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Test: Sony Xperia Tablet Z

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Philipp Moosdorf

Page 1: Test: Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Sony Xperia Tablet Z LogoIn recent months, Sony has been trying to re-establish a foothold in the mobile segment with comprehensive high-end devices. The turnaround was mainly the Smartphone Xperia Z (Hardwareluxx review), a positive surprise appearance in an otherwise rainy springtime. Sony is aiming to repeat this success with the Tablet. The Xperia Tablet Z is reminiscent of the smartphone not only by its name. Like the Xperia Z, the 10.1" tablet has a striking design, a quad-core CPU from Qualcomm and a high resolution display - and morover, it's dust-proof and waterproof. We tested Sony's flagship tablet, and wanted to find out whether it has the stuff to be the new top dog in the Android world.

Back when the tablet segment appeared as an important growth market, with the success of Apple's iPad, Sony responded with two separate creations. Both the Tablet S and the Tablet P were Android tablets that significantly differed from the competition. The Tablet S was reminiscent of a magazine by its wedged shape, and had an unusual 9.4" display. Even more unconventional was the folding dual touch screen tablet model P. The big breakthrough was not achieved by Sony, despite the unusual two tablets. With the Xperia Tablet S, the Japanese company then released a much more conventional tablet. While it was still a 9.4" device, it was without the Tablet S's wedged shape. Instead, the first Xperia tablet with a powerful SoC (NVIDIA Tegra 3) and splash protection was able to impress us. We would qualify it as a "total success in Android tablets".

With the Xperia Tablet Z, Sony quickly approaches the more popular tablet conventions. The new flagship is now also 10.1". Sony is also trying to convince with impressive technical specifications:

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (Quad Core 1.5GHz)
Display 10.1" (1920 x 1200 px)
Battery Lithium Polymer, 6000 mAh
Camera (front) 2.2 MP Camera (1920 x 1080 px)
Camera (back) 8.1 MP Camera (3288 x 2472 px)
Memory 16 GB or 32 GB, expandable via microSD
Dimensions / Weight 266 x 172 x 6.9 mm, 495 g

Find the complete feature list it on the last page of the test.

As the first Sony Xperia Tablet, the Tablet Z has a high-resolution display with 1920 x 1200. In contrast to the typical full-HD display, the aspect ratio is 16:10 and not 16:9. The manufacturer speaks of a HD Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, which will cover a wide spectrum of colors. The SoC is - like in the Sony Xperia Z smartphone - a fast 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm solution, as is the Adreno 320 GPU, and 2 GB of RAM. Cameras have a resolution solve of 8.1 and 2.2 MP, which is quite high, so that even the front camera is suitable for Full HD video. Sony offers the Xperia Tablet Z in three variants. The Wi-Fi model is available with 16 and 32 GB of memory, the LTE model with 16 GB. In all cases, memory expansion via microSD card is possible. A white and black color version is also offered.

The brief overview of the specifications have finally revealed that Sony has developed an unrivaled thin tablet. Only 6.9 mm thin for a 10.1" device - a current iPad at 9.4 mm thickness is downright clunky, and Android competitors like the Nexus 10 (8.9 mm) are much thicker. The weight is also significant, Sony manged to stay just below the 500 g mark, putting it at 150 or 100 g less than the iPad or the Nexus 10. What the brief overview does not tell, however, is that the thin and light tablet is also dust and water resistant. IP 55/57 certification grants protection against dust, water jets and against temporary immersion.

The case clearly suggests that Sony has not been content with simply developing a 10.1" tablet with a powerful CPU and a high-resolution display. Additional features confirm this impression. The Xperia Tablet Z allows for use of the tablet as an IR remote control. It also supports NFC (Near Field Communication) as well as the consumer electronics standard DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance).

The Xperia Tablet Z is clearly a premium device, and Sony prices it accordingly. The simplest model equipped with Wi-Fi and 16 GB of memory costs 499 euros. The wireless version with 32 GB will amount to 582 euros and the LTE version with 16 GB of memory will cost 629 euros.

Alternatively, we also offer a YouTube version of the video.