Sony, make the Xperia Z Ultra smaller and I'll consider buying itEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
In my constant switching from phone to phone, in a seemingly never ending search for the "perfect device," I never even went to go look at the Galaxy Note. Back then, I was convinced that the display was too big, and that there simply wasn't a need for my phone to be a gargantuan thing that people could see from the next block over. So, I never went to play with one. I didn't see a point, at least not as far as trying to replace my daily driver for something I thought was, essentially, pointless.
When the Galaxy Note II launched, I did the same thing for several weeks. Despite the fact all I heard was positivity for Samsung's next huge device, especially in regards to all the overall improvements to the S Pen, I just couldn't stop myself from labeling it "too big." It wasn't even on my radar.
Then I played with one in a carrier retail location, and it took me all of fifteen minutes to change my mind. I bought it that day, and as I've said in the past, the Galaxy Note II quickly found a soft spot in my heart. It's one reason why I'm so excited to see what Samsung unveils for the next version of the Note flagship handset later this year.
And as you're well aware, the Galaxy Note II's display is bigger than the original Note's. And, as we've seen from other manufacturers since the release of the first huge combination of a phone and tablet from Samsung, throwing a bigger display onto a phone is still all the rage. There are some companies that seem to be holding off on that particular niche market for now, but that won't last long.
So let's talk about Sony, and their official entry into the fray. The company has recently revealed the oft-rumored Xperia Z Ultra, and it comes with plenty of high-end specifications. Like, for instance, you'll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 800 processor under the hood, clocked at 2.2GHz. On the back, you'll find an 8MP camera, which allows you to use HDR for videos now. There's 16GB of onboard storage, with a microSD card slot for good measure. The Xperia Z Ultra is also dust resistant, and can be submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep.
There are other features worth noting, but the most prominent is the phone's display. It measures in at a whopping 6.44-inches. That means the Xperia Z Ultra is larger than the latest rumors and speculation around Samsung's Galaxy Note III, which has that particular device launching at around 5.9-inches. The same can be said for HTC's One-inspired rumored T6, with an alleged 5.9-inch display.
If Sony had created a smartphone/tablet combination with just any display measured at 6.44-inches, no one would be talking about it. But Sony's created a huge 6.44-inch 1080p HD display, and that's got a lot of people buzzing about Sony's latest flagship device. And, it's great that we've come to the point where our smartphone displays can get that big, and still offer the 1080p experience, but, well…
Yeah, it's too big.
It's too big just to be too big, and that's the problem. For me, anyway. If a smartphone is going to have a panel that big, then there has to be some added benefit within the software to make it worthwhile. The Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note II, and the rumored HTC-branded T6 all bring an extra boost of software enhancements to make using something like a stylus, which is almost essential on a device of that size, worth it. It's not just about inputting things, or tapping on small icons. With a screen that big, software enhancements that truly bring the tablet and smartphone world together are absolutely essential.
Otherwise, you're just making a big phone to make a big phone. However, if I had to guess, I believe that the Galaxy Note family has sold so many devices primarily due to those software enhancements. Samsung tried to bridge the worlds of the smartphone and tablet, not just from the hardware perspective, but also through the software perks. And, if we are to believe the rumors, HTC plans on doing the same thing with the T6.
Sony, though, created a big phone. Sure, it can use a stylus, and owners will be able to "sketch and write with any pencil or stylus with a tip diameter of over 1mm." But, there are apps in the Google Play Store that can make use of that, like digital sketch books. That doesn't mean Sony's including software to take advantage of that. Just that the display is responsive.
The trouble is that Sony created a very, very nice looking device, and the Xperia Z Ultra is a device that I think a lot of people would like to show off. With a display of that size, you'd almost have to, right? Unfortunately, if you're someone who wants to truly bridge the gap between a smartphone and tablet, then you'll want to pick up a device that does that job through hardware and software, not just the former. That's why I'd only really consider the Xperia Z Ultra if they made it smaller, somewhere around the 4.9-inch region, but with all the same high-end specifications. That sounds like a dream come true.
How do you feel about Sony's latest flagship device? Do all the other hardware specifications make you want to pick it up, even if you aren't necessarily a huge fan of the huge display? Or will you be skipping it, due to the lack of announced software to really make use of the bigger screen? Let me know what you think.