Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Tablet Review
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet – First Impressions
The Sony Xperia Z4 smartphone has yet to enter the realms of reality, but that hasn’t stopped its tablet sibling from taking its first official bow at MWC 2015. The company’s latest iPad Air 2 challenger, this high-end 10.1-inch slate is thinner and faster than its predecessor.
With a 2K display thrown into the mix alongside improved camera optics and Android 5.0, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is pushing the tablet market to new heights – on paper at least. Is this the best Android tablet to date? I went hands-on to find out.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Design
Stylistically similar to its predecessor, the Xperia Z2 Tablet (we’re not sure what happened to the Z3 slate either), Sony’s latest tablet has made small design improvements that combine to make a big impact.
Dropping to a super svelte 6.1mm thick, 392g form factor – down from 6.4mm and 462g – reduced bezels have considerably minimised the device’s overall footprint. This reduced form helps the tablet look more professional and high-end.
Yes, it is plastic as opposed to the iPad’s metal finish, but with a matt paint job, it carries its cheaper materials with grace and style. At least this is the case now. I will be intrigued to see how this design stands up to the scuffs, scrapes and grubby fingers associated with everyday use.
Although in my eyes, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is easily the best looking Android slate yet, nicer even than the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, it’s not without design irritations.
I found the Xperia Z4 Tablet to be extremely light. Almost unnervingly so. If you’re after a slate to travel with you on a daily basis, this is sure to appease. During use, however, this slimmed down, light body does come at a cost, and it’s looking like it could be quite a serious one.
Placed under only mild amounts of pressure, the Z4 Tablet flexes and warps to unnerving levels. If the iPad Air 2 had suffered from this degree of flex there would have been uproar. As it is, it is unlikely to cause too much concern to standard use. I would have second thoughts about dropping it into satchel, however.
Another issue I quickly found with the Z4 Tablet’s design is the location of its volume rocker. Even in my short time with the device the physical buttons were far too prone to accidental presses. This affects the tablet in both landscape and portrait stances and was an irritant from the off.
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Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Screen
Visuals are the Z4 Tablet’s party piece. The 2K panel is tipped as the brightest on any commercial tablet at over 500 candella and I can’t argue. The 10.1-inch Triluminos display is a simply stunning addition. It features a beautifully detailed 2560 x 1600 pixel QHD resolution and a 300 pixels-per-inch image density.
Text is pin sharp, images extremely detailed, video fluid and colours bright, vibrant and accurate. It is hard to overstate just how nice this screen is. Is it any better or brighter than the Retina panel on the iPad Air 2? At this stage, it’s hard to say. We will be pitting these two devices against each other when we have final review samples in though.
Worryingly, I did notice a slight pinkish tinge to white screens. This was on a pre-production test sample, however, so further testing will be required before final judgement can be passed on any potential troubles.
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Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Features
As with screen quality, power is not an issue here. Running Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, the Z4 Tablet should have more than enough grunt for both work and play. Although offering near-unparalleled amounts of mobile processing power, this octa-core chip has come in for a bit of a pre-release beating with claimed overheating concerns marring its mass introduction.
During my brief time with the Sony slate, I did notice the device getting rather warm while performing only mundane tasks. Browsing the web and sending an email caused a notable rise in temp in the tablet’s upper left corner. Again, further testing is required before I can class this as any sort of serious concern.
While browsing the web or watching a movie is not going to task this chipset and accompanying 3GB of RAM, a heavy duty gaming session might make its stretch its legs. This isn’t just a tablet for the internet generation though. For those after a tablet with a more business-minded ilk, there are accessories to tick the boxes. Echoing the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – the leading business tablet – a custom Bluetooth keyboard is available for an as yet undisclosed fee.
Although the tablet is IP68 certified, meaning it can safely be submerged within a metre of water for up to 30 minutes without suffering catastrophic failure, we wouldn’t recommend making use of this.
Submersing into water causes many things to go a bit funny. Apps automatically launched and closed and the screen rotation confused itself. After a few attempts, however, we were able to fire off a couple of underwater images.
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Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Camera
A stunning screen would be worthless without stunning content to display on it. With this clearly in mind, Sony has improved the Z4 Tablet’s camera collection. With an 8.1-megapixel shooter on the back, a secondary, 5.1-megapixel, offering has been added up front.
This forward-facing camera benefits from a wide-angle lens for improved video calling and, of course, those now customary group selfies.
From early tests in admittedly appalling lighting conditions, the Xperia Z4 Tablet’s cameras felt average at best. Struggling in low light, the primary camera offered up shots with slightly weak colour management, poor definition and iffy focus. An integrated flash is sorely missed here.
Things were little better up front, with the results – as is all too common on smartphones and tablet – lacking depth and feeling lifeless.
Although quite a negative assessment, I’ve yet to see any tablet offer much better camera results. A full camera test will be performed in our full Z4 Tablet review, coming soon.
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Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet – Early Verdict
Again Sony looks set to offer the best of the rest in the race to rival the iPad and the principal challenger to the best Android tablet crown. The Xperia Z4 Tablet is undeniably beautiful, with a screen that can melt your heart as well as your eyes. A lack of wow factor and a slightly flimsy build could be its downfall, but I can’t wait for another play.
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