Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review: The Biggest Selfie-Centric Smartphone

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Soon after it launched the Xperia C4, Sony launched its new selfie-centric device the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual in the Indian market at the price of Rs. 29,990. The Xperia C4 was also a selfie-smartphone, but the new Xperia C5 Ultra Dual apparently makes the C4 look terrible as the latest one comes with a drastic improvement not only in terms of camera but in all other aspects.

However, when you look at the new Xperia C5 Ultra Dual, it's definitely not a small or a medium sized phone. The size of the device can be intimidating at times. The 6-inch device is, can impress a lot of people with its capabilities.

After using it for a while, GizBot unraveled a couple of things about it. We, for sure, wouldn't be interested in keeping this knowledge to ourselves. Therefore, here is a full review of the latest Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Dual smartphone.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Design

Most of you might prefer the dimension of the Xperia C4 (5.5-inch) instead of the massive 6-inch of the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual. But there are quite a lot of benefits of having a larger display as well. Let's ignore the differences for a while.

Design-wise, the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual is a great device and the best part is that you will hardly see any bezel on the sides of the phone, which practically makes it look more elegant. Even the top and bottom bezels' size are kept to the minimum.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

At first the device might look abnormally tall but if you look at the thickness and the say it sits at your hand, you will surely admire it. The Xperia C5 Ultra Dual measures 164.2 x 79.6 x 8.2 mm and since it has a larger size and a metal frame its weight bumps upto 187grams, which is still not the heaviest of the smartphones we have seen so far. What is interesting about the weight is that it is a balanced phone. If you old the phone by the tip from one end and try the same from the other end, you won't find any weight difference.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

The front face of the device hosts two speakers, the top one is dedicated to the phone calls and the bottom one for music and ringtone. Just between the display and the top speaker grille, you will find a "Sony" logo, which is accompanied by camera and LED Flash on right side and LED sensor on the other side.

On rotating the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual, you will see an embarrassing plastic panel, which doesn't fall inside the metal frame leaving a considerable vulnerability for damages to the phone. Even the transition from the plastic back panel to the metal frame is not perfect. The glossy finish plastic back panel looks pretty empty with just a small camera module on the top of the panel. Just below that there is an LED flash under which is a microphone as well. Obviously, you will also see the NFC, Sony and Xperia logos on the top, center and bottom of the device respectively.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Talking about the sides of the phone, the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual has ample negative space on the sides due to its unnatural height. Anyway, as usual, the right side of the phone houses round power/lock key, just below that there is a volume rocker and at the bottom, there is a dedicated button for taking pictures. The left hand side hosts a two Nano SIM card and a microSD card tray, which is underneath the rubbery plastic latch. On the top side, you will see a 3.5mm headphone jack and at the bottom side, you will see a primary microphone and a microUSB port. All the sides of the smartphone is curved and the device has sleek but rounded corners, which perfectly is coherent to the design of the phone.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

One of the things that might sound really upsetting is the fact that unlike most of the Sony smartphones which come with a waterproof build quality, this one doesn't have that feature.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Display

The display of the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Dual is one of the things that will not fail to impress you in any way. The bezel-less sides of the display looks gorgeous and probably, this is one of the major reasons why the device looks extra elegant.

However, the 6 inch screen featuring device is not quite an easy size to play with. Boasting a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (Full HD) the display is pretty crisp and clear. Although, 367ppi pixel density is not that great but still it turns out to be perfect for the handset. The display also has a good viewing angles, but from extreme angles, the display tends to change hues.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Due to the enhanced brightness level, you can easily use the device under the direct light of the sun. Using the company's proprietary Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine the device gives a rather better viewing experience. However, if you don't like it, you always have the option of switching the option off. The screen is very responsive as well and Sony has also offered a glove mode this time. For personalizing the display, users have the benefit of adjusting the white balance of the display manually as well.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Power and Performance

Unlike most of the highly priced smartphones with Qualcomm chipsets that are being launched in the Indian market lately, the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra uses Mediatek MT6752 SoC (which is also used by the Xperia C4) that pack eight Cortex-A53 CPU cores tuned in at 1.7GHz. This is a homogenous architecture which means that it is capable of working simultaneously. To handle the graphics, the chipset comes with a Mali-T760MP2 GPU that is quite enough to handle a lot of games. Add to that 2GB of RAM, which helps for multi-tasking and gives speed to the device.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

As we used the device, it didn't disappoint us. Moreover, gaming was fun in this device due to the large display. However, we experienced occasional lags as we tried to run a lot of apps while playing Asphalt 8: Airborne. So, if you are not an avid graphic intense gamer, you might want to overlook this aspect and opt for this device.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

As far as the benchmark numbers are concerned, since AnTuTu is highly used and read by most, you are looking at the device that scores 43438 on the same tool.

