Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Sony Xperia Z Ultra: By the numbers

by: Adam KoueiderJuly 6, 2013

Galaxy Note 2

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has held its own against some stiff competition in the past, but with its successor still a few months away, a rather large shadow has loomed upon it. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra might just be the Galaxy Note 2’s biggest competitor yet, and in more ways than one.

So after pitting the Note 2 up against the LG Optimus G Pro last time, the Galaxy Note 2 has returned to go up against the Xperia Z Ultra in a “by the numbers” smackdown.

1,152,000 pixels

That’s how many more pixels the Sony Xperia Z Ultra has, when compared to the 720P display on the Galaxy Note 2. While the Xperia Z Ultra carries a Full HD Triluminous display, packing over 2 million pixels, the Galaxy Note 2 clocks out at just under a million with its 720P Super AMOLED.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra press (4)

0.9 inches

The difference in screen-size between the Xperia ZU and the Note 2. While the Note 2 has an already quite large 5.5-inch display, the Xperia Z Ultra contains a 6.4-inch display inside of its waterproof shell. The Xperia ZU is a gargantuan of a smartphone that makes even the Galaxy Note 2 look relatively small.

77 PPI

That’s the difference that the extra million pixels on the Xperia ZU make when looking at pixel density. While the Xperia Z Ultra has a much higher resolution display, its larger screen limits it to just 344 pixels per inch. The Galaxy Note 2 on the other hand, has a pixel density of 267 PPI.

galaxy note 2 [aa]

28.3 mm

You didn’t expect the Xperia Z Ultra to fit a much larger display into the same size shell, now did you. Something’s got to make room for that 6.4-inch screen, and as a result the Xperia Z Ultra is a full 28.3 mm taller than the Galaxy Note 2. So if you thought pocketing the Galaxy Note 2 was hard, just wait till you try this.

Xperia Z Ultra

31 percent

Where the Xperia ZU lacks adds in height, it makes up for in its thin frame. The Xperia Z Ultra is razor blade thin, coming in at just 6.5 mm thick, while the Galaxy Note 2 is a little bit chunkier, as its 9.4 mm frame suggests. That makes the Xperia ZU 31% thinner than its rival.

29 grams

The Xperia ZU's tempered glass front and back mean it tips the scales at a hefty 212 grams.

That’s how many more grams the Xperia Z Ultra weighs. While the Xperia Z Ultra is thinner, it can’t quite repeat the wizardry with its weight. The tempered glass front and back certainly don’t help it keep its weight down, and this means that the Xperia Z Ultra tips the scales at a hefty 212 grams. The relatively light weight plastic construction on the Note 2 however, allows it to come in at just 183 grams.

600 mhz

The difference in clock speed between the Note 2 and the Xperia Z Ultra. While the Note 2 is nearing its first birthday, the Xperia Z Ultra has just been announced and it takes advantage of the new Snapdragon 800 SoC that’s been blazing a trail through the benchmarks ever since it was unveiled.

The Galaxy Note 2 utilizes the Exynos 4 Quad clocked at 1.6Ghz, and the Xperia ZU has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, clocked at 2.2Ghz. Based on preliminary benchmarks, expect the Xperia Z Ultra or any smartphone that uses the Snapdragon 800, to destroy the competition.

BayTrail and Snapdragon 800 Antutu Benchmarks

1.5 metres

How deep underwater the Xperia Z Ultra can go without being damaged. Thanks to its IP58 rating, the Xperia ZU can be plunged underwater for 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 metres and remain functional. The Galaxy Note 2 on the other hand, does not feature such capabilities so for those of you who like to take bathroom snaps, please keep your Note 2’s away from any water basins.

50 mAh

While it’s not looking too good for the Xperia Z Ultra on the battery side of things, we’ll leave the full judgements until after a full review.

