Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Why You'll Dig it:

IT'S HARD TO believe, but Sony has managed to make a tablet that's both thinner and lighter than the iPad Air. Apple's tablet is just 7.5mm thick and weighs only 469g, but Sony's new Xperia Z2 Tablet trumps that. It's just over a millimeter thinner than Apple's tablet at 6.4mm, and at 439g it's even lighter.

You notice the weight difference as soon as you pick it up. The Z2 Tablet feels significantly lighter to hold than the iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, both of which are 30g heavier. It's also a lovely object to look at. The Z2 Tablet feels more like a high-quality product than the plastic Galaxy TabPro and is approaching the iPad Air for desirability. You may not like the Z2 Tablet's plastic rear as much as the iPad Air's metal finish, but it contributes to the light weight and feels durable. You might also prefer the glass rear of the Tablet Z, but the Z2 is certainly more comfortable to hold. It's still waterproof, too, and Sony has managed to waterproof the headphone socket without using a plastic flap.


The Z2 Tablet contains one of the most powerful mobile chips available - the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. This has four cores running at 2.3GHz and runs Android 4.4 better than any Android tablet we've seen. It feels far quicker than the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro, which, despite its up-to-the minute Exynos 5 Octa processor, suffers from stuttering and lag. The Z2 Tablet's power is evident when opening and closing applications and flicking through home screens, but even an Android tablet as powerful as this can't match the iPad Air for sheer uninterrupted smoothness, as we still noticed the occasional hesitation.

In our benchmarks, the Z2 Tablet wasn't quite as quick as we expected. It completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, which is a reasonable indicator of web browsing performance, in 1,034ms. That's a strong score but is slower than both the iPad(382ms) and Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro (972ms). It's also significantly slower than the Snapdragon 801-equipped Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, which completed the test in 731ms using Google Chrome browser.

Despite this, the tablet's web browsing performance is excellent. It renders pages quickly and there's almost no lag when scrolling around. The Z2 Tablet certainly copes better with complicated web pages than the Galaxy Tab Pro, which was disappointingly hesitant. The Z2 Tablet also performs well with 3D games. As we expected, 3D driving game Real Racing 3 ran beautifully smoothly at maximum detail levels.

The Z2 Tablet's customized version of Android is a winner. The stock version of Android 4.4 can look dark and staid, but Sony's customizations are subtle and classy. Customizing your home screens, with a sidebar presenting apps and widgets for you to drag where you want them. The main app tray makes navigating your apps easy, too. Swiping in from the left edge brings up a menu that lets you sort your apps alphabetically, by frequency of use or according to an order of your own devising.


Apple and Samsung may have pushed their tablet's resolution to great heights, but Sony has stuck with a relatively modest 1,920x1,200 for the Z2 Tablet. This gives it a pixel density of 224ppi compared with the iPad's 264ppi and the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1's 311ppi, but we're not convinced that it matters much. Text on the Z2 Tablet's screen is still incredibly sharp, and web pages couldn't be easier to read.

The Z2 Tablet may not be hugely different from its predecessor, but it's an improvement in all the ways that count. It's slimmer, lighter and faster, with an absolutely beautiful screen and even an impressive battery life of just over 15 hours in a video playback test. It's the best Android tablet by far, and there's not a lot difference between this and the iPad Air for speed, ease of use and screen quality. If you want a 10in Android tablet, buy this one.


Speed, power and a beautiful screen; Sony's new tablet has it all, and is the best 10.1in Android tablet available.


CPU: 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
GRAPHICS: Adreno 330
DISPLAY: 10.1in widescreen LCD(1,920x1,200)
DIMENSIONS: 172x266x4mm, 439g
DETAILS: www.sonymobil.com

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