Sony Xperia T2 Ultra Dual Review – Budget Dual-SIM Smartphone with 6” Display & Great Battery Life

Sony launched the Xperia T2 Ultra Dual in India back in March, which is Sony’s mid-range phablet offering a mixed flavour of a smartphone and tablet. The Xperia T2 Ultra Dual is a trimmed down version of company’s high-end phablet ‘Xperia Z Ultra’, featuring a big 6-inch display, dual-SIM support, and decent hardware specifications that obviously aren’t up to par. Sony has designed the Xperia T2 Ultra for users least concerned about the latest specs but who rather prefer a value for money device, that can practically perform well in everyday life. We got to try out T2 Ultra for 10 days and have mixed opinions about it. Let’s explore and find out if this device is really capable of being worth or not?

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What’s In the box?

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Build and Design

The T2 Ultra is a giant phone having its design inspired from the high-end line-up of Xperia Z smartphones. The device appears to be a premium one from a distance but unlike Z, Z1 or Z2, the T2 Ultra is build completely out of plastic instead of a metal body and glass back panels. The back cover is made of glossy plastic that is prone to light scratches and fingerprints. The case is not that bad with the white color variant but the glossy back makes it slippery. A metallic like layer around all the sides looks like metal but is actually a shiny plastic composite. The device is certainly huge and thus one-handed operation is difficult unless you’ve huge palms. Unlike high-end Xperia phones, T2 Ultra isn’t water and dust resistant. There is a noise-cancelling microphone at the rear top and a loudspeaker on the rear lower side of the phone. To the left of the SONY branding are the proximity and ambient light sensors, followed by a multi-coloured LED notification light and the earpiece.

Size comparison – 7” Nexus 7, 6” Xperia T2 Ultra, and 4.7” HTC One (M7)

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Although Xperia T2 Ultra has a large form-factor, it extremely lightweight at 172 grams and exceptionally slim being just 7.7mm thick. Its slim and sleek design makes it really easy to use for extended intervals. The SIM card and the micro SD card slots are covered with plastic flaps. There is Sony’s signature power key and next to it is the volume rocker and a dedicated camera key, both of which feel flimsy. The USB port and 3.5mm jack are awkwardly placed sideways which can be uncomfortable while phone is in pocket with the earphones on. What really annoying is the SIM insertion process – It’s pretty difficult to drag out the SIM card trays and then inserting them back. The plastic micro SIM card trays are very flimsy and could easily break. Moreover, such a big screen and it isn’t scratch-resistant. Really? – Yes.

Xperia T2 Ultra Dual Photo Gallery – (Click on the images to view in full size.)

  • Xperia T2 Ultra dual Side shot

Display

T2 Ultra sports a 6-inch (IPS LCD) HD TRILUMINOS display with a screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels at 245ppi. The display is vivid and bright with good viewing angles, but the lack of Full HD 1080p resolution can be clearly noticed on its large screen when zooming-in text or viewing details. However, the panel being reflective affects the screen viewing quality in bright sunlight. Sony has added Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, an image quality enhancement algorithm for photos and videos. The engine analyses and adjusts the content quality accordingly by tuning contrast, enhancing colours, and reducing noise in real-time. It’s on by default and can be turned off in the phone display settings. Overall, the display is pretty good and there is a Glove Mode that allows operating the touchscreen while wearing gloves.

Camera

T2 Ultra comes with 13MP primary camera with Sony’s Exmor RS sensor that looks good on paper but the results don’t really justify it. The rear camera is sort of average when compared to 13MP sensors in other devices, as the photo shots lack quality and fine details even when captured in decent lighting conditions. To our surprise, it performed quite good in low light conditions. The Auto flash mode isn’t so smart that tends to fire flash even in daylight shots.

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The main camera is equipped with a LED flash that offers features like Burst mode, HDR for photos and videos, Full HD video recording support, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, sweep panorama, etc. Its Smart social camera includes modes like Portrait retouch and AR effect that you can use to apply funny effects to your selfies in real-time. It has background defocus mode that works by taking two photos and then processes them, though it requires a still hand and some patience too. One can capture photos using the one screen button or using the physical camera key that also turns on the camera when pressed.

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On the front is a 1.1MP camera that is poor to say the least. Even in well lit area, the selfies turned out to be grainy and full of noise. It supports 720p video recording at 30fps. Overall, the device has a decent camera but if you love taking quality stills that it won’t impress you. Below are several untouched camera samples taken with both the cameras on T2 Ultra.

T2 Ultra Camera Photos Gallery -  (Click on the images to view them in full size.)

  • Xperia T2 Ultra daylight camera photo

Software and Multimedia

The Xperia T2 Ultra runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and just like other brands, Sony’s implements a custom Xperia user interface (UI). As per Sony, the Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade for T2 Ultra is set to roll out from July which will bring new features and improved performance. There are 3 virtual buttons at the bottom – Home, back, and multitasking. A few Sony branded apps come pre-installed such as Walkman, Sony Music, Sony Select and 3rd party apps namely McAfee Security, TrackID, Big Flix and Box. The device supports landscape mode in homescreen and app drawer mode which is pretty handy.

