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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. Sony Xperia Z Ultra: 5 Things to Know



Earlier this week, Sony took the curtain down from around a brand new Sony Xperia Z branded device called the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, a massive phablet that will be coming to shelves to try and dethrone not only the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 but like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as well. The device is an intriguing smartphone and one that consumers likely have their eye on. Here, we take a look at the most important things to know about its battle with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

At CES 2013, Sony unveiled two Sony Xperia Z devices, the Sony Xperia Z and the Sony Xperia ZL. Both of those devices have been on shelves since February and just recently received their Android 4.2 Jelly Bean updates as they attempt to battle the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. With those devices, Sony struck early as the Galaxy S4 and HTC One arrived later. And just a short time ago, Sony struck early again.

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is official and will be coming to shelves in Q3.

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is official and will be coming to shelves in Q3.

In a move that came as no surprise to anyone, Sony unveiled the new Sony Xperia Z Ultra, a massive take on the Sony Xperia Z brand and a competitor for not only the phablets of today, but the phablets of tomorrow as well.

Rumors suggest that Sony isn’t the only one with a big name phablet device up its sleeve. No, Samsung and HTC are both heavily rumored to be bringing large screen variants of their flagship devices to shelves later this year. In the case of Samsung, it’s the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and in HTC’s case, it’s the HTC T6, also known as the HTC One Max.

Those will more than likely be the smartphones that the Sony Xperia Z is up against when it arrives later this year and whether it can withstand the competition remains to be seen. However, what is clear is that the Sony Xperia Z is an intriguing device and one that should ultimately fall on the shopping lists of prospective Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Max buyers.

That said, these are the five most important things to know about upcoming battle between the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

September Releases Possible For Both

The Galaxy Note 3 could be released in Q3 as well.

The Galaxy Note 3 could be released in Q3 as well.

Maybe the most important thing to know about the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is that it doesn’t have an official release date. Like it did with the Xperia Z, Sony neglected to offer a specific release date for the device, instead opting to tag it with a release window of the third quarter. That means that it could be out anytime between July and the end of September.

This makes it a tough buy as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is heavily rumored to be making a September debut and those looking to buy a large screen smartphone will want to wait and see what the king of phablets has up its sleeve.

What this also means is that those dead set on buying this smartphone have no idea when or where it will be coming to shelves. Instead, they will have to play the usual Android smartphone release date waiting game. We imagine that it will be out before September, given its June launch, but there is certainly no guarantee.

The Galaxy Note 3 on the other hand is rumored for a September release which means that it may not be beaten to shelves by much.

U.S. Launch Differences Likely

There are likely plenty of people interested in the Sony Xperia Z Ultra in the United States, just like there were plenty of people interested in the Sony Xperia Z in the United States. However, for whatever reason, Sony decided not to cater to the United States, instead launching their Xperia Z devices unlocked. After several months, T-Mobile unveiled the device but by then, interest waned.

Hopefully, Sony learned from its lesson and has at least one U.S. carrier on tap for this device at launch but there is no guarantee. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this device emerge in regions around the world first, namely Japan, and then move onto the U.S. And even then, there is no guarantee that a U.S. carrier will buy into this device, especially with the Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max seemingly on the way.

The Galaxy Note 3 on the other hand will almost assuredly be available on a host of carriers at launch including the nation’s largest, Verizon Wireless.

Key Design Difference

One of the nicer aspects of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is its design. Like the Xperia Z, it utilizes a design that is both dust and water resistant, making it ideal for those that live in particularly harsh environments or work a job that benefits from a more rugged design.

We’ve seen companies like Samsung start to buy into this type of design, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a prime example, but that doesn’t mean that the Galaxy Note 3 will come with this type of protection. In fact, we’d be willing to wager that its plastic design isn’t water or dust resistant. Same goes for the HTC One Max’s metal design.

Those who are indeed haunted by the elements whether at home, or at work, will certainly want to give this Xperia Z Ultra a look.

Galaxy Note 3 Display Will Be Smaller

Plain and simple, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra display is absolutely massive, standing at a whopping 6.4-inches in size. That’s over an inch larger than the Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z and nearly an inch larger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s 5.5-inch display.

The Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S4. Rumors point to a Galaxy Note 3 with a larger display and 1080P HD resolution.

The Galaxy Note 3 is said to have a 5.7-inch display.

It will also likely be bigger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 display and the HTC One Max display. The Galaxy Note 3 display is expected to be in the range of 5.7-inches to 6-inches while the HTC One Max is thought to have a 5.9-inch display.