That’s how much bigger the battery is on the Galaxy Note 2. The 3050 mAh battery on the Xperia Z Ultra might make power users struggle to get through a full day of use. The Galaxy Note 2 is renowned for its great battery life, and not only does the Xperia ZU have a slightly smaller battery, it’s also got a larger, more power hungry display.

While it’s not looking too good for the Xperia Z Ultra on the battery side of things, we’ll leave the full judgements until after a full review.

Wrap up

One thing we didn’t mention above is that the Xperia Z Ultra features new capabilities which allows pens, pencils, even paintbrushes to be used as a stylus. The Note 2 features the ever present S-Pen which has become the hallmark of the Note brand. It’s also a Wacom digitizer, meaning it can detect up to 1024 levels of pressure.

Keep in mind that while the Note 2 seems a little outclassed when compared to this year’s competition, the Galaxy Note 3 is only a few short months away and is expected to be announced at IFA 2013 this September.

We’ll be sure to get a review out for the Xperia Z Ultra as soon as possible, but in the meantime check out the written review for the Galaxy Note 2 by clicking here, or watch the video review below.

Which do you prefer: the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or the Sony Xperia Z Ultra?

  • Karim Tutone

    Sorry but the xperia z ultra can be plunged without limit of time and at 4m (sorry for my english i from Switzerland)

  • mokomokomokomokomoko

    but effective ppi for the galaxy s4 is lower than 441 because of the samoled pixel arrangement as can be shown by how the rgb dots become obvious (viewed with a microscope) when showing whites.

  • Jimbo

    And you can get a note 2 easily for any carrier and for a lot cheaper. I got mine new in box, never opened for 440. Just depends if you need the latest….

  • JohnD

    I am a big fan of the Note series. However I love how the Z Ultra brings an ingenious way to solve the problem of phone size versus head size (and silliness while holding these huge things against your head). I think this is great idea of selling the product with the accessory, and I am in love with the fact that the note is able to receive input from any type of input method.

    I feel allowing traditional inputs such as pens and pencils will bring these devices to a more mature stage where they will no longer be seen as toys for tech enthusiasts, but practical gadgets for very day use. I am curious to see how the ZU will handle the stylus versus a pencel or pen.

    The accessory bluetooth head piece also allows for so much more functionality and multi tasking (on the go). It’s happend enough to me that I am on the phone and also needed to access my email, this problem is instantly solved. The only downside is that I need to carry two pieces of equipment (the ZU & the phone accessory) instead of one, and the fear of ever forgetting the phone accessory somewhere but the ZU in my pocket (or perse or man bag). I hope there is some sort of built in feature that if the ZU and accessory to make some kind of sound if the bluetooth connection breaks.

    And finally support for writing input! I really hope handwriting conversion to text get a lot of attention from manufacturers and developers alike. There are some very interesting apps out there but none complete. S Note does a great job and is fun to play with but needs improvements, needs to feel less like a gimmick and more intuitive and to the point. A comparison in my mind is that S note is currently what smartphone keyboards were like in the year 2009 – 2010 and we need breakthrough that will bring it to what smartphones keyboards can are now (by standards of Swiftkey and such).

    I do see a big feature in these types of devices, for me personally as a consumer but also as a significant market. It can be the evolution of tablets and phones. I will no longer need a tablet to read my email while I am on the phone talking to someone. I can already see it now!

    Looking very much forward to the review of the ZU!

    • Random Bob

      I was thinking that this thing looked even more silly than holding a big phone but maybe that’s just me.

  • Joy Test

    @JohnD nice writeup but do remember that using a BT headset is nothing new and u can do the exact same thing with any smartphone with a BT headset and leaving the phone on the table.

    I wonder why people go ooh aahh over this.
    Furthermore there is a new ad by Sony showing how the stylus is used.

    Observe that the model NEVER let’s her palm touch the screen. This means no palm rejection, which means it is just another capacitive screen with conductive stylus capacity. Try writing with yr palm above the screen for 5 minutes and see how your arm feels.
    I’m all for new tech but not for bs spin showing old wine in new wineskins.

