The six-inch handset that was widely expected to be the T4 Ultra is being launched as the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra, along with a similarly priced M5.
The C5 Ultra is expected to be launched in the next two weeks in India at a price of Rs 29,000 and will kick off a phablet war with the just-released Samsung Galaxy A8.
The C5 Ultra comes with a 1.7 GHz Octa-core MediaTek MTK6752 processor with LTE, 2 GB RAM and 16 GB of Internal memory. It also supports up to 200 GB of MicroSD card memory.
It is not clear whether the display has Gorilla Glass protection or not.
Galaxy A8, priced around Rs 31,000, has the advantage of having a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display.
In terms of screen resolution, both phones are equal, but the A8 comes has a bigger battery — at 3.05 Ah vs 2.93 Ah battery on C5 Ultra.
However, in some respects, the Xperia C5 Ultra clearly outdoes the Samsung Galaxy A8. For example, against a 5-MP front shooter of the Galaxy A8, the C5 Ultra comes with a 13 MP front camera.
Similarly, the Xperia C5 Ultra features a ‘bezel-less’ design. The size bezels of the C5 Ultra are less than 1 mm thick (0.8 mm), making them look as if they are not there. Bezel less designs are a major design challenge that companies have been trying to solve for years.
“We made it bigger without getting bigger,” said Sony on the official announcement of the C5 Ultra.
“With Xperia C5 Ultra, we’ve managed some smartphone magic. We’ve managed to maximise the display without adding bulk to your phone. With a wafer-thin bezel, Xperia C5 Ultra is almost all screen. Together with a cool aluminium frame and an ever so slightly curved back, it’s a smartphone that feels as good as it looks.”
Another phone that will be launched by Sony in India over the next two weeks is the Xperia M5, a kind of affordable flagship. At Rs 52,500, Sony’s current flagship model, the Xperia Z3+, is arguably the worst phone in India to purchase from a value for money perspective.
Despite being among the most expensive phones in India, the Xperia Z3+ does not even come with a quad-HD display.
Not surprisingly, Sony’s not exactly rocking the charts at the top-end of the market.
The Xperia M5 will seek to do amends as it offers largely similar specifications at a more palatable price of around 32,000 or thereabouts. These specifications include 3 GB of RAM and a powerful Helio X10 processor.
See the M5 introduction video from Sony below
Of course, it must be kept in mind that Sony’s launch prices are usually very different from the on-the-ground prices.
For example, the price Xperia M4 fell to Rs 21,700 from Rs 25,000 in about a month after launch. Similarly, the Xperia C4 fell to Rs 25,000 in two weeks after it was launched at Rs 29,500.
As a result, the sticker price of the M5 will be around Rs 33,000 and that of the C5 Ultra at about Rs 30,000.
The C4 Ultra and the M5, like the Samsung Galaxy A8 and A7, are attempts by these ‘premium’ brands to hold on to declining markets shares in the price-sensitive mid-market.
Samsung has been largely successful in regaining its share in the upper-mid range with its A5 and A7, and looks set to repeat the performance with its A8.
However, Sony’s C4 and M4 have not been the kind of success that Samsung’s A5 and A7 have been, in terms of sales.
However, with the C5 Ultra, Sony’s likely to find more going in its favor. The company’s previous 6-inch phone — T2 Ultra — is still selling, about a year-and-a-half after it was launched.
The T2 Ultra was launched at a price of Rs 26,000 and even today, it is retailing at Rs 18,500.
Part of the reason is that no other MNC vendor focuses on the 6-inch market.
Secondly, Sony has a reputation for excellent build quality and refinement, which becomes crucial at this size point.