Sony Xperia Tablet Z: the one to beat

  • Sony's slim 10,1-inch Xperia Tablet Z
  • In June, Sony release its Xperia Z Ultra smartphone
Date:28 July 2013 Author: Alan Duggan Tags:, , , , , , ,

Having fallen in love with its smartphone sibling, the classy and amazingly resilient Xperia Z, we were keen to find out whether the slim 10,1-inch Sony Xperia Tablet Z lived up to the hype. It didn’t disappoint. In fact, we’ll stick our necks out and say it’s the best Android tablet that’s landed in our office. By a country mile.

Okay, let’s talk size and design. For starters, it comes with the same OmniBalance livery as the phone, and at 6,9 mm, it’s not much thicker. It weighs in at a distinctly modest 495 g. Available in LTE, it’s the first tablet to run on Qualcomm’s formidable Snapdragon S4 Pro asynchronous quad core processor.

If you’re averse to coddling your mobile electronics, you should know that the Tablet Z is no wimp: Sony claim the highest levels of water resistance ever delivered in a tablet, making it near-as-dammit immune to spills and splashes (their promotional video actually shows a guy reading his tablet in the bath). And yes, apparently that brilliantly sharp HD WUXGA display will indeed withstand a couple of hard knocks. (Did we drop it on to a concrete floor to verify this? Naah – we chickened out.)

Ah yes, the display. Powered by Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, it delivers excellent colour reproduction (especially out there among the animals and flowers). Some critics note that even with a resolution of 1 920×1 200, it lacks the pixel intensity of such rivals as the iPad and Nexus 10; we defy you to tell the difference.

Aside from 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity options, you get Near Field Communication (NFC), which allows you to transfer content seamlessly from HD tablet to TV, from tablet to speaker, or phone to tablet, simply by touching them together. Then there’s the universal IR remote, which allows you to control your TV and other Sony devices directly from the tablet.

Battery life is impressive. After a weekend of fairly heavy use, including a long session on YouTube, the tablet still had enough charge for a Monday morning catch-up. Nice tablet, excellent buy.

Specifications
Display: 10,1-inch HD 1 920×1 200p WUXGA with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2
Sound: S-Force front surround 3D
Connectivity: LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication (NFC)
Dimensions: 6,9 mm thick, 10,1-inch display, weighs 495 g
Ruggedness: Dust- and water-resistant (IP55 & IP57), durable glass display
Processor: Snapdragon S4 Pro with 1,5 GHz asynchronous quad CPUs and 2 GB RAM
Cameras: 8 MP rear-facing camera featuring Exmor R for mobile and Superior Auto, plus 2 MP HD front-facing camera
Memory: 16 GB internal memory plus optional microSD card (up to 32 GB)
Battery “Stamina” mode to improve standby time

And if you thought that sounded good…
Sony Mobile recently announced “the next revolution” in premium large-screen Android smartphones, the 6,4-inch Xperia Z Ultra – a waterproof, ultra-slim handset (we absolutely refuse to use the term “phablet”) incorporating a full HD Triluminos display powered by Sony’s latest X-Reality picture engine. Here’s the really exciting bit: the Ultra features Qualcomm’s blisteringly fast Snapdragon 800 processor with 2,2 GHz quad-core CPUs, 4G LTE and HD voice. Pricing and availability details are not yet available.