• Whats the difference between the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and the Sony Xperia Z1

    By Clove , November 15, 2013 - Leave a comment

    Sony Xperia Z Ultra against Sony Xperia Z1 – What’s the difference?


    The Xperia Z Ultra and the Xperia Z1 are Sony’s current premium handset duo. With impressive sales of both devices Sony will be happy with how their boundary pushing technology is being received by their customers. Smartphone manufacturers seem to be trying to get as much value out of their brands as possible by releasing a number of variations of their most premium handsets. HTC ONE, Samsung Galaxy S4 and even the Apple iPhone are at it and Sony are no different. The Z Ultra is, at a glance, a super-sized Xperia Z1 but what are the real differences? In this article we aim to examine the differences between the two devices and how these differences impact on you, the user. What is the difference between the Sony Xperia Z1 and the Xperia Z Ultra?

    Main differences at a glance:

    • Display – The Z Ultra (6.44”) has a larger display than the Xperia Z1 (5”).
    • Camera – In terms of megapixels the Xperia Z1 has more at 20.7 when compared to the Z Ultra’s at 8.
    • Battery – The Ultra has a marginally bigger battery, 50mAh to be precise. Not a great deal when you consider the increase in screen size…
    • Design and build – Clearly the Xperia Z Ultra is the larger device but it is also thinner and has some different features to the Z1.


      The Xperia Z Ultra and the Xperia Z1 have very similar displays, both possess a 1080 x 1920 px display with the main difference being the size. The Z Ultra is 1.4” larger than the Z1 at 6.4” and you certainly notice this when the device is in your hand. The other difference is the pixel density, the Z1 wins this round with 441 ppi with the Z Ultra boasting a 342 ppi. This results in a slightly fuller and richer picture on the Z1, however, for overall viewing experience the Z Ultra’s larger display is easier to get lost in.



      Forgive me for not being able to give you much of a comparison between the two devices here as they both have exactly the same processor. Still, at least the processor is a good one! The 2.2GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 processor seems to handle everything you can throw at it and a bit more. Multi-tasking is a breeze and heavy usage seems to have no effect on the processing power of both devices. I think its safe to say that it’s a draw in this department between the two Sony’s.


      Again, the two devices have identical specifications here with 2GB of RAM each. Both devices responded well to our tests and it was very hard to notice any difference what so ever. I will mention that from my experience with these devices the Xperia Z1 did feel sharper and snappier under extensive heavy use, whether that’s to do with the RAM or not, who knows.


      The built-in storage on these two devices is, again, the same. 16GB of memory seems to be the industry ‘standard’ at the moment but both devices do also accommodate a 64GB external memory card. Once inserted the memory card can be used to store content such as images, videos, music and documents to free up some space on the device for your applications. To give a more realistic idea of how much memory each device has available; the Xperia Z1 has 11.79GB of available memory and the Xperia Z Ultra has 11.47, so very slightly more.


    Both devices have an impressive camera, if you compare them purely by pixels then the Z1 takes it at 20.7 mp with the Z Ultra coming in with 8 mp. The Z Ultra does have 16x digital zoom which is better than the 8x digital zoom of the Z1, however, I very rarely find myself using zoom on my smartphone as the quality does get lost a bit. Both cameras record video in full HD 1080p and have features such as smile detector, burst mode, superior auto and touch focus. The Z1 does produce more detailed and richer images but that’s not to say the Z Ultra doesn’t also produce stunning photos, it simply doesn’t have the megapixels of the Z1. Check out some images taken on both cameras below:

    Xperia Z1:Z1 Camera exampleDSC_0505DSC_0020


    Xperia Z Ultra:Z_Ultra_Sample_Images (6) Z_Ultra_Sample_Images (4) Z_Ultra_Sample_Images (1)


    With regards to connectivity, both devices are as equipped as you would expect two premium handsets to be. Clearly they both have GSM, 3G and 4G for mobile data connectivity. Both devices have Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n with support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks as well has having GPS, DLNA, NFC, microUSB, 3.5mm audio, WiFi direct and tethering options.

