The trend towards larger mobile phone screens seems unstoppable. In fact, since the largest phones are encroaching on the smallest tablets, they have been dubbed “phablet” — a contraction of phone and tablet. And the best exponent of this phenomenon is the newly announced Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
Not only is the Sony Xperia Z Ultra the largest phablet announced to date, it boasts a whopping 6.4-inch screen and also happens to be dust- and waterproof. Here are key specs:
- CPU – Sony made sure it had a worldbeater, outfitting the Xperia Z Ultra with Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 800 chip, with built-in support for LTE. The Snapdragon 800 uses four 2.2-GHz cores plus an Adreno 330 graphics GPU. Other specs include 2GB RAM, 16GB of user storage, a microSD slot and Android 4.2.
- Display – Resolution is 1920×1080, which should look great on its 6.4-inch display.
- Input – The Sony Xperia Z Ultra also supports a stylus without requiring a special pen like Samsung Note does. Sony says the new device has “handwriting recognition that is compatible with any pencil or pen.” Sony addresses one major challenge, single-handed use on a 6.4-inch screen, with a one-hand keyboard. This narrower keyboard can be toggled to “stick” to either side of the screen.
- Camera – Rather than offering the 13 megapixels used by the existing Xperia Z, the Ultra Z steps down to an eight-megapixel Sony Exmor RS sensor. Unfortunately, Sony also couldn’t find space to fit an LED flash but then again, will you really want to hold up a view-camera-size phablet to take pictures? Some you will, many of you won’t.
- Size – The Sony Xperia Z Ultra also happens to be the thinnest 1920×1080 handset on the market at 6.5 millimeters, thinner than an iPhone 5, which may have constrained its camera specs. It weighs a hefty 212 grams, about twice the weight of the iPhone 5’s 112 grams.
For those rare times when you need to call someone but don’t want to look like a fool wielding a ginormous handset, Sony has thoughtfully, and greedily, created an accessory Bluetooth companion handset, the SBH52.
The SBH52 clips onto your clothing and lets you make calls or listen to music either by holding it against your ear like a regular phone or by plugging in headphones. The receiver can pair with any device using Bluetooth or NFC, and Sony says it’s also splash-proof for outdoor use.
Did Sony just invent the handset? Sounds like too much gadget clutter to us, why not just use the speakerphone or a headset directly?
We’ll have to wait until fall to be able to stash this Bigfoot baby in a suitably huge pocket or big bag, (here’s where the ladies have a phablet advantage). But we can’t wait to see one, and find out the princely sum Sony wants us to pay, meanwhile you’ll just have to drool over a pair of videos: