The Sony Z Ultra loses the Xperia tag, but gains the 'Google experience'

A big phone or a small tablet? Neither? Both? It's the same Z Ultra we've seen before, with a little more Google in it. Big, bold, and waterproof, it's one we all were surprised to see when Google announced it

For fans of big phones — or small tablets with a phone on board — there is a lot to like here. As we saw with previous Google Play experience devices, you have Google's version of Android, with a few essential OEM customizations added on top. Additions like the X-Reality display software are great additions, and the combination makes for the best experience.

You've got everything Google as well. The Google applications we're used to seeing — minus the AOSP Gallery app, which has been fully replaced with Photos — including things like Google Earth and Google Currents are on board. The same goes for Google Wallet and the tap and pay function. The back of the Z Ultra says Sony, but you'll know you're holding a Google device in your hands.

Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition.

Nothing has changed on the specs side. You still have that big 6.4-inch 1920x1080 "Triluminos" display (with Sony's software enhancements to go with it), the same Snapdragon 800 CPU, and the same 2GB of RAM. You're also going to have the same 16GB Internal storage and SD card slot, albeit things will be slightly different for writing data to it since we're not running Sony's software, and so there's about 12GB of storage available. And, of course, everything is still IP55 and IP58 dust- and water-resistant.

The Z Ultra Google play edition works with both AT&T and T-Mobile inside the US, with full support for both HSPA and LTE on both carriers. 

We're going to have a deep look at the phone during the coming weeks, so looks for nuggets of wisdom and a full review soon.