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.


Reader comments

Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition unboxing and hands-on


Are you getting the G Pad GPe also Jerry or Phil?

Also i dont really see any value in this Ultra at all, i remember the Galaxy Tab 7 having call abilities in Europe and the thought of holding something that size next to your head is weird, i know you can use bluetooth but im not big into that.

Is something this size easy to carry, surely its not comfortable in the pocket, and at $649..... you can buy a 32gb Wifi Nexus 7 and 32gb Nexus 5 for $670... kinda puts it in perspective for me, and cheaper if you go with 16gb versions

TL:DR: I just dont get it lol

1. Have you tried to carry it in a bag? With it's super thin design it won't add a bit bulkness to your bag.
2. Have you ever tried to watch youtube while taking a shower? There.
3.IMO, one device is always better tha two, expecially when you ahve a bluetooth headphone.

1. Nope I wouldn't carry a bag for a phone, a phone for me is for your pocket

2. No I wouldn't watch YouTube in the shower... I'd be busy soaping myself up... I think YouTube can wait until after I showered

3. This I can understand, but going back to your 1st point, the nexus 7 is also very thin so it wouldn't add any bulkiness to that bag your sporting for your 6.4inch phone.

Do people really want to watch YouTube in the shower? Do people really want to take their devices into the shower?

It's not really the ability to make phone calls it's the ability to put your sim card in it if you have unlimited data and want a bigger screen to view stuff on... That's my view on the USP anyway.

Posted via Android Central App on my Motorola XT890 RAZR i

With the number of people I see walking around taking pictures with a full size ipad, I can believe there will be a decent number using something this big as a phone. Hell, a ton of people like the Note 3 and that thing is huge. This isn't that much of a stretch bigger.

Not a peep has been heard of such a thing. Where did you hear that rumor from?

Posted Via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App

There were articles back in Oct. of a 6.3 in phablet from moto. I tried to send a link but it wont let me. Spam? Lol Anyway,just rumors I hope comes true. 6.3 is huge though but I'll manage lol.

Well I have the mega and the note 3 and yes there is a huge difference. The mega at 6.3" is great for viewing videos, surfing the Web, and although it only features a 8mp camera the pictures are decent.

The need for huge pockets can be a bit annoying and it's not easy to accommodate.

I must say yes the note 3 is a big device but there is a difference between it and the mega and obviously the xperia z ultra.

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There's the Note 3, then there's ridiculously-sized phones like this, which are basically small tablets.

A big difference between 5.3" and 6.4" when we're talking diagonal screen sizes, and the Z Ultra has far from tiny bezels.

The note 3 is 5.7" not 5.3". But yeah the note 3 has a miniature bezel and a great screen, the z ultra has a huge bezel and is ginormous.

Merry Christmas! Posted From My Wonderful (but defective) N7 2013

Yeah, I've played with a Mega.
It's a friggin' big phone but you can still call it a phone. And it's all rounded to make it as comfortable as a gigantic phone can be in your hand.

The Z Ultra just takes that one step too far.

Yeah not for me.. the Nexus 5 is big enough.. I'm interested in seeing that GE GPad tho.. That is a thing of beauty.

But then it would be around $300 over priced if it wasnt a phone.... even though i still thinks its way over priced regardless

T-Mo 100Minutes talk/5GB DATA 30 a month. Perfect plan, just enough minutes talk for minor emergencies/issues.

I would like to switch too even though in the hands the sony is big!.....only issue is that vzw isnt a carrier, if it was, i would buy one today

You would be getting the short end of that deal... By far

My phone can beat up your phone. It's bigger, badder and has more moves. If worse comes to worse, it also comes with a sword.

I tried to visualize this thing in my hand when Phil put the Nexus 5 next to it, and man, this phone is huge. I like that it's waterproof though. Wish my phone was.

I've been rocking xperia z ultra for about 3 months now. I think it is a fantastic device. The screen is gorgeous. My original note, I forgot to take out of my pocket when going into the water and it drowned. The waterproof as well as dust proof design are much needed. Dust has been an issue for a long time since I'm a cabinet maker. I cnc'd a custom dock for this and never have to open the port cover to charge. The battery will last me from 5 am till 7:00pm with about 40-50% left. That's with music and calls over bluetooth throughout the day.. email sync, etc. I don't sync social networking apps.

For the size, it is big... I am also pretty big and have big hands. I don't find too much of an issue navigating with one hand... Jerry did a write up on a little strap that sticks onto the back of the device for a hand hold... that makes a huge difference, making 1 handed use possible for all but very small hands.

This thing is a quality device.. maybe not for everyone, but if you like big devices, this is worth a look. I waited to see what the note 3 looked like and ordered my ultra the day it was announced. I like the Ultra better.... just wish it had a flash sometimes....

Does it have the Small Apps features that the Xperia edition does? I don't feel the need for full multiwindow or split-screen, but a floating note window - the equivalent of Stickies on a Mac - sounds awfully useful. My Xperia Z Ultra should arrive tomorrow, trying to decide whether to return it and get the Google Play Edition instead.

I just got this phone and when I go to "Security" in Settings, Settings crashes and I can't access "Security". WTF