From September 2011 up until a few days ago, Samsung had been pretty much unchallenged in the Android phablet with stylus category. Sure, during that period, other manufacturers had been able come up with smartphone-tablet hybrids flaunting very large displays but practically none of these devices had handwriting support that could rival that of the Samsung Galaxy Note line.

However, looking at the design, key features, and technical specifications of the upcoming mega phablet Sony Xperia Z Ultra, it appears that the Samsung Galaxy Note phablets - including the yet to be announced Samsung Galaxy Note3 - will finally meet their match soon.

"The Sony 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 that is second to none," shared Mr. Calum MacDougall, Sony Mobile Communications' Director of Xperia Marketing. "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."


Measuring only 6.5 millimeters at its thickest point and weighing just 212 grams, the slim and light Sony Xperia Z Ultra reflects Sony's legendary craftsmanship in design and attention to detail. According to the company, the phablet features clean lines and premium materials – the front and back are made of tempered glass, creating a seamless surface with the OptiContrast panel housed in an innovative solid metal frame which simply looks stunning from any angle. Furthermore, Z Ultra - available in White, Purple, and Black color finishes - comes with the same acclaimed and ultra-slick OmniBalance design as the TechPinas Favorite Sony Xperia Z and the Sony Tablet Z.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra is both elegant and durable. IP55 and IP58 Certified, this smartphone isn't only resistant to dust, but is also waterproof – making it an ideal phablet for power users living an active lifestyle. You can use it to record Full HD underwater videos, taking your large-screen smartphone experience to a whole new level. The 8 MegaPixel camera features Exmor RS for Mobile - just like that of Sony Xperia Z, HDR for both photos and film, and Superior Auto mode, which automatically activates HDR and noise reduction when needed, so you're assured of getting stunning images and videos even in low light conditions.


Last April, we shared that Sony will definitely bring its TRILUMINOS display technology (that it first implemented on the BRAVIA TV line) to the Xperia mobile devices range. Well, Sony Xperia Z Ultra with its 6.4-inch Full HD screen is the very first smartphone to come with Sony's very own TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, delivering a wider palette of rich natural colors for an enhanced visual experience. Also, users will enjoy X-Reality for mobile - Sony's intelligent super resolution display technology analyzing each image and reproduces lacking, blurry or missing pixels to optimize quality for the sharpest videos possible.

Xperia Z Ultra looks great on the outside but its innards are just as exceptional. The phablet effectively handles multitasking with 2GB of RAM and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system skinned by Sony's Timescape user interface with its Quad Core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 CPU in Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset. Users also get 16 GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card slot and a 3050 mAh Li-Ion battery pack optimized by the company's new STAMINA Mode for mobile devices that significantly improves the standby time by four times or more as it recognizes when the user is not using the display and automatically turns off the functions that are not needed, while keeping the important notifications on. As soon as the user presses the power button to wake up the phablet's screen, everything goes up and running again.


But the one feature that makes Sony Xperia Z Ultra a true rival to Samsung Galaxy Note2 or Note3 is its super responsive screen with handwriting recognition. The Japanese company's new phablet doesn't really ship with a stylus but its screen is nonetheless compatible with any pencil or metal pen with tip diameter over 1mm. You can even write notes or sketches during calls so you'll always be ready capture your ideas as they happen. Talk about taking the innovation of writing on a touchscreen even higher. Kudos to Sony, really.


Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia Z Ultra, respectively.

Multimedia features have always been the strongest suit of any Sony device -- and the same goes for Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Users will get the WALKMAN application that utilizes Sony's audio engine and Facebook integration for sharing and discovering new music, ClearAudio+ mode and Xloud sound enhancement, and NFC connectivity support with supported accessories like SmartWatch 2 SW2, a water-resistant multifunctional digital watch and phone remote that lets you receive notifications, control music, and connect to Bluetooth headset for easy call handling.

According to Sony Mobile, Sony Xperia Z Ultra - which supports practically all LTE frequency bands currently available - should hit store shelves worldwide within Q3 2013. However, I'm personally expecting it to arrive in the Philippines either in October or November -- just in time for the release of Samsung Galaxy Note3. As yet, the legendary Japanese company hasn't disclosed its new phablet's official retail price in this region but based on its projected SRP in Europe, I believe it will don a price tag of around Php 39,500 when it lands here.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen), Phablet
Price Category High End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm
Weight 212 grams
Available Colors Black, Purple, White
Operating System Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Display 6.4 inches (~344 ppi pixel density), 1080 x 1920 pixels, Triluminos, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Processor Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 CPU Adreno 330 GPU Qualcomm MSM8974 or MSM8274 Snapdragon 800 chipset
RAM 2 GB RAM
Internal Storage 16 GB (11 GB user available), expandable via microSD card slot, supports up to 64 GB
Camera 8 MegaPixels, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, no LED flash, BSI (Exmor RS); 2 MegaPixels front camera
Video Capture Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second for main camera
Audio and Video Playback DivX, Xvi, MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV, MP3, eAAC+, WMA, WAV, Flac player
Ports microUSB v2.0, TV-out (via MHL A/V link), 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, HSPA+; LTE Variant: Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyroscope
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600
SIM Card Type microSIM
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3050 mAh battery
Uptime Standby time of up to 820 hours, Talk time of up to 16 hours, Music Play of up to 120 hours
Value-Added Features IP55 and IP58 certified to be dust and water resistant, massive 6.4 inch display, first handset from Sony to flaunt a Triluminos display, supports hand-writing on screen using pencil or supported pen and stylus, Battery Stamina mode, LTE connectivity support
Announcement Shanghai: June 25, 2013
Availability Q3 2013
Price TP Guesstimate: Php 39,500