Xperia series is the most successful series so far for the brand Sony, and further Xperia Z series is the one that took Sony to the extreme high level with devices like Xperia Z, ZR, ZL and the most recent one Xperia Z Ultra having the world’s best smartphone display technology with 6.4inch screen. When it comes to tablet, Sony still stands tall with amazing and powerful Xperia Z Tablet, the one we are going to review today. The tablet is based on Sony’s flagship smartphone Xperia Z, very similar in design, pretty powerful and sleek in design. We have had few devices from different brands in past that put a strong first impression such as Nexus One, iPad 2, HTC One series or the iPhone 4. Xperia Tablet Z is one of the devices from this category that appeared quite impressive when we saw it for the first time.
Though Sony has released few tablets in past such as Xperia Tablet S and Tablet P but that failed to compete with other high end tablets like Apple’s iPad packed with innovative features and decent screen. But this time, the gap is filled with Xperia Tablet Z having amazing 10.1-inch display with powerful processor and RAM. In fact, with this Tablet Sony has given direct competition to not only Apple, but other manufacturers as well such as Samsung or Google’s Nexus. Let’s find out what are the aspects that makes Xperia Tablet Z such strong competitor for other Tablets but before that have a look at the highlights of this device:
Xperia Tablet Z Specifications:
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, (Android 4.2 update already rolled out)
- 10.1-inch HD WUXGA Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 and Gorilla Glass protection
- 1920 x 1200 pixels with 228 ppi
- Waterproof and Dust resistant (IP55 & IP57)
- 1.5 GHz asynchronous quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 8 Megapixel rear camera with Exmor R for mobile sensor
- 2.2 Megapixel Auto plus front-facing camera
- 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL, GPS / GLONASS and NFC
- 16GB / 32GB built-in storage, expandable up to 32GB using microSD
- 6000 mAh Battery with STAMINA mode
Design, Packaging and keys:
As I said above, you will be amazed in the first look itself. With just 6.9 mm in thickness it is very slim and sleek in design. It is even thinner than the iPad fourth generation having 9.4mm. This is said to be the thinnest tablet so far in the range of 10-inch tablets. Usually 10.1 inch tablets use to be bit difficult to carry but weighing just 495 grams Xperia Z Tablet is not one of them. You can carry it in your hands comfortably. I must say Sony engineers have really worked hard to pack in so much powerful stuffs in such a sleek packaging. Now coming to its design, the tablet comes with the same OmniBalance design just like Xperia Z smartphone, having rectangular shape with rounded corners.
The tablet is packed with a premium quality matte and gloss black plastic material at the rear and borders while entire front appearance is covered with Glass. Both front and rear sides of the tablet are completely flat unlike other tablets having curved finishing. No matter if your hands are wet, you get a better and comfortable grip to the device, won’t feel slippery. The unite we are testing is completely black in color with just a silver colored aluminum power button. Being a Waterproof device all ports covered with flaps protecting it from water, hence no ports are visible and that makes the tablet look more attractive. Over all I loved the design of this tablet. No matter it is kept on your tablet or docked, Xperia Tablet Z feels rich. Now lets find out the key placements.
At the front of the tablet, as I said, we have a 10.1-inch TFT Gorilla Glass display surrounded by Black bezel. There is a 2.2 Megapixel front camera on the top and Sony logo at top left of the screen.
At the bottom we have a speaker at bottom left, followed by Micro USB port which is covered with Flap. On the bottom right we have yet another speaker followed by MicroSD Card slot and Sim Card slot which are also covered with a flap.
On the right side of the tablet Sony has just placed yet another speaker at the bottom, while on the left of the device we have one more speaker at the bottom (Yes, total 4 speakers on the device), Volume rockers and the silver color Power Button which is also used for screen lock. The Power key seems very good on the fully black colored shiny Tablet device. Above this power button we have a 3.5mm Headphone jack covered with flap.
There is nothing on the top of the device. While at the rear we get a 8 Megapixel Exmor R for mobile sensor powered camera at right top corner with Xperia Logo at the middle and NFC icon at the bottom.
Over all Xperia Z Tablet design is very clean and attractive with proper key placements but I only faced problem with the 2 speakers which are placed at the right and left bottom. When I hold the tablet for watching Movies, the speakers get covered with my palm. However there are still two speakers left, hence not a big problem. In addition, it is good that ports are covered with flaps to protect them from water or any other liquid getting inside the device and damaging it, but removing them every time you want to connect jack or USB creates a question for their durability. Overall I like the design. If you look at the tablet from a distance, it will appear you like a cut piece of slate.
