The Sony Xperia Tablet Z is Sony’s third real attempt at a high-end Android tablet, and it seems that the saying ‘third time’s lucky’ is true, as this really is a good tablet. We spent some time with the 10.1-inch device at MWC 2013, here’s our Sony Xperia Tablet Z hands-on review. See also: What's the best tablet PC?
Sony has had two attempts at making a high-end Android tablet. The previous Xperia tablets weren’t up to much and became very much one of the crowd – lacking style and substance. We’re happy to report that the Sony Xperia Tablet Z goes a long way to correcting that. It’s still not head and shoulders above the competition, but now at the very least, Sony has a tablet that is in the running. Here’s our Sony Xperia Tablet Z hands-on review.
During the time we spent with the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, we were very impressed with it. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z very much completes Sony’s mission of bring all of its products up to speed with the competition.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z feels extremely good in your hands. It’s a product that screams ‘Sony’, in terms of its design and build quality...and that’s a good thing, as most of us still think of Sony as an industry leader and a maker of sexy products. In our opinion it’s the best looking Android tablet on the market.
The tablet feels well built in-hand, it’s slim and suave. Its full glass front and a high-end plastic (if there is such a thing) rear give the tablet a very minimalistic look. The fact that it looks like it has been designed with one eye on the rest of the Sony’s new, black, slim products is a good thing in my opinion.
One area that is a little disappointing is its screen ppi. In a field where bigger really is better this is an area where Sony could have really gone to town and produced a mega-HD tablet. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z only has a ppi of 224, which is a long way of the current screen kings, the Nexus 10, which boasts 299ppi. That said, the screen *is* good and the sample images that were on the device looked great (as they always do).
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z comes with 16GB of internal memory, and has a microSD slot which gives users expandable memory of up to 64GB. The tablet also packs, 2GB of RAM and is powered by a Qualcomm 1.5GHz quad-core processor. What this translates into in real usage is a tablet that is incredibly nippy and responsive. Apps flew open for us and there was little-to-no lag when closing them and immediately opening separate apps.
There’s an element of pedigree about the Sony Xperia Tablet Z’s cameras too. The font is a pretty high specced (for a front camera) 2.2MP camera. The rear is an 8.1MP camera that took super sharp images and videos of unwilling MWC-ers for us. Although people don’t really use tablet cameras, this is still a nice attribute to have.
We were shown a couple of cool new features that the Sony Xperia Tablet Z has based on NFC technology. What Sony seems to be really championing is the touch to beam feature. We saw a demo where a song could be sent to a sound bar by connected the two device’s NFC chips. Essentially what the NFC technology does is set up an immediately authenticated Bluetooth connection between the two devices. The tablet can also mirror content to a Sony smart TV by touching the NFC chips of the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and a new Sony smart TV. It’s a very nice feature to have if you own a Sony smart TV. It has to be said that the NFC didn’t connect first time (when does it ever?), so be prepared to have to have a few attempts at this.
We’re expecting the price to be at least at the £400 mark, although this wasn’t confirmed. This puts it at the upper end of the market with the iPad, which will inevitably hamstring its popularity as the masses seem to like the appeal of the cheaper Android tablets such as the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire Pro. However, we can see the Sony Xperia Tablet Z taking a big chunk out of the ‘full-size’ tablet market.