Sony’s New Xperia Z Ultra ‘Phablet’ Now for Something Completely Different
Update 15 August 2013
Question: What do you get when you cross technology from a mobile phone, tablet, and a classy TV ?
Answer : A real big phone, an average size tablet (based on the new 7" form factors) , and a real small TV, a GREAT picture, with a sophisticated elegance
Ladies & Gents, Geeks & Geekettes the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Mobile Phone / Phablet (or c6802)
Actually launched in June 2013 (shhh don’t tell anyone), Note: that quiet launch unless repeated for the west, might be the only downfall of this otherwise spectacular device.
As when I got the Samsung Note 1, the first thing I thought was, Oh Crap, this thing is too big. But I knew as with the Samsung Note 1, I would get used to it fast. Now, as a long time Samsung fan in everything they offer, from TVs, and Appliances to testing their first phablets (large mobile phones) via the Galaxy Note 1, since its launch in 2011 so this was an easy decision.
Unfortunately being a new tech junkie wanting everything new, the Samsung Note 2 did not float my boat beyond, the boat floating I was still feeling from the Note 1. I loved it, and am now hooked on the form factor of the Phablets. I am not so sure that the Samsung Note 3 will be so radical to make me want it as bad, as I thought I wanted the Note 2.
Magpie Effect- However, on looking to see what my next phone was going to be, I made a discovery I am sure many already had made. The Samsung Note 2, has a larger bezel on it than many of the new phones. This means I could buy a smaller phone yet still get the same or similar screen size depending on the phone of course of what many refer to as the first real Phablet (tablet sized mobile phone).
This has been badly reported on in the media.
Nokia- Personally I almost bought a Nokia 1020, I love the idea, of the amazing camera. But I did not for the same reason I dumped my 1st Windows 8 Phone Mobile, the eco-system for Microsoft does not do it for me app wise. There are some great apps, but how Microsoft goes from being the world leader in dumb phones / PDAs, with Windows CE to last place in smart phones war still amazes me as an old school Microsoft fan boy. I want to play as well as work, and the balance is skewed against Windows Phone 8 for me. Windows has a big advantage, the last to market, but I have not seen anything to make me think they are going to pull out an Internet Explorer vs.. Netscape Play.
The result of all of that and as I will soon be going on a holiday to an exotic South Pacific destination, a bit of snorkeling and a bit of diving, so am getting a GoPro pro, but I was looking strongly at the benefits of the Sony Xperia Z, then I discovered something amazing to me, Sony has gone and launched their new Phablet version of the Xperia Z (called the Ultra) globally (outside the USA). It then turned out it is for sale in many countries already. Again to well reported and not reported at all in most of the usual USA press.
One phone call later and I have a review unit due in 2 days herein Australia. As I scratch below the surface (no MS pun attended), I have discovered a few interesting facts on this device that is raising as many questions as it answers, before I even receive the device.
Convergence – Before I get into the device, (a more detailed review is forthcoming when I receive it), I have to raise what might the elephant in the room that has not been discussed in the present sense yet.
We have long known that the day would come when a Phablet would be the same size as a tablet. But with the rise in demand and increased interest in 7”tablets, and now 6+” Phablets, emerging, more so with the Samsung Note 3, at least a 5’7” phone, that day is nigh and I expect a big story in the weeks ahead. Obvious questions is when the next iPhone will be a Phablet, or the iPad a phone. Will the Nexus 7 (2014) be a phone, and an alternative to a Nexus 4. Or the Motorola Nexus Phone 2 (announced) be a Phablet?
Phablets = Tablets – An interesting element of this is reading reviews comparing the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, not to any present or forthcoming phone/phablets, but to the new Nexus 7 (2013) and iPad mini. A silly comparison if you ask me, unless the Nexus 7 (2013) and iPads are a phone, but sets I believe the ground game for what happens next.
Picture This – The physical size as mentioned is 6.4” on the Sony, and 7” on the Nexus 7 – ( 2013) 1080×1920 and 1280 x 800 respectively. However, the Nexus 7 has an impressive ~323ppi whilst the Sony has an equally amazing ~344ppi. The Sony takes a micro SSD to 64gb whilst tablets do not. Wi-Fi is also offers a/b/g/n/ac, and a 2.2 ghz cpu vs the 1.5GHz on the Nexus
Waterproof – Oh, did I mention HD Video underwater- to 5 feet ? Though the phone has an average camera by today’s standard, (same as the Note 2). However the Sony has no flash, possibly a big deal. In all the tests I have seen thus far, the Sony, Ultra Z appears to triumph pretty easily over the Samsung Note 2, how it will compare against the Note 3 remains to be seen. Sony have competed against the stylus pen of Samsung by suggesting users can use anything they want from their finger to a real pencil instead of the OMG I going to lose Samsung Note stylus. Possible improvements by Samsung in the Note 3 might include a flexible display, 3GB vs. 2GB of RAM, whilst the Note 3 will likely have the respectable 13MP camera vs. the Note 2 camera in the Sony. Samsung Note 3 body construction is still a bit of a mystery.
A Little TV – Tech
With the Z Ultra, Sony uses 2 bits of Tv tech to Improve the picture from the Bravia TV side of things partly.
These are Triluminos and X-Reality Engine technologies. With the ~342 pixel density, this gives the Z Ultra one of the best displays period and the best by far on a Phablet. Sony had been given a bad rap previously (perhaps deserved) for not having the crispest of colors. Triluminos effectively uses quantum dots, to give a 50% crisper color by allowing better color separation thus less wash out. This is further done by something called quantum dots, that effectively means to the human eye colors are crisper. The X reality engine does the same thing in reverse sort of by analyzing the image received then separating the colors. Effectively it improves image quality in dark or over bright areas to get the tones right.
Not for everyone perhaps this hybrid device really is one to be considered.