So those looking for more real estate for gaming or web browsing might want to consider the Xperia Z Ultra as it will more than likely have the largest display amongst the trio.

Big Software/Stylus Differences

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra can utilize a stylus though in the case of the Xperia Z Ultra, it won’t come bundled with one. Instead, owners will need to buy one of their own though they will also be able to use a pencil if they so choose. From what we’ve seen, there aren’t a host of stylus related applications on board the Xperia Ultra Z either.

The Galaxy Note 3 on the other hand will come bundled with an S Pen stylus, its unique stylus pen, and it will have unique software on board that takes advantage of that stylus. What this means is that the Galaxy Note 3 should edge the Sony Xperia Z Ultra when it comes to this feature and that alone could make the Galaxy Note 3 more appealing to those looking for a big screen smartphone.



  1. Android Craze

    06/27/2013 at 12:59 pm

    Galaxy S4 Developer Edition has also been launched with some different specs. Watch Out. Source:

  2. David

    06/27/2013 at 7:44 pm

    Found a dedicated site for the Sony Xperia Ultra over at full specs and more

  3. King

    06/28/2013 at 10:09 pm

    I can’t get over the fact that the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is only in 16Gb though. At this price point and as a flagship product, they should at least offer 32Gb, 64Gb or even 128Gb options for those who want more onboard storage, on top of the included microSd expandable storage support. Other phone companies have been doing this for ages, I don’t understand why developers want to limit storage space, probably so that mobile telecom companies can charge more for cloud storage? It really profits the network companies more than the user. Greedy if you ask me.

  4. jordanepic

    06/29/2013 at 8:09 am

    But does the Xperia Z have wacom-style pressure sensitivity when using a stylus? The Note has over 1000 levels of pressure sensitivity. That, in my opinion is the only feature worth mentioning. If you’re not buying it for Stylus support, then why bother buying a phablet at all? I use my Note2 for drawing, otherwise I would have bought the S4.

  5. yarrellray

    06/30/2013 at 5:58 am

    Galaxy Note 3 for me without question a definite day one purchase. But I would love to see the Sony Zu on Tmobile. I would buy that too if I had the chance.

  6. Drake B

    06/30/2013 at 8:23 am

    I just want to note that I wish Samsung would add a detachable bluetooth ear phone on their phablets. One that is ready to use upon detachment and is placed within the contour shape on the side of the phablet body.
    It will not need a lot of battery juice unlike the typical earphone because once you’re done talking with it, it will go right back to the phablet and be recharged. When a typical earphone is being recharged you are recharging its usage calling time and also its resting time (rest times tend to be longer at most times). With the detachable earphone idea you are only recharging the usage calling time which translates to less battery power and less time needed to recharge back in replacing the juice that was used up. Having said that you will not have an issue of having an uncharged earphone and don’t have to spend extra time recharging it as well and does not have to find a place to recharge it. If Samsung maintains about having a removable battery on their phablets then one can simply choose to bring an extra battery.  In the mean time the ongoing advancements is trending towards less power drain capability type of hardwares and more juiced up battery types.  Not to mention phablets can accommodate a larger piece of battery which can hold more power.  Having mention trends – there’s more texting now than phone calling. With regard to uncomfortableness on the ear usage this will get better during trial and error in the development stage – and by the way the earphone will not be on your ear at most times as it will rest back on the phablet when not in use. When competition kicks in you’ll see several awesome choices instead. There will be competition with this feature especially when it start to be applied to laptops (business laptops too) and who knows what other type of machines. LG have done it on a cell phone but it was not as advanced as it could be today. Samsung could revive this earphone feature and use it on a phablet (which is more pertinent). Samsung did a good job reviving the stylus pen now dubbed the S-Pen. I would love to see them do the same on the earphone. You won’t look like a geek anymore.

  7. DrkRydr

    07/01/2013 at 2:11 am

    I Rather Pick Sony Z Ultra 6.4 Instead Of All thee Rest Of Thee Loosers Phones Bahaha lol

    • John

      08/20/2013 at 9:49 am

      I think you mean loser, not that I agree.

      • sam

        09/16/2013 at 3:49 pm

        Note 3 is better than z ultra r you kidding

    • sam

      09/16/2013 at 3:43 pm


    • sam

      09/16/2013 at 3:47 pm

      To drkrydr, why don’t you shove ur z ultra up ur a**! Bahaha lol dumb ass

  8. David

    10/08/2013 at 12:43 pm

    Coming from a Galaxy note 2 owner, Samsung hasn’t figured out how to make a phone that feels less cheap. This plastic doesn’t even compare to even an iPhone. YES something as cheaply made as the iPhone

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