With the original Galaxy Note, and the success of the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung paved the way for other Android device manufacturers to experiment with devices that feature ultra-large displays. In many ways, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra pushes the limit in this criteria, and it’ll be quite interesting to see how the Sony device fares against the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Let’s take a look!
The design aesthetics of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra are largely the same as the Xperia Z’s. With a stylish, rectangular, all-glass design, the Xperia Z Ultra is just a much bigger version of the Xperia Z, but is still one of the slimmest devices available, with dimensions of 179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm, and weighing 212 grams. Every port is covered with a small piece of rubberized plastic which effectively makes the device dust and water resistant.
On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is comparatively smaller and lighter, but thicker, than the Xperia Z Ultra, with dimensions of 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm and weighing 168 grams, which is of course, obvious, because of the comparatively smaller display of the Note 3.
The biggest difference in design, compared to other Samsung devices, is the faux leather back cover, which is soft to touch, and makes it very easy to grip. With the same silver spine as seen on the Galaxy S4, and the new back cover, the Galaxy Note 3 is a stylish smartphone as well.
There are always going to be debates about what material and build quality OEMs use for their devices, but in the case of these two smartphones, it will mostly come down to how big a smartphone you want.
With a massive 6.4-inch display, the Xperia Z Ultra is one of the largest smartphones around, one that features a Triluminos display with the X-Reality engine. At 1080p resolution, the pixel density of 344 ppi.
The Galaxy Note 3 features a smaller 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, also with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 386 ppi.
The camera department is where the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is found lacking. The Galaxy Note 3 features the same camera as the Galaxy S4, featuring a 13MP rear shooter, with a BSI sensor, LED flash, zero shutter lag and Smart Stabilization. Like the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Note 3 camera is loaded with features, including Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, Eraser, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR, Panorama, and more.
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra on the other hand features an 8MP rear camera, with no flash, which means that while the device takes pretty good pictures in well-lit conditions, low light photography isn’t possible. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra camera is similar to what you’d find on tablets, so the camera department is where the identity crisis of the Xperia Z Ultra comes into play.
Both devices feature a 2MP front camera.
Even though the Xperia Z Ultra is the larger of the two smartphones, the device features a smaller 3,050 mAh battery, compared to the 3,200 mAh battery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The Galaxy Note 3′s battery is also removable, which is not an option with the Xperia Z Ultra.
The LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features a 2.3 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, while the 3G version will house a 1.9 Ghz Octa core processor (quad-core 1.9 Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 + quad-core 1.7Ghz ARM Cortex-A7). The Galaxy Note 3 also boasts 3GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB internal storage, which is further expandable via microSD up to 64GB.
On the other hand, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is powered by a 2.2 Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage with microSD expansion. While the Xperia Z Ultra specs are great, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 does boast better specifications.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on-board, which, until the recently announced Android 4.4 KitKat is released, is still the latest version of Android. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Samsung device without the TouchWiz UI overlay and its numerous features. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 includes all Galaxy S4 features, plus some new features such as Scrapbook, S Finder, Pen Window, and My Magazine, along with a lot of new (upgraded) S-Pen related apps, such as Air Command, Action Memo, and Screenwrite. You can check out the complete list of features in detail here.
Sony’s Xperia UI on the Xperia Z Ultra is similar to the Xperia Z. The interface is simplistic, with an ICS styling, even with the device running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. You also get various media-related Sony apps, such as Gallery and Walkman. To make full use of such a large display, there is also Small Apps, which are small overlays that give you access to apps for multitasking.
Unless you’re adamant about a huge display, or absolutely cannot use a “plastic” device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is certainly shaping up to be the better choice between the two.
Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Note 2
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