessly integrated access to all downloaded music as well as access to a global library of over 20m songs from Sony's cloud-based subscription music service, Music Unlimited.
The Movies application brings new ways to discover, manage and play movie content, together with access to an extensive library of blockbuster movies and the latest TV episodes from the Video Unlimited service.
The Album application provides seamless integration with the PlayMemories Online service, letting users access photos and albums from within the Album app from anywhere. It is also possible to set up an automatic upload of photos to the PlayMemories Online service to access from other Sony devices.
The Sony Reader app provides Reader store access for download of e-books and allows synchronisation of purchased books in popular formats and permits continued reading from the same page.
The Xperia Z Ultra is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which is said to be the world's fastest, and integrates Sony's ClearAudio+ mode and Xloud loudness enhancement.
GALLERY: Sony's 'record-breaking' Xperia Z Ultra
Battery STAMINA Mode is designed to significantly improve the standby time of the device. Sony claims this improvement is in the order of four times or more. The mode is engineered to recognise when the display is not being used and automatically turn off the functions that are not needed, while keeping user-specified notifications active. As soon as a user presses the power button to wake up the screen, access is said to be instantaneous.
The Xperia Z Ultra also incorporates handwriting recognition, which is designed to be compatible with any pencil and selected stylus or pen (capacitive stylus or metal pen with tip diameter over 1mm). The system allows note-taking or sketching during calls and the toggle keyboard is geared towards one-handed input and multi-tasking, with small apps to help improve productivity so time is not lost browsing between windows.
Sony also made mention of "robust security architecture" that safeguards data, with support for multiple accounts. Further business-oriented applications will be made available in future as software updates, Sony said.
With one-touch functions users can share content with a range of NFC-enabled Sony devices, including speakers, the Sony SmartWatch, wireless headsets and TVs.
The SBH52 is a Smart BluetoothTM Handset that provides hands-free call handling with a single press, while leaving the smartphone in a bag or pocket. The OLED display allows browsing of the call log, viewing of text messages, and caller ID display. It can also be used as a stereo music headset. Pairing and connecting is done by touching the device to an Xperia Z Ultra or other NFC-enabled device. The design is splash-proof, meaning it can be used in any weather.
The latest generation of SmartWatch, the SmartWatch 2, helps users keep track of everything without taking the smartphone out of their pocket or bag. The SmartWatch 2 is a multifunctional digital watch and phone remote that lets users receive notifications, control music, and connect with one-touch NFC to a Bluetooth headset. Its design is also water-resistant and it can be personalised with any standard watch strap. It can be used as a standalone watch or with a smartphone. There are over 200 apps available for the first generation and with an open API, Sony expects new applications will be abundant for SmartWatch 2.
The Magnetic Charging Dock DK30 has a magnetic pin that lets users place their Xperia Z Ultra snugly in the dock using one hand, either with or without the phone cover on. While the phone is charging, it stands at a comfortable viewing angle allowing the continued watching of video content while charging.