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Similar to Android device manager, Sony has integrated ‘My Xperia’ service to help locate a lost device and lock or erase it. Considering the big screen, the UI has been optimized for one-hand operation like you can double tap on home button to access the notifications area. Personalization options include pre-installed themes, additionally more Xperia themes can be downloaded from Sony Select. One can customize the Quick settings, select the number of quick settings to be shown in notification panel and edit their order.

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Battery, Storage and Connectivity

Battery – The T2 Ultra packs a 3000 mAh non-removable battery with an impressive battery backup. The phone is optimized so well that the battery lasts longer than expected and in case of drain, users can switch to any of the efficient power saving modes to extend the battery life. In one of our multiple tests, the battery lasted for 2 days 17 hours with a screen on time of 8h 25m. The power management setting tells the estimated battery life and there are some great power saving modes – STAMINA mode, Low battery mode that saves power excessively. The battery backup is the best thing about this phone. However, it took more than 4 hours to charge the phone completely as supplied is a low powered 850mA output USB charger.

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Storage – The phones comes with 8GB of internal storage that is expandable up to 32GB using a micro SD card. However, out of 8GB only 4.33GB of memory is available for the user which can easily run out of space in a while. And then there is NO option to Move Apps to SD Card, you see what a disaster Sony did here! Even Moto E offers this feature.

Supports USB On-the-Go (OTG) and MHL which is an impressive and useful functionality. You just need to plug in your flash drive and the phone will detect it automatically without the need to install any additional app. You can explore the storage using a file explorer app and later unmount the external USB storage from Settings > Storage. This is great for watching movies directly and moving media files seamlessly on the go.

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Connectivity – The T2 Ultra Dual is a Dual-SIM smartphone with dual-standby mode that means both the SIMs work simultaneously and you can make or take calls from either of them. The phone has most connectivity options – HSDPA 42 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, DLNA, NFC, and FM radio with RDS. However, only SIM 1 supports 3G while SIM 2 is capable of only 2G network.

Dual SIM settings – Option to enable or disable either or both the SIM cards, set SIM cards name. There is a Dual SIM reachability function that forward calls to the secondary SIM card when one SIM card is unreachable. You can set custom ringtones for either of the SIMs.

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Sound

Sony has been well known for equipping loud and crisp sound quality system in their phones especially in the good old Walkman series. But you’ll be pretty disappointed with the speaker on T2 Ultra. The speaker is positioned on the back side at the lower bottom with a big grill that fails to impress. In our observation, we noticed something strange and couldn’t believe Sony could indulge in such bad practices.

The big loudspeaker grill on the Xperia T2 Ultra is actually a Gimmick and to validate our point, we shoot a small video that proves it. As you can see in the video, only 10% of the entire speaker portion actually works while rest is completely silent. Remember: “Looks can be deceiving.” Check out and judge yourself!

Performance

T2 Ultra Dual is powered by a 1.4 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and Adreno 305 GPU. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. These hardware specs aren’t great for a phablet but undoubtedly Sony has done a great job with the software optimization on this device, such that the combination of both works well. We didn’t face any lags or performance issues while running multiple apps but at times the device tend to lag when flipping through homescreens (with widgets intact), switching between apps and image previews across gallery wasn’t that quick. Overall, the device offers a satisfactory and good user experience.

Pricing and Verdict

The Sony Xperia T2 Ultra Dual has been launched in India for Rs. 25,990 which certainly isn’t on the lower side considering its mid-range hardware. But the device wins with its 6” display and there are barely any Tier 1 brands offering that big screen at this price. The T2 Ultra is a recommended buy for users looking for a phone with large display, light and slimmer design, long-lasting battery life and Dual-SIM capability. You can grab T2 Ultra Dual for 23,500 approx. through various online stores in India. Comes in 3 colors – White, Purple and Black.

Gionee Elife E7 is also a great buy if display isn’t your priority and you’re willing to spend few thousand bucks more on a smartphone with better configuration and impressive camera.

PROS:

  • Good Build Quality
  • Extremely Lightweight and slim design
  • Impressive 6-inch IPS LCD Triluminos display with Mobile BRAVIA engine 2
  • Amazing battery backup – 3000 mAh battery and efficient power saving modes
  • Multi-coloured Notification light
  • USB On The Go (OTG) support
  • Near field communication (NFC)
  • Dual-SIM (dual stand-by)
  • Dedicated Camera key
  • Glove Mode

CONS:

  • Primary camera is average
  • Poor Front Camera
  • Big Loudspeaker produces low sound
  • One can’t move apps to SD card
  • Inserting and Removing SIM card trays is pretty difficult and annoying
  • SIM 2 lacks 3G support
  • Non scratch-resistant display
  • Low quality earphones
  • Non-removable battery
  • Voice calls quality is average
  • Comes with 850mA USB charger

Do let us know your views about the device! 🙂

Mayur

Mayur Agarwal is the founder and editor-in-chief of WebTrickz. As a Technology enthusiast and an Internet addict, he loves sharing useful How To’s and Tips & Tricks. Follow him @mayurjango on Twitter where he is extremely active.

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