Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Sony Xperia C5 UltraIf Sony had updated the front camera of C4 they would have probably called it Xperia C5. But that wasn’t enough for them so they decided to give it an ‘ultra update’ and made the big screen even bigger. So now, instead of getting an incremental update you’ve now got an ultra version of the ‘missing link'(Xperia C5). Basically what Xperia C5 Ultra is, is it is Xperia C4 on steroids.

Hardware & Design

Design wise it’s just another rectangular slab of plastic just like any other smartphone. It’s build quality though is pretty solid. Even though it’s made of plastic it doesn’t feel cheap at all. And the back of this phone is made of glossy plastic with piano black finish as a result its back is a fingerprint and scratch magnet.

It’s a pretty hefty phone. It doesn’t feel empty or shallow it feels like its insides are filled till the last empty space. Complimenting its size, it is pretty weighty too. It’s a little more than 180 gram and it’s 8.2mm thick. It does have a notification LED and it also comes with a dedicated camera button.

Display

This is one of the best and worst(yes both) part of this phone. Best for people that like screen this big and worst for people that don’t. Putting the size aside, there’s no compromise in quality whatsoever. It’s a very good 6 inch full HD IPS LCD display.

Xperia C5 also comes with ‘Mobile Bravia Engine 2’ and ‘Super Vivid Mode’ features in the settings if you want even more vibrant colours. But since it’s an IPS LCD it’s colour reproduction, viewing angles and image quality are very good as it is. It’s sun-light readability is also very good. It’s adaptive brightness feature also works quite good.

Camera

Unlike the display this is only the best and the best feature of this phone. Sony Xperia C5 Ultra comes with two 13MP auto-focus cameras both with their own LED flash. They are both very good. And even though the front camera is of the same resolution as the back one, it still not like the one at the back.

Hence, it doesn’t show the ‘reality’. It’s a selfie camera made to capture faces. So don’t worry you won’t look bad in its front cam. Its just that the quality of that selfie you take is going to be of very high quality even in low light. Unlike most selfie cams that just takes blurry pix-elated mess.

Its back camera takes pretty natural photos with a lot of details and very good amount of lighting. In bad lighting conditions there’s a bit of noise and lack of clarity or sharpness is present. But it’s no big deal and is almost negligible. And since it’s a BSI sensor most of the time it takes bright photos. Image quality remains good even with the use of flash.

In low light or bad light conditions even though it takes a pretty ‘bright’ photo, it doesn’t pick up that much details as a result of that the image comes out a little blurry and not that sharp, it only happens in certain lighting conditions.

It sometimes also overexpose or takes very bright photos even in bad lighting conditions for example look at the ‘Bad light/Night mode’ photo. That photo looks brighter than the first one which was actually taken in good lighting conditions. But if you compare both the photos closely, you’ll notice that there’s a big difference between the details in both the photos. And the one in bad lighting conditions look a lot blurry and washed out. So even though it takes bright photo in low light it doesn’t pick up that much detail with it.

In the video recording department, it supports recording up-to full HD resolution and you can also shoot videos take videos on it simultaneously. And surprisingly the photos taken while shooting the video comes out pretty sharp too.

All in all the camera quality of this phone is very good from both the cameras and you can certainly call it a ‘camera phone’. Below are some samples and video camera samples is in the review video.

Multimedia

This is another very good use of that big 6 inch display. It’s very good for image and video viewing. Videos look really vibrant on the screen. It can play videos up-to full HD resolution natively for anything over that, you are going to need an app like MXPlayer. Even on MXPlayer you can’t play a native 4K resolution video file.

Music quality of this phone is very good both in earphones and through the external speaker. The speaker is pretty loud and clear and in earphones the sound is pretty warm and clear. If you use good quality earphones it sounds pretty punchy too. Overall audio quality is very good as expected from a Sony phone.

