Sony starts selling Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1, SmartWatch 2 in U.S.


Kazuo Hirai, chief executive officer of Sony Corp., tries out a Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone with the Sony DSC-QX100 smartphone attachable lens-style camera at the CEATEC Japan 2013 exhibition in Chiba, Japan, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)
October 15, 2013

Sony is rolling out more of its biggest models for the holiday season, announcing Tuesday that it has started selling its Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1 and SmartWatch 2 in the United States through its online retail store.

The SmartWatch 2, as the name indicates, is Sony’s second swing at putting a smart device on the wrist: a 1.6-inch screen that works in concert with Android smartphones that lets users see notifications for e-mail, text messages and social networking updates. The watch costs $199.95, and has gotten mixed reviews. Several reviewers have commented that its screen is a little sluggish and that it still feels like an early test of the smartwatch form.

The Xperia Z1 smartphone is likely the crown jewel of the manufacturer’s lineup. The flagship phone has just about every bell and whistle the Sony wireless team has at its disposal: including waterproofing and a 20.7 MP camera that the firm says not only takes great pictures but is also equipped with heavy-duty software. The phone’s camera software, for example, lets users live-broadcast video over Facebook or use augmented reality technology to overlay animation onto photos. It also has something called “timeshift burst,” which captures multiple frames while the camera app is up, so that users can pick the frame they want for their photos.

Finally, there’s the Xperia Z Ultra, Sony’s answer to the phone-tablet hybrid. This 6.4-inch smartphone has handwriting recognition capabilities when used with a stylus. The Xperia Z Ultra is on the larger side of the “phablet “trend. The new HTC One Max, for example, is 5.9 inches, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is 5.7 inches. The Xperia Z Ultra gets closer than any of those phones to the tablet range, which starts at or around 7 inches, and even edges out the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega.

These larger phones may not be pocket-friendly, but they are popular among consumers who want an all-in-one mobile device.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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