Sony Xperia Tablet Z Hands-On Preview

by Reads (10,245)

Mobile World Congress 2013Sony did not prepare any surprises for this year’s MWC presence, but has instead focused on presenting the recently-announced Xperia Tablet Z. This is a 10-inch Android device which has drawn exceptional interest in Barcelona, just like the Xperia Z smartphone version did during CES. And the resemblance between these two devices does not stop just with their names.

Build and Design

The most interesting feature of this model is the fact that it’s waterproof. This is actually the first premium-class tablet with that “feature”, which will undoubtedly set new standards on the market and force many competitors to try and match it.

Sony Xperia Tablet ZStill, it should be kept in mind that the craftsmanship and design of this device offer other praiseworthy characteristics. One of the lightest and slimmest 10-inch tablets is in question (it weighs 495 grams and is only 6.9 mm thick), which is evident when it is held in hand.

Sony’s Xperia Talet Z offers an outstandingly pleasant feeling when held, and does not tire the wrist one bit. It almost looks as if it were not robust enough, as it is light. However, its solid nature and the use of glass and glass fiber polyamide in the body lay to rest my skepticism over the manner of the craftsmanship.

With this design, the tablet follows a concept which Sony had previously produced for its flagship devices, starting with smartphone Xperia Z. This model turns heads and radiates a certain ‘masculinity’ with its sharp lines. It will be available in black and white.

Display

Its 10-inch display at a 1200 x 1920 resolution offers a 224 ppi pixel density. This, of course, is not the kind of density offered by the latest two generations of iPad, however, not many devices can match this resolution in the 10-inch Android OS class for the time being.

Exceptional imaging sharpness provided by the Xperia Tablet Z is evident with the naked eye. Text written in a very slim font with thin slope lines look very sharp without any visible ‘teething’, even during animations. Playing games and watching films is a special indulgence when it comes to the imaging sharpness. This is one of the best displays on an Android OS tablet I have had the good fortune to see.

On the other hand, the impression is tarnished with the poor viewing angles it offers. Fortunately, this is not so pronounced like on the Xperia Z smartphone, given that one would more likely watch a 10-inch device diagonally more often than a smaller 5-inch one, and would rarely have the opportunity of noticing problems regarding the poor viewing angle. Still, it’s going to be an issue when two people are trying to look at this screen simultaneously.

A much greater problem is the poor imaging contrast (just like on Xperia Z), which makes black tones quite washed out and white ones rather dirty. The combination of poor contrast and poor viewing angle results in color inconsistency. Then again, it should be kept in mind that this is an above-average screen for this type of a device and the problems are not visible during multimedia reproduction.

Just as Xperia Z is currently one of the best multimedia smartphones, the Xperia Tablet Z is one of the best multimedia tablets — if we limit the scope to Google’s operating system, that is.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Performance

The tablet is exceptionally fast, which is no wonder, given that is relies on a 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with Adreno 320 graphics and 2GB of RAM. The processor handles the relatively big resolution with ease, and there is no lagging or glitching while reproducing videos, playing games, zooming in and out, or scrolling web sites. Again, Xperia Z can boast with supreme speed.

Just like with the smartphone, I noticed some problems with precision while interpreting the user’s intentions when moving the finger across the display with the goal of scrolling web sites. The shift is not what it should be, given the speed and the length of the finger movement  across the screen.

Sony Xperia Tablet ZSony’s Xperia Tablet Z by default, it comes with 16 and 32GB of data storage and a 64GB microSD card slot. It is equipped with two cameras: the back-facing one has 8 megapixels, while the front-facing camera has 2 megapixels. 

It’s too early to say anything else about the performance of this tablet. You’ll have to wait for a full review to get details on real-world battery life and how the camera performs.

Preliminary Conclusiuon

After a more-than-successful launch of the Xperia Z smartphone at CES, Sony has repeated this achievement at MWC with the Xperia Tablet Z, confirming its comeback to the mobile devices market big league. There is room for improvement, especially regarding the display, but clearly, Sony is becoming one of those (rare) tablet manufacturers who dictate trends and set new standards for the competition.

The price for the American market is going to be $500 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version and $600 for the 32GB model.

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