OS/Storage/RAM

Running the show from the inside here is Android 5.0 Lollipop with Sony’s own UI on top and it runs very smoothly. It was kind of clunky on Sony Xperia C4. I guess Sony has gotten rid of most of the bugs. There’s not much to write about it apart from how smooth and fast it works so i am just gonna leave the OS part at that.

Coming to storage, it comes with 16GB of internal memory out of which you’ll get a little more than half of it i.e, around 8GB free. It is expandable up-to 128GB. The phone supports USB OTG and move to SD. But you can not install games and apps on micro SD card. Out of 2GB RAM you’ll get around 1.6GB in total and out of which you’ll get around 600MB free.

Performance

It’s performance is similar to Sony Xperia C4 and Lenovo K3 Note. Since all the three phones have the same Mediatek 6752 chip-set that is to be expected. Mediatek 6752 comes with octa-core processor with 8 Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz and Mali T760 GPU. It seems pretty powerful and it is very powerful.

But as it turns out it is not powerful enough for gaming on full HD resolution. So that’s like the only weak point of this chip-set. But then again this is a mid-range chip-set and it comes inside value for money phones most of the time. And you can’t expect high end gaming performance from it.

At first i thought that’s just an issue with Xperia C4 since it was Sony’s first phone with that chip-set so some bugs and performance dips are to be expected. But then it happened with Lenovo K3 note too. Then it became clear that this chip-set isn’t powerful enough for smooth gaming at full HD resolution.

So just keep the settings of your games from low to medium and it will run them smoothly but if you crank them up-to the max except for some games like GTA San Andreas, it will still run them but at much lower frame rate.

This is a price point which is neither very expensive nor very cheap. It’s right in the middle and keeping that in mind the performance of this phone is i would say is satisfactory. Not very good but not bad. Just sufficient.

Connectivity

Now this maybe is my fault for holding the phone wrong or something(pardon me, since i have not used a phone this big before) but the volume from its earpiece at the top is really low and it feels like its coming from the inside and not the speaker.

When i adjusted the phone a little it turned out the sound was coming out of almost the top of the phone not from the front of the earpiece. But if you hold it like that so that the top would face your ear it turns out due to the size of the phone you will get a little far away from the mic at the bottom for your voice to reach it. It could be just me but this is certainly a problem. If you know any solution to this or facing the same problem, please write in the comments section below so that i could confirm that it’s not just me.

Apart from that, the mic, WiFi, network connectivity works without any hitch. And WiFi especially works really fast. There are two versions of this phone by the way, one is with dual SIM other one is not. This one is the dual SIM version, it takes two Nano SIMs and it also supports 4G/LTE.

Battery

Battery of this phone is is of 2930 mAh and Sony is promising ‘2 days battery life’ and around 13 hours of continuous talk-time on it on 2G. Which is pretty normal considering the size of the battery and you can actually achieve more than that if you use with Stamina mode on and only use 2G network and don’t play any games on it. Let’s just call it ‘Battery Preservation Mode’. In ultra stamina mode this phone can certainly last two days.

Now, if you use a little bit of everything on it(not continuously) like, some gaming, a little messaging, web browsing etcetera, etcetera. Then it will last you around a day easily. On heavy use like continuous gaming with WiFi on or video viewing will result in a battery life of way less than that. Lets just say 7-8 hours maximum.

Your Choice

I decided to screw the verdict and call it ‘your choice’ this time. So, lets look at the two ‘big’ features of this phone. First is its big 6 inch display second is its big in terms of megapixels front camera. Now, not everybody likes these two things. Some prefer gaming/performance over camera, some prefer small/compact form factor over big screen. Like the heading says, it’s your choice.

So this certainly isn’t an ‘everybody’ phone. But in case you are into those two things when it comes to smartphone then this phone is a very good choice for you. And the price is currently available at in the market, around Rs. 25,000(approx $370). I can definitely recommend it.

If you are a camera lover and loves to stare at yourself all day then that front camera and screen alone is worth the money for you.

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