Also the waterproof technology makes the tablet much more better than others. During the testing i used it several times for watching movies in rain sitting in garden. It was a great fun. I found no harm to the device from rain or from the dust. According to the tests we did in the last week, I can even say Xperia Tablet Z can even be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for half an hour. Trust me, this tablet can handle this situation comfortably without any problems. This Waterproof and dust resistance packaging and clean design makes Xperia Tablet Z quite decent and obviously separates it from other Android Tablets available in the market.
Screen / Display:
Sony is already one of well known brands for making high end televisions with their expertise in screen/display. They used some of those technologies to make the display for Tablet Z as well. The device features a 10.1 inch Full HD WUXGA Display with their own Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2. It is protected with Gorilla Glass protection offering you better durability. The resolution we get from this display is 1920 x 1200 pixels with 228 ppi which makes your Videos or Pictures much sharper and brighter with vibrant colors. At the same it is one of the best screen for reading Ebooks as well as web browsing. However, if we compared the screen with iPad’s 264 ppi Retina display or Nexus 10 Tablet’s 300 ppi, obviously it is not as good but still far much better than hundreds of other Android Tablets including Samsung.
We watched some Full HD 1080p Videos and High Quality images, the result was amazing. Z Tablet’s HD screen produces accurate colors and renders text and images very well. Also it offers very good viewing angle from any side of the tablet. You may face a bit difficulty using the tab under direct sunlight, but yet I found it much comfortable compared to others. Only the problem is it picks up our finger prints very quickly but if you have any Cleaning Solution like the one called Antec Advance 3X then there won’t be any problem.
Operating System and UI:
Sony Xperia Tablet Z comes running on Android 4.1.2 JellyBean operating system. Sony has already started rolling out the new Android 4.2.2 Update but it has yet not reached to our device in India. So, it’s a kind of good news that we are ready to get new firmware probably with new features and improvements. However getting such a powerful and high end Tablet with Android 4.1 out of box was bit surprising but anyways, we will get it running soon on JellyBean 4.2. But still the device performs very well on the fully optimized operating system. Sony has also done few customization to the OS which brings Application shortcut bar at the top left of the screen which is accessible from all home pages. We can add upto any four apps to this bar. There is also a Task Switcher button provided at the bottom of the display next to Home button, just like we have in other Xperia Z smartphones that allows you to switch between opened apps quickly.
There is also a Quick Access button as well as a Universal Remote shortcut at the middle of the bottom bar that provides you direct access to several utilities. Notification area is provided at the bottom right of the display like all other Android tablets but it is said to be moved to right top of the screen after upgrading to Android 4.2.2 update. Sony has also provided a set of lock screens just like Xperia Z Smartphone with Walkman and Camera shortcut. The screen can be unlocked by sliding your finder up and down (by default) but you can even change it to unlock by double tap from the settings. By doing so you don’t need to press the power key every time.
Talking about Notification area, it gives you direct access to Airplane Mode, Brightness, Enable / Disable Auto Rotation, but in order to turn on/off Bluetooth or WiFi, you need to enter the main Settings Area. Apps launcher is provided at the top right of the screen along with a Plus button that allows access to customization stuffs from where you can pick Widgets, Wallpapers, Themes etc for customizing your Home Screens.
By default Xperia Tablet Z comes with five home screens. For customization you can choose from built-in 8 different themes with several wallpaper and widgets. Sony has also provided their own several applications which we will talk later in the Applications section. Overall, though Xperia Tablet Z is running on Android 4.1.2, it works lag-free. However, we are just ready to go for Android 4.2 Jellybean.
Processor, RAM, GPU:
Sony Xperia Tablet Z is powered with 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core Processor and 2GB of RAM. It is quite enough to run multiple heavy applications without any lag or freeze. We tried running more than 10 applications simultaneously and unsurprisingly didn’t faced a single freeze or lag. Furthermore, Sony has also provided Adreno 320 GPU allowing you run any HD Game available on Google Play. We already tested the device with games like Asphalt 7, Modern Combat 3, NFS Most Wanted, Max Payne, any more. All of these games run very good. You can see the Gaming performance in our Xperia Tablet Z Video Review. The tablet also scores very good figure in our Benchmarking tests, you can see the same below.
Multimedia and Gaming:
Apart from Gaming and Professional works, Xperia Tablet Z is also impressive in Multimedia purpose. We watched few Full HD movies on this large 10.1 inch bright and sharper display, I must say it was a real fun. As the tablet is in rectangular shape, you get 16:9 widescreen resolutions which is the best for movies. Furthermore Sony’s mobile Bravia engine enhances the output by smoothing out motion with crisp colors and very good viewing angles. Screen is large enough to watch movies in group with friends. You also don’t have any problem with the sound as we already saw that there are four speakers provided with several Audio enhancement settings. If you have a portable speaker, you can just attach and experience feel of theater. The default Video Player is capable to run almost all major Video formats. The Tablet also comes with Video Unlimited app that allows you to watch movies on the go from cloud.