Most of you must be thinking why Sony chose to use the MediaTek chipset instead of Qualcomm. But I found MediaTek chipset going pretty well and smooth with the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual. You should probably consider the pricing of the device as well in this particular case.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Software

Alright, this is where things get boring. No offence to the Sony fans but quite a lot of people find the company's UI very unpleasant, including me. Despite using Android Lollipop 5.0 under the UI, Sony doesn't make the device software-wise an impressive one. But considering the company's older smartphones, the UI has been largely tweaked in the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual. It's quite close to stock Android and as a result there isn't any lag when navigating through the menus. The notification bar and the app drawer too remain similar to stock Android UI.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Along with the company's proprietary apps, Sony has also bundled quite a few tools that will help users manage the entire phone. Features like resizing the entire interface to a smaller size and the ability to move it towards the left or right, double tapping the on-screen home key to bring down the notification panel, etc. are very interesting and handy. Moreover, even editing the selection of toggles is available with a shortcut straight from the notification window.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Camera

Besides the display, Sony's main highlight of the device is the camera. To remind you, there are two 13 MP cameras used in this device - on the rear and front. As it is, Sony is great with dealing with the camera modules used in its phones. Specifically talking about the 13 Megapixel shooter at the back, it gives an amazing performance with the apt light condition. The colors appear vivid and it also manages to soften the sharp colors to a soothing one. Since the device's dynamic range is very efficient, you will hardly find any use of the HDR mode on the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

However, what I noticed with the device is that compared to most of the new smartphones, the shutter speed of this particular device is pretty slow because of which taking a shot of moving objects are quite impossible. However, still objects can be shot flawlessly with a stable hand and if you are a manual camera user, than it can even shot better with the right settings.

Low-light imaging in the smartphone camera is not one of Sony's forte. The Xperia C5 Ultra Dual struggles to shoot images under low-light conditions. However, if you need the images to be clicked anyhow, that's when the flash comes to your service. Not that it will give the best of the image but still it does give you far better image than the one shot without using it.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Even the video recording is up to the mark as it is limited to 1080p at a frame rate of 30 fps. However, it's not bad either, because the videos we took were pretty decent (and anyway who is going to use it to film a movie or a documentary with a phone).

But things get better if you are looking at the front facing 13MP shooter. I've got to tell you that it is one of the best selfie snappers, I have used so far. The detailing is impeccable and the colors are true to nature.

Both the camera features Exmor RS sensors. But the rear camera is equipped with a 25mm wide sensor with f/2.0 aperture value, which shoots images 4:3 ratio up to a maximum resolution of 4,096 x 3,072 pixels. The front camera uses a 22mm wide f/2.2 lens because of which you will get the pleasure of taking group selfies easily. There is a single-LED flash beside both camera modules.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Talking about the camera interface, Sony has not made any changes to it. It is quite similar to what you normally see in other smartphones from the company.

As we shot the images we were pleased with the daylight shooting with the rear camera and the performance of the selfie camera. Leaving these to aspects, other features are not much of a "WOW" ones.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Storage and Connectivity

The Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Dual comes with a 16GB of on board memory but after you download apps, you will be hardly left with half or less than half of it for other stuff like music and videos. However, the microSD card slot can take up to 200GB of additional memory unit, so no complain against it.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Obviously, as expected, there are quite a lot of connectivity options offered by Sony on this phone. It comes with 3G, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, microUSB port, 4G LTE (bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 28 and 40 that includes LTE bands for India), OTG, support that lets you connect flash drives. Moreover, the device is a Dual SIM supported one and comes with NFC chipset as well.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Battery

This department is again a bit disappointing. Since the device is a monstrous in size, the 2,930mAh battery used by the Xperia C5 Ultra Dual is something that doesn't tend to satisfy most users.

The battery is largely consumed by the 6-inch full HD display. While we used it, playing a lot of video and listening to a lot of song, the battery gave roughly 9 hours of life to the phone. On standby mode the device will barely last 2 and a half day.

The battery takes quite a lot of time to charge as well. Sony could have either offered a better battery pack to the device or a quick charging facility.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Verdict

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Dual has both positive and negative features in it. The first thing that I liked the most was the display quality which offered great gaming experiencing. Though, most wouldn't agree with us, but the MediaTek chipset suites the device quite well as it does offer a decent performance. However, it could have used an extra GB or RAM.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review

Camera department received reactions of both admiration and disappointment from us. The selfies camera is what makes the device special while the rear camera was not the best that we have seen, but it wasn't the worse either. This is somewhat okay for an average user, but definitely not meant for a pro camera oriented smartphone lovers.

The Sony Xperia C5 Ultra also fails to impress us in the battery department. The battery life not close to the standards of the current market and despite its power management tool, it doesn't fetch a mileage to compete with the smartphones falling in the same price range.

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