18_Xperia_Z_Ultra_Water_Horiz

A couple of days ago, Sony unveiled its latest smartphone, the Xperia Z Ultra. The new device is a true tabletphone, sporting a 6.4-inch display that puts it closer to a tablet in screen size. Unlike some other recent tabletphone offerings though, the Z Ultra is not a budget device.

First off, the screen is full HD, which means that the screen is going to be as sharper than you’ll likely ever need. It will also use up a lot of power, and the jury is still out on whether or not that 3000mAh battery the thing has is up for the job of keeping it alive through the day (personally I’m not too optimistic). Despite the screen and the battery though, the phone only weighs 212 grams, and is only 6.5mm thick. That means that in terms of tablet specs, this one is certainly lighter than most.

Other specs include an 8 megapixel camera that for some reason has no flash, a Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz quad core chip, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an SD card slot, and enough wireless communication technologies to accidentally contact hostile aliens a few times over. The phone is also waterproof, capable of surviving at least 30 minutes at 1.5 meter depths.

One very interesting feature is the device’s ability to use pencils and metal tipped pens as a stylus on the screen. That basically means you won’t have to carry around a dedicated pen like on Samsung’s Note products, but whether or not a pencil will be as accurate remains to be seen. I also can’t help but smile at the idea of someone putting a anti-glare screen protector on this device, going off to use a pencil, and ending up drawing all over the rougher surface of such protectors.

Accessory-wise, Sony is pushing three accessories for this thing. The first is a Bluetooth receiver that works as an A2DP receiver for standard headphones, as well as as a phone-like handset you can hold up to your ear. This is no doubt aimed as a way to avoid having to hold that behemoth of a phone to your ears, and is practically a requirement for a phone this size. The second accessory Sony mentions specifically is the SmartWatch 2, and a smartwatch also makes a lot of sense on a phone so big that taking it out of your pocket (assuming it fits in there to begin with) to check something can be a drag. Finally, a magnetic charging dock seems to be Sony’s response to wireless charging, allowing you to quickly dock and undock your device.

The phone will be available in Q3, and the price is still unknown. I personally think this is an interesting device, but also an odd one. The lack of a camera flash is to me the weirdest part about this, as that sort of omissions really doesn’t belong in an high end phone. Other than that, this seems like a pretty awesome device for those who like the idea of a tabletphone. I would definitely wait for battery test results before getting it though, as all those specs will be utterly useless if it turns out that 6.5mm thin means it will die halfway through the day.

[Sony via The Verge]