By Gerard Ramos / Lifestyle & Entertainment Editor
NO doubt not a few of you found your social-media timelines recently flooded with bits about the latest smartphone hotness from Sony.
The mobile communications division of the consumer electronics giant has just added to its portfolio a trio of flagships—the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact and Xperia Z5 Premium—which should not only permanently silence recent talk about Sony getting out of the cutthroat smartphone business (and, yes, the company is in the process of opening a manufacturing plant in Thailand dedicated solely to cranking out Xperia devices) but also further strengthen its reputation as the one of the best purveyors of Android goodness.
“Smartphones are part of people’s lives” said Hiroki Totoki, president and CEO at Sony Mobile Communications, in a statement. “Since users already create, share and enjoy most of their content on the go, we’ve set out to bring Sony’s latest innovations in camera, design and display to ensure the Xperia Z5 series is the best possible lifestyle and entertainment platform.”
“We continue to redefine mobile entertainment with the world’s first 4K Ultra HD smartphone display and 4K Ultra HD Upscaling technology,” added Jhoana Benedicto, product marketing officer for Xperia.
Benedicto is, of course, talking about the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, which is the first-ever smartphone to boast of a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 3,840×2,160 pixels and 801 ppi. The iPhone 6s Plus, on the other hand, has a 5.5-inch display with 1,920×1,080 pixels resolution and 401 ppi, while the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ packs a 5.7-inch display with a 1440×2560 pixel resolution and 518 ppi. Take a moment to let those numbers sink in.
Needless to say, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium’s specs would also tally up to a premium price, presumably a few thousands more than the suggested retail price (SRP) P35,990 commanded by the Xperia Z5 that is now available in Sony Centers and Sony Mobile Stores nationwide, along with the Xperia Z5 Compact.
Not everybody needs a premium device, however, and your typical user would be more than happy enough with a smartphone with decent specs and some extra goodies thrown in for good measure, like a display and a camera that make for a smartphone solid enough for consuming and generating content.
For this mid-range market, Sony also has a number of great offerings—like the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra (www.sony.com.ph), with an SRP online and in physical stores well under P20,000. It is the third Xperia smartphone with the “Ultra” appellation, the first being 2013’s fabulous Xperia Z Ultra with a 6.4-inch display and last year’s underwhelming T2 Ultra with a 6-inch screen that was crippled by a paltry 8GB of built-in storage.
The new LTE-packing Sony Xperia C5 Ultra has no such shortcoming, coming as it does with 16GB of user storage out of the box (as with its immediate predecessor, the C5 Ultra’s storage can be expanded via a microSD card slot that can take in a card packing as much as 200GB), while the display, though still a 6-incher, bests the T2 Ultra’s 720×1280 pixel resolution with a full-HD 1080×1920 display. And, yes, the panel does make it a glorious platform for content consumption, be it the latest episode in the final series of Downton Abbey (I still can’t get over that dinner scene where the Earl of Grantham made quite a mess of the linens) or the seemingly neverending AlDub stream on your Twitter feed.
Despite sharing the same screen size as its predecessor, the Xperia C5 Ultra feels far more comfortable and ergonomic in the hand, as Sony has managed to shave off some millimeters here and there in both length and width, yielding a near-borderless design that makes the display seemingly float, especially when consuming media.
Still, there’s no denying this is a big phone, and also a tad thicker and heavier than the T2 Ultra (187 grams versus 171.7 g)—although the extra bit of weight does make the C5 Ultra feel better in the hand. Moreover, while the phone is pretty much ventures into phablet territory, this is one that I can easily slip into my jeans’ front pocket with no trouble. And, better even, with no trepidation: like all of the Sony smartphones I’ve had the privilege of giving a test run, the Xperia C5 Ultra is solidly built with its tough metal frame dressed in plastic and glass. Also tucked in the insides is a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6752 SoC plus 2GB RAM, which powers Android 5.0 Lollipop quite nicely. (An upgrade to Android 6.0, also known as Marshmallow, should be forthcoming.)
When Sony unveiled the Xperia C5 Ultra back in August, it was touted as a smartphone for the selfie generation, and that was, it turns out, not an exercise in marketing speak. The smartphone packs a 13 MP Exmor RS camera with autofocus, flash and HDR mode in the front and in the back. Yes, pick the Xperia C5 Ultra as your new smartphone and you enjoy not only Sony’s award-winning imaging expertise but also a 13-MP rear shooter for all your random visual musings, and another one for scratching that terminal case of selfie itch, resulting in your best-looking selfies ever—and by selfie, I’m subscribing to the actual definition of the word (“a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick,” according to Wikipedia), and not how today’s so-called social-media darlings define selfies that were actually taken by some pathetic lackey.
With a solid twofer of imaging muscle, a big and bold and bright display, a gorgeously unfussy design, and plenty of the bells and whistles that you would expect from a flagship smartphone (LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi and so on), there is certainly plenty to love about the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra.