- Fantastic design and waterproof body
- Impressive performance
- Exceptional battery life
- Useful keyboard dock
- Lack of screen contrast
- Average rear-facing camera
- High price
Quick TakeSony's latest has the high-resolution screen and cutting-edge performance it needs to rival flagship models from Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, and a clip-on keyboard helps set it apart from the pack.
Since Sony decided to offer the Xperia Z3 Tablet only as a compact last year, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is the first 10.1-inch Sony mobile device since the Xperia Z2 Tablet, and it is a noticeable upgrade.
Like its predecessors, this new model has a high end feature set. It’s exceptionally light, slim, and elegant, yet waterproof, with a 2560 x 1600-pixel display and Qualcomm’s octacore processor. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, and despite smaller dimensions, its battery capacity remains unchanged at 6000mAh.
Sony includes a Bluetooth keyboard and dock with this tablet, making it an Android-based 2-in-1, which largely expands its usefulness.
Build and Design
Sony has used the same design esthetic for its tablets for years, and the Xperia Z4 Tablet is no exception. Nevertheless, this is a modern-looking tablet, despite its all-plastic casing. It features a squared design with rounded edges, and is quite slim at 0.24 in (6.1 mm) thick.
Its other dimensions are 10.0 x 6.57 in. (254 x 167 mm), and it only weighs 13.86 oz. (393 grams), making it the lightest and most compact 10.1-inch tablet on the market. That includes the Apple iPad Air 2.
Its unbelievably slim dimensions suggest the device is frail, but using it reveals otherwise. Its casing has been created out of either black or white solid matte plastic, making it quite resistant to fingerprints. And it’s resistant to much more than that: the device has an IP68 certification, so it’s both dustproof and waterproof, surviving up to 30 minutes in 1.5m of fresh water.
The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet features a 2560 x 1600 10.1-inch IPS display, resulting in a 299 ppi pixel density. This is one of the specs that put the tablet ahead of the iPad Air 2, which has a pixel density of 269 ppi.
The imaging is exceptionally sharp, with no visible pixels to the naked eye in any situation, while the colors are expressive, convincing and – typical of high end devices – unnaturally saturated, which many users like.
Despite exceptionally light white tones and extremely dark black tones, contrast sustainability is lost at wider viewing angles or when exposed to direct sunlight. A solution for this issue is to manually set the brightness to its maximum, making the contrast more visible than on any other 10.1-inch tablet’s display.
The display on the Xperia Z4 Tablet is not covered in Gorilla Glass, but Sony has used a layer simply described as “chemically treated” in order to protect it from scratches. Still, the smooth feeling under the fingertips is the same as with classic Gorilla Glass