    That said the Ultra provides some credible competition now to Samsung.

  • Gilles LeBlanc

    Shut up! Take my money!!

  • Grman Rodriguez

    The note 2 is simply one of those devices that will always be remember ed , and one of Samsung (and 2012’s) greatest phones, despite the lack of specs for today’s standards it’s still one of the most respected devices on mobile industry. I don’t think the Z Ultra will make such an impact because gigantic screen size, no flash, etc… We shall wait for the Honami and compare that to the s4

    • Air

      It’s still very competitive and if I got one I would not upgrade until next year. Really one of the best phones indeed.

    • Sunny Smildon

      Honami should be compared with Lumia 1020 and Galaxy S4 Zoom, not the ‘normal’ S4. as for the gimmicky crappy ultra pixel HTC One, put that aside, not even worth to mention.

  • deondraee

    What do you think of my presumed realistic NOTE 3 specs…

    1) 3 GB RAM
    2) 2.5 Ghz cpu (The snapdragon 800 in the new galaxy s4 LTE-A -Korean is clocked at 2.3GHz)
    3) 13 or 15 meg camera & atleast a 5meg Front facing Full HD
    4) Android 4.3 (Already leaked and shown to be working on the s4 just isnt official by google)
    5) Improved Touchwiz (No lag and to take up less on board storage)
    6) Bluetooth 4.0
    7) LTE Advanced
    8) Flexible Super AMOLED 1080p Display with Gorilla glass 3 (Doubtful for the flexible part)
    9) 4K recording (if not on the NOTE 3 then maybe the galaxy s5) – Snapdragon 800 supports 4K encoding
    10) 5.7 or 5.9 inch screen (5.7 will definitely fit in the note two’s body)
    11) 802.11ac New Wifi standard (Three times faster than “n” / your current phone – apple is already using this in its recent releases)

    12) Bigger battery up from 3100 to 3500mAH
    13) Better PPi at 440+ (S4 has 441)

    • hardSTICK

      1. most likely
      2.snapdragon 800 max is 2.3ghz or sammy can use the rumored 5420 exynos with 8 core mali 450
      3. same camera as s4 with updated firmware
      4.most likely
      5. hopefully
      6. most likely
      7. most likely
      8. toss up: i think it will be either a non-pentile super amoled or the flexible oled. What I want is a flexible pholed display that can saved up on battery and be much more brighter at the same time
      9. same as s4
      10. most likely 5.7 inch
      11. most likely
      12. somewhere aroung 3500mah
      13. less ppi than s4 due to bigger screen but if sammy uses non pentile that there will be more sub pixels
      14. most likely thinner than the note 2 but i would trade this off for bigger battery

      • SamsaraGuru

        Yes – a bigger battery, slightly thicker is well worth the trade off.

      • deondraee

        2. I highly doubt the snapdragon maxes out at 2.3 (foreinstace look at the s4 vs HTC one… both use the 600 but the s4 is clocked at a higher speed – if sammy carries on this trade then we might well see a 2.5 GHz on the NOTE 3

        8. Please explain the difference between “none-pentile super amoled” and “Flexible oled” and how it makes it much brighter

        13. How does the bigger screen contribute to less pixels please explain this phenomenon – surely they should be able to fit as many pixels as they want now that its bigger right ? sub pixels ?

        • AnythingElseDEONDRAEE

          2. snapdragon 800 already confirmed on their own site that max clock is 2.3 while the max cloxk for 600 is 1.9ghz.

          8. Pholed is brighter and uses less power— flexible is just cool factor

          13. less pixel as in less dpi but a non-pentile will have more SUB PIXEL than a pentile screen. This is not a phenomenon remember the gs2 which has the plus screen???

