Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Review – A Big Improvement

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It didn’t take a year for Sony to launch and release the 6-inch Xperia C5 Ultra (available in Philippines for P18k price) after the announcement of Xperia C4. Boasting a very thin bezel, new looks and upgraded 13MP duo cameras, let’s take an in-depth look to the brand new Xperia C5 Ultra phablet through this review.

Design and build

The design of the Sony Xperia C5 has departed big from its siblings. The Xperia C5 Ultra easily grabs the attention thanks to the thin bezel around the display which tips at 0.8 mm on each side.

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As expected, the Xperia C5 Ultra is not as easy to handle as to its smaller siblings. But because of the very thin bezel and slim profile, one-handed operation is still possible for some common tasks.

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Complementing the highly efficient screen-to-body ratio of Xperia C5 is its rounded metal-ish edges and glass-coated back. The Xperia C5 feels solid yet light and thin as a phablet. The Xperia C5 Ultra is the only C-series that feels premium as the Xperia Z lineup.

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Available in three colors, the white is the only variant to fully wrapped both front and back of the Xperia C5 with white paint job. The black and mint have black facade.

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The Sony Xperia C5 Ultra is armed with signature Sony buttons at the right side: power, volume rocker and shutter keys. Left side houses the flap door which gives access to the nano sim tray and microSD slot. The 3.5mm audio jack is located on top while the microUSB port is found at the bottom side.


Sony went big with the Xperia C5 Ultra’s display. The phablet packs a 6-inch IPS LCD with home-brewed Bravia Engine 2 treatment in Full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels) producing a 367 ppi density.

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xperia c5 (left), xperia c4 (right)

Quality-wise, the sharpness is intact in all areas. The screen is bright in all conditions even in outdoors. The only complaint we have is the color accuracy of the display which is washed out or unsaturated. We noticed that strong colors such as yellow and red are not so vivid as compared to the Xperia C4’s display. We didn’t get the output we wanted despite configuring the display settings to vivid and Bravia Engine 2 options.


The Xperia C5 Ultra features a duo of 13MP shooters paired with LED flash. Like the Xperia C4, the main shooter remains at 13MP and is capable of shooting up to 1080p FHD movie.

We were surprised that the 13MP camera of Xperia C5 performed miles better than its mid-ranger siblings such as Xperia M4 and C4. The resolved detail is impressive; detail remain sharp and visible when zooming in. The white balance is not the best from its class, but most shots have spot-on color accuracy and exposure.

sony xperia c5 ultra review camera flash
flash performance is good for a single led flash

During night and low light shooting, Xperia C5 was able to keep up by producing well-lit images. Color saturation is OK but brightness is definitely top-notch.

The new 13MP front-facing camera produces better detail preservation and perhaps has one of the most wide-angle lens in Xperia phones these days. The only issue we’ve encountered is the inaccurate white balance, but that can be treated with few software tricks and Instagram filters.

Video quality of the 1080p movie of Xperia C5 is great. We like more the color saturation and sharpness Xperia C5 video when compared to Nexus 6. Max resolution is 1080p@30fps.

Software and experience

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra boots Android 5.0 Lollipop skinned in Sony’s custom UI. The overall layout is very close to the stock Android Lollipop. The home screen feels clean and flat with icons and texts blending well on the preloaded set of wallpapers and themes. We didn’t find the animated home screen theme similar in Xperia Z3+, but Xperia C5 is not left out in customization options as there are tons of downloadable themes accessible right in your device.

ui software sony xperia c5 ultra

If you’re used handling smaller smartphones and new to the Xperia C5, Sony has thrown a software feature that enables you to resize the screen and accommodate tasks thru one-hand use. You can activate it by swiping from bottom left or right edge of the screen diagonally upward. The resized window can be moved from left or right.

one hand operation window xperia c5

I personally like the layout of Sony’s Xperia UI even on the big screen such on the Xperia C5. The only thing I am greatly looking forward to see on the phablets of Sony is the multi-window support.

Performance and benchmark

The Sony Xperia C5 Ultra packs MediaTek 6752 chip with octacore CPU clocked at 1.7GHz paired with Mali-T760M graphics, 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal expandable up to 200GB microSD card.

benchmark xperia c5 ultra

The same chip is utilized on the Xperia C4, so we know that it is no slouch in terms of actual performance and benchmark tests.

Benchmark results of Xperia C5 Ultra:

  • AnTuTu 64bit – 46439
  • Basemark OS II – 957
  • GeekBench 3 – 801 single, 4148 multicore

Boot up speed is average ticking around 40 seconds, it beats the Zenfone 2 (which has the slowest boot up time in our entire tests) by several seconds.

Running games and web browsing experience is smooth. Jumping from one app to another is fluid. The overall performance of Xperia C5 is close to the latest flagships in the market, thanks to the reliable output of MediaTek 6752.

So far, we didn’t encounter any critical stuttering or heating problems during our entire review period. But we will let you know if we happen to encounter one.


We are bit disappointed with the front mono speaker (bottom part only as top grille is for earpiece) on the Xperia C5 Ultra. The sound volume is lower than the Xperia C4 and the audio quality is tinny. The Xperia C5 Ultra is the only Xperia we’ve tested that produced mediocre speaker output.


Sony Xperia C5 Ultra, like the Xperia Z3+, features a non-user replaceable 2930mAh battery. Overall battery life is good with rated battery life of up to 2 days with moderate use (web browsing, push notifications, SMS, half an call and music playback). Our heavy use could last from morning until midnight without tapping the power source.

battery xperia c5

Stamina mode extends your battery life for several hours or days depending on your standby time. Ultra Stamina mode offers longer battery life but it will turn off some vital features such as connectivity. However, you can still receive/send calls and texts.

Verdict and Value

From plastic to premium, Sony Xperia C-series has greatly evolved seen through the new Xperia C5 Ultra. The Xperia C5 brought premium design and more solid body to the series. The 13MP camera duo sensors are also miles ahead from its predecessor in terms of quality. And despite the several improvements, Sony didn’t skim on other vital specs of Xperia C5 such as on internal hardware and software experience.

I feel that the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra has the most value for your money smartphone/phablet in the market right now. All these improvements that Sony made are worth checking out thru Xperia C5.

Currently, the only way to purchase the Xperia C5 Ultra is thru grey and online markets. Some stores offer it around P18-19k for both dual and single SIM variants. We don’t have news yet regarding the availability from the Sony Philippines store.

What we like on Xperia C5

  • Premium design and build
  • Decent battery life
  • Sharp and clear 13MP camera

What we don’t like on Xperia C5

  • Speaker is tinny
  • Non-user replaceable battery
  • Display is slightly washed out

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra specs

6-inch 1080p FHD IPS display, 367ppi
8.2mm thin, 187g weight
Scratch-resistant glass
Mediatek 6752 octacore chip, 1.7GHz Cortex A53 CPU
16GB internal, microSD card up to 128GB
13MP camera, HDR, 1080p video, LED flash
13MP selfie camera, 1080p video, LED flash
Dual nano SIM, 4G LTE, WiFi a, Bt 4.1, NFC, FM Radio, GPS, ANT+
Android 5.0 Lollipop
White, Black, Mint green
P18, 700 for dual 4G as of August 31, 2015

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Hi! I'm Jade, an Electronics and Communications Engineer and tech enthusiast. I am the editor-in-chief here at ManilaShaker and on our YouTube channel. If you have questions, suggestions or anything we could talk about you can find me Instagram and Twitter @jadejardinico.