    With the Z Ultra you do have the option to use a stylus with the device as the screen allows this, the Z1 does not. Both devices support video out via the MHL to micro USB cable HERE and through Xperia Link which works very well.


      For me, having a phone that can last a whole day is a real selling point. After all, it’s no good having a device that can send you into space if it runs out of power and falls short. Both the Z1 and Z Ultra have powerful batteries in excess of 3,000 mAh. The Z1 Is actually 3,000 mAh and the Z Ultra is slightly larger at 3,050 mAh. However, given the dramatic increase in screen size of the Z Ultra the Z1 tends to go the distance more so than the Ultra. Naturally the Z1 is a smaller device with a smaller 5” screen which saps less power than the 6.4” Ultra display. Both devices are equipped with Sony’s ‘STAMINA’ mode which enables power saving features to wring as much power as possible out of the batteries.

    Size & Weight

      The Xperia Z Ultra is a truly massive phone, I doubt any manufacturer will make one larger than this. I have fairly large hands and even I struggle, it is quite often a two-handed job. Personally, it’s too big, I like to be able to use my phone seamlessly and without people staring at me wondering why I’m talking into a dinner plate. Saying that, the Z Ultra is noticeably slimmer than the Z1 at 6.5mm as opposed to 8.5mm, making it a very good-looking device. The Z1 is just about the right size for me, I can manage it all one-handed and the fact it is slightly thicker than the Z Ultra works in its favour for me. There are no issues with the weight of either device however the Z1 is noticeably heavier than its younger brother the Xperia Z, but it does feel better made!




    Both of the devices run 4.2.2 Android (Jelly Bean) both run the same skin, because of the Z Ultra’s massive screen more icons fit onto the screen. The app drawer on both the phones is the same and they both allow you arrange the icons in any order you wish including: alphabetical order or most recently used first. The notification bar is also the same, both the phones have exactly ten toggles for various connectivity options like Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC and so on. Both the phones have Sony’s small apps which can be accessed by pressing the third navigation key that also opens the list of already open apps. There are various small apps like calculator, recorder, timer, bookmarks and so on. You can open any number of these apps at a time and have them on-screen. They are always present on the screen unless you close them. Instead of closing them, you can drag them to the right side of the screen where they become small icon and attach themselves to the right side of the screen. On clicking those minimized icons, they are visible again. These small apps can be very useful for taking down notes and doing small things in a fast manner.


    These two devices are a first for Sony, a camera centric device and what’s been coined as a ‘phablet’. Sony have been leading the spec race with the Z1 and Z Ultra as the Ultra was the first device to feature the Snapdragon 800 processing chip. When it comes down to selection it really is a matter of personal needs and preference. If you require a larger screen and maybe a stylus the Z Ultra is your phone, however if you do prefer to have a better camera then the Z1 is the one for you. Both devices are straight out of Sony’s top drawer so you can expect premium quality from them both, not to mention they are both waterproof!


    This article was written by a member of the Clove Team. Clove is a specialist provider of mobile technology products, including smartphones, tablets, wearables, connected home products, memory cards and associated accessories.


    • Hi Charlie this is correct.
      There is no flash on the Z Ultra.
      There is a flash on the Z1.

  • I would like to add my 2 cents.

    Both Z1 and Z Ultra have also 802.11ac wifi spec, I think this is important parameter as well.

    • Difficult to say Shair, you’re supposed to make your own decision!
      The major difference is the the size and camera.
      If you want a normal sized phone with an excellent camera then choose the Z1.
      If you want a super sized phone with a normal camera then choose the Z Ultra!

    • Hello Anz you can use a 64 GB microSDXC card without issue in your Z Ultra.
      If it is not initially recognised then you may need to format the card in the ‘Storage’ section within the Settings

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