Sony Xperia Z Ultra – Renewed Sweetness with the Lollipop Update

Over the weekend we’ve finally jumped the gun and updated the quickly ageing 4.4.4 Kitkat of Katsy’s Z Ultra into one of the very first iterations of Lollipop 5.0.2 – an official OTA update from Sony.

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It wasn’t completely smooth sailing as the initial configuration ended up with the ‘Phone’ app in a continuous wakelock draining the battery faster than it had been charged…

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Not to mention the consequent heat being generated over the upper back portion of the device. See the temperature log below… its as if the device had contracted a fever!

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After hours of scouring information from forums and cures to the wakelock problem, we resorted to enacting a factory reset on the device, something that could’ve been forgone with the OTA update… however, since this is an entirely new system and not an incremental update, a factory reset is a well documented second step after updating. So dont forget to do this if you experience any sort of problem similar to the above.

Now that the battery has stabilized, it is very pleasing to see all the updates on the UI that came with Lollipop. We have a Nexus around here so we’re quite familiar with some of them already.

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An immediate change is visible with the lockscreen with its updated clock widget and an additional shortcut into the dialer apart from the one to the camera. Notifications also now appear here, immediately visible, swipeable, and double-tappable into.

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The homescreen now has a 6×5 grid and the notification dropdown has been updated to the concealed quicksettings style accessible by a double swipe downwards. This can be modified to show settings pertinent to the user and this is also where you get a shortcut into the settings as well as profiles where multiple users can log into the device with different configurations.

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Material design is prevalent across the entire ecosystem visibly so with the integrated apps such as Sketch and Movie Creator. The notification toolbar also turns a bright blue when apps that are running have not been optimized for Lollipop code… its a bit weird but a good indicator nonetheless.

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The overall speed of the device feels to have been cranked up and the experience is very much like a new phone altogether. Much more settings have been integrated into the system and things such as my Xperia and even a White Balance slider have made an appearance with this build.

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Apps can also now be transferred into the SD card, a feature that was with pre Jellybean builds that had been all but forgotten…

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A welcome addition especially since we’re dealing with a 16GB configuration and apps nowadays simply seems to grow in size by the day.

All the small UI animation updates appear to be very appealing especially since, after customizing the layout of the homescreens into a sort of right-justified one, Katsy wanted to then customize all her other devices for them to share a similar look and feel.

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So if you’ve got a Z Ultra of your own, hit the system updates because it is, without doubt, a very good official firmware upgrade! If not visible, you can always use the PC Companion which may just see the update faster than OTA.

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