As per Music, Sony made return of Walkman with its Xperia Z series of smartphones. We also have the Walkman app as the default music player in Xperia Tablet Z. It provides you completed details of each song and album as well as you can directly share any song on Facebook. Now coming to Gallery app, it is the same gallery which we have seen in Xperia Z smartphone. By default the gallery sorts your images and videos month and date wise. You can also pull your Facebook and Google images right in the Gallery App. You can also watch all your images with Music and Frame using the SenseMe Slideshow. Even you can edit your images within the app using the built-in editor. There are lots more to do.
As far as Gaming is concerned, Xperia Tablet Z still stands tall. We tried running games like Modern Combat 4, Max Payne Mobile, Need For Speed Most Wanted and several more High End Android games, un-surprisingly all games were running fine without a single lag. That means, the tablet is powerful enough to run any games available on Google Play
Personally I have never used Tablet for capturing photos or recording videos, Smartphones are better and enough for the same. But still there are many users who love to use their tablets for shooting as well. In such cases, Xperia Tablet Z is one of the best you can have. With its Exmor R for mobile sensor powered 8 Megapixel rear camera you can have high quality picture with good colors and of course Full HD video recording. However if you are not in good light environment, you will notice bit noise in the images because the tablet doesn’t have Flash. Although you don’t need to make the settings manually because just like Xperia Z smartphone, even the tablet camera has the Superior Auto Mode that adjust the settings automatically depending on the environment and lights. If you have good knowledge of photography and cameras, then let me tell you that this camera is high customizable. You can change the several settings according to you need like white balance, exposure, ISO, etc to get the best shot. Other features included with Xperia Tablet Z camera includes Burst short, Picture Effects, Sweep Panorama and several scene selection modes.
Connectivity and Storage:
Xperia Z comes with 16GB Built-in storage which is quite enough for storing thousands of music and Pictures along with few HD Movies. But still if you feel shortage, you can expand the memory upto 64GB using microSD. If we compare the storage stuff with competing devices like HTC One, Xperia Z stands tall as HTC One doesn’t have any external memory slot. So we have better storage solution with this smartphone. As far as connectivity is concerned, Xperia Z offers you 4G LTE / 3G, WiFi 820.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC. It was a great fun browsing on this device connected on 3G or WiFi. No matter which website you want to browse, it loads fine and offers you desktop type browsing experience with you clear texts. It is fast and smooth.
Apart from these standard connectivity options you can also connect USB on the Go. With the help of OTG you can connect several hardware with your Xperia Z smartphone like Keyboard, Mouse, Playstation Joystick, and much more. Apart from this you can do screen mirroring of the phone device with other large screen computers and HD TVs over WiFi or Bluetooth. There are lots more to do under Settings > Xperia. If you have other Sony products/accessories, you will never want to switch from Xperia Z.
Just like other Xperia Z devices, even the Z tablet has awesome battery life. Sony has powered the tablet with 6000 mAH battery with various built-in battery enhancement features like Stamina Mode that makes the tablet work longer if used wisely. We tested the tablet as average and hardcore user and the results were impressive. I used the tablet connected on Wifi and 3G all the time and did browsing, chatting, watched Videos, Listen Music, along with Browsing for hours, but still the tablet managed to remain online for over a day. That’s impressive. Xperia Tablet Z can accompany you for a day without worrying about carrying the charger.
With such large HD display and powerful processing power, Xperia Tablet Z is one of the best choice we have at the price of Rs. 46,990/-. It has premium build quality and stylish design which can be used under any kind of environment like water or Dust. After reviewing the product deeply, if I have to describe the product in short, I must say it is best in Multimedia, best in Browsing and other Internet tasks, Best for HD Gaming as well as Best for Official tasks. You don’t need to worry about whether the tablet will run a particular app. It is capable to run any application or game available on Google Play with better performance. Xperia Tablet Z sounds good in connectivity as well with all major connectivity options. I don’t think I need to say anything about Camera. You have the best camera in Tablets with Z Tablet. As final words, though Rs. 46,990/- may sound high, but Sony Xperia Tablet Z is worth for the same.
- Brilliant HD screen
- Good build quality
- Dust and Water proof
- Steeply priced
- Battery backup could’ve been better