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Hands-on with Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Hands-on with Sony Xperia Tablet Z


Hands-on with Sony Xperia Tablet Z

The World's Thinnest Tablet

Sony Japan introduced the Xperia Tablet Z in late January after CES 2013. Back then, it was only available in Japan. Yesterday at its MWC 2013 press conference, Sony officially announced that the Xperia Tablet Z will hit global markets from spring 2013.

We managed to get our hands-on with the tablet at MWC 2013 and here are our initial impressions. Before you read on, here's a quick overview of its specs: - 

 

  Key highlights of the Sony Xperia Tablet Z

  • Android 4.1 .2 Jelly Bean
  • 10.1-inch TFT HD Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 / 1920 x 1200 pixels
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 APQ8064 quad-core 1.5GHz processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB internal memory
  • (microSD support up to 64GB)
  • 4G LTE
  • NFC
  • 8.1-megapixel rear autofocus camera  with Sony Exmor RS
  • 6000mAh
  • 266 x 172 x 6.9mm
  • 495g
  • Colors: Black and White
     
  • Availability: Global launch from Spring 2013

 

Design and Handling 

Kazo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Corporation asserts that the company is committed to building a premium brand with "a consistent user experience across every device", and cited the Xperia branding as an example of what he called "One Sony".

True to his words, the Xperia Tablet Z inherits the same design as its smartphone counterpart, the Xperia Z; in other ways, it looks like a bigger variant of the 5-inch flagship phone. It utilizes the OmniBalance design, where you see a frame made from glass fibre polyamid. Fortunately, Sony did not equip the back of the tablet with a glass panel which has proven to be very susceptible to fingerprints and smudges.

One of the main features of the Xperia Tablet Z is its ultra sleek chassis of 6.9mm. In fact, Sony claims the honor now for having the world's thinnest tablet in the market. The title formerly belonged to Apple and its 7.2mm iPad mini. Moreover, the Xperia Tablet Z is very light for its class of tablets at 495g. Kudos to the Sony engineering team for pulling off a stunning feat of engineering on the Xperia Tablet Z.

Sony is famous for manufacturing water and dust resistant mobile devices, and the same principle applies for the Xperia Tablet Z. While its silbing, the Xperia Tablet S boasts splash-resistant properties, the Xperia Tablet Z goes one step further with its IPX5/7 (water resistance) and IP5X (dust proof) ratings.

 

Overall, we had no qualms about the design, build quality and handling of the Xperia Tablet S. The ultra-slim chassis and lightweight form factor make the tablet feel very easy to tote around, and even hold it in one hand.

If there is a trend emerging from MWC 2013, we think it revolves around Android vendors pushing the boundaries when it comes to designing their devices. ASUS and HTC have proven their expertise in crafting great hardware, and Sony looks set to join them in the ranks. 

The 10.1-inch display of the Xperia Tablet Z sees a bump in resolution, from 1280 x 800 pixels to 1920 x 1200 pixels. It also incorporates Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 and OptiContrast for a better viewing experience. During our hands-on with the device, we found the viewing experience to be similar to the high-end tablets we've reviewed thus far. We reserve our verdict until the final retail unit arrives in our testing labs.

Software

The Xperia Tablet Z is powered by Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and will be upgradeable to Android 4.2 shortly after its launch in Q2. We found its user interface (UI) to be largely similar to the one in the Xperia Z, which means an almost stock Android UI that is responsive. 

Running under the hood are the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz processor and 2GB RAM. Other specs include an 8.1-megapixel rear camera with Exmor R, a microSD card slot, 4G LTE connectivity, NFC (branded as One-touch) and DLNA.

The Sony Xperia Tablet Z will be available globally in Q2 2013. It will be available in two colors: black and white. In the meantime, let's take a look at how the Sony Xperia Tablet Z fares against the 10.1-inch competition: - 

Comparing the Sony Xperia Tablet Z against the Xperia Tablet S, Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 and Apple iPad (Late 2012)
  Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet S Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 Apple iPad (Late 2012)
Display 10.1-inch LCD 9.4-inch LCD 10.1-inch LCD 9.7-inch LCD
Resolution 1920 x 1200 pixels 1280 x 800 pixels 1280 x 800 pixels  2048 x 1536 pxiels
OS Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (at launch) Apple iOS 6
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos 4 Quad quad-core 1.4GHz Apple A6X dual-core 1GHz
RAM 2GB 1GB 2GB 1GB
Storage 16/32GB
(microSD support up to 64GB)
16GB
(microSD support up to 128GB)
16GB
(microSD support up to 32GB)
16/32/64/128GB
Front Camera 2.2MP 1MP 1.9MP 1.2MP
Rear Camera 8.1MP autofocus 8MP autofocus 5MP autofocus 5MP autofocus
Battery 6000mAh 6000mAh 7000mAh 11560mAh
Dimensions 266 x 172 x 6.9mm 239.8 x 174.4 x 8.8 - 11.85mm 262 x 180 x 8.9mm 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.41mm
Weight 495g 585g 600g 662g