        • Gas_Huffer

          No, the Snapdragon 800 does indeed max out at 2.3. The S4 is clocked at a higher speed because it uses a DIFFERENT version of the Snapdragon 600 than the HTC One. Look up Anandtech’s review of the Galaxy S4 for confirmation of the different S600 variant.

        • Christopher Vanwinkle

          Less pixels per inch, because if you have the same resolution at a larger screen size, then you will end up with larger pixels so that they fit into the screen. Therefore, you have less pixels in an inch.

    • SamsaraGuru

      Wouldn’t it be loverly? sms

      • deondraee


    • dominic lee

      a lil’ bit of greedy add on if u dont mind:
      1) ultra Li-ion rated at 6000mAh with Quick-Charge function, full charge takes only 30 mins to complete :-)
      2) 6.0 inch FHD Super-AMOLED with anti-reflective coating
      3) 13MP cam is OK, but maybe a slightly larger sensor without making the body thicker? (no idea whether that is possible)
      4) 4K recording is not a MUST-HAVE for majority of consumer, so perhaps i rather pick 1080p with 60fps or higher
      5) f/1.8 camera lens just like the Lenovo K900
      6) and PLEASE, no more ridiculous bloatwares!!!

    • 4K recording? lol… 20 seconds and your smartphone is full :P

  • Yasir

    There should have been an LG Optimus G Pro compared to the Z Ultra.
    Optimus G Pro beats the Note 2 in every aspect.
    So LG, why there is no Optimus G Pro?
    Please work on it. Many people dont really consider your flagships! Thats why you’re unable to compete effectively.

  • Yasir

    I went from the Xperia Z to Galaxy S4.
    HTC One is also available here in Pakistan.
    I desperately want to own an Optimus G Pro but currently, it is not available here.
    The Z Ultra will be available and the Note III will be to-be-announced-soon by the time G Pro launches here.

  • Steve

    xperia z ultra has NO flash!!!!

    • eric stallings

      LED Flash is over-rated!

      • vampyren

        Still better then nothing!

  • SamsaraGuru

    Apples to oranges comparison.

    Why take the time to compare old (Note 2) technology against brand new?

    Why not focus your efforts on something that is relevant to the here and now and do a demolition derby comparison between the upcoming Note 3 and the competition?

    That would give us information that was worth reading rather than wondering about the rhyme and reason of even compiling.

    • deondraee

      look out for my comment i highlighted some realistic NOTE 3 specs

      • Christopher Vanwinkle

        Many of those are either highly unlikely or impossible because of other specs.

  • yankeesusa

    Although the xperia is faster with better screen I would choose my note 2 over it over and over. Speed isn’t that big of a deal, the note 2 is fast enough. Pixel density, most people don’t care and won’t notice. Size, I can still use my note 2 with one hand. The xperia would prevent that. Battery life, why would I lower my battery life? Only thing going for xperia is the waterproof feature. Other than that I have no problem waiting for the note 3.

  • Ivorte

    Shame you only used AnTutu in the benchmark, I would have liked to see a range of benchmarks especially as it look like people are gaming the AnTutu benchmark so is no longer a trustworthy indication of performance. See here

  • Gas_Huffer

    I have to take issue with a statement from this article: “…and not only does the Xperia ZU have a slightly smaller battery, it’s also got a larger, more power hungry display.”

    While the ZU does indeed have a larger display, it remains to be seen if it is more power-hungry. Simply going by size is totally inadequate. LCD and AMOLED are different technologies anyway, and on top of that, no one has ever seen how Triluminos back-lighting performs in a mobile device. On paper, at least, Triluminos is significantly more efficient than normal LED backlights, which are in turn significantly more efficient than AMOLED (on any color except black). It might turn out (probably not, but there is a possibility) that the ZU has a LESS power-hungry display than the Note 2.

  • the Jellybean man•

    When the note 2 first came out, it was the fastest phone on the market and also the first US quad core phone. Thongs have a LOT farther one year after…