How the Sony Xperia Z Ultra ‘stylus’ functionality works

by: Andrew GrushJune 25, 2013

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Earlier today, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra was officially announced, bringing with it a stunning 6.4-inch 1080p TFT display and a blazingly fast Snapdragon 800 processor. The phone’s specs are bleeding edge in nearly every aspect, but it is the display that really has us buzzing.

No, it isn’t just the size that blows us away, as we’ve seen that before with the Ascend Mate and Galaxy Mega. What really sets the Xperia ZU apart from the crowd is the technology behind its screen.

We’ve already discussed Triluminos and X-Reality Engine display technology, but what about the Xperia Z Ultra’s unique ability to use nearly any device as a stylus, how is this accomplished?

Sony has yet to get into the specifics of this technology, though speaking to All Things D, a Sony rep did mention the display has a special type of coating, Super Hard Coat ASF. This coating is said to allow the ZU’s display to work with pencils and pens. The coat also protects the ZU from scratches and marks while using makeshift styluses.

Digging a bit deeper it is possible that the Sony Xperia ZU is making use of some form of Neonode MultiSensing touch technology. Neonode is a Swedish company that had previously partnered with Sony for its e-Reader line, so it makes sense that Sony and Neonode could have teamed up here.

Just remember that Sony has yet to confirm Neonode was involved in the ZU’s design, so take this all with a slight grain of salt.

If the Z Ultra really does utilize Neonode multiSensing tech, that means it basically works by utilizing optical infrared light that can potentially sense any object and identify it pressure, size, depth, speed and proximity to the surface.

Update: We’ve recently learned that Sony has improved their capacitive touch panel, placing it on the same layer as the LCD, and will not need infrared sensors to detect the stylus. Check out the video below from Mobile Geeks to get a better idea on how the Xperia Z Ultra’s display tech works:

What do you think of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, how does it compare to other large screen smartphones including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Mega?

  • wferreira


  • Rayan


  • I’ll definitely look into this if it has expandable storage, or maybe 64GB built in.

  • lzr68

    This is a really nice piece of hardware. The smartwatch woukdd be a perfect companion to this carriers should bundle them together galaxy note3 is gonna be tough competition

    • Gilles LeBlanc

      Hells yea cant wait to buy it.

  • Martin

    Would be interesting to see if there is a lag between writing and appearing on the display

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    It shouldn’t be compared to the Galaxy Mega, it’s a bit more mid range, should be compared with the upcoming Note 3.

    • D’Ander McSullivan

      He was talking specifically about the screen size.

  • simpleas

    Even as a Sammy fan, I think this phone looks awesome. I just wished they included real wacom tech like the Note 2. And also kept the size down to 5.9 or below.

  • Bomj

    Neonode IR technology needs a slightly raised bazel to track object position on screen. Doesn’t look like Ultra has one.

  • Brian Dong Min Kim

    Sony’s software UI lacks….
    Samsung boasts their “true mult-tasking” capabilitys which i really enjoy well as their smart features.
    Even though the xperia z ultra has a stylus like the GN2/GN3 and even better specs, depending on how the GN3 turns out, I would most likely go for the GN3 if i was to upgrade….

    • Clarence Alvarado

      Oh I see you’re a Korean. I already know what you’re gonna say.

  • Ian Huntly

    The Samsung Note 3 better be very good to compete with this. Just bumped to the top of my list.