By Stephen Schenck | January 22, 2014 11:18 AM
For the past couple weeks now, we’ve been catching signs of a new version or two of Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra phablet, including a WiFi-only edition of the handset. It’s not too often we see a manufacturer go down this route, and it really got us thinking about the Z Ultra’s possible utility as a tablet – with that 6.4-inch screen, it was most of the way there, anyway. Earlier this week we saw signs of the device surface on a Sony website, and today the new model goes official – though not exactly how we hoped.
In the first place, Sony only announced the new WiFi Z Ultra, model SGP412JP, for Japan. We’ve also seen it as just SGP412 without that JP suffix, so while it hasn’t been confirmed for additional nations just yet, we’re hopeful that more are coming.
Then there’s the pricing; while this version of the Z Ultra is much more affordable than the cellular-enabled Z Ultra, which sells for around $680 unlocked, it’s still a far cry removed from being a budget tablet – in Japan, at least, the WiFi Z Ultra will sell for what works out to about $450. If it ever does go international, that figure may change, but the takeaway for us is that it’s not significantly cheaper than the $500 10.1-inch Xperia Tablet Z.
At $400, we might be a little more excited, but maybe we’re being too picky; what do you think? Is this new model a smart buy for someone who wants a hyper-portable tablet, or is Sony aiming for a market that just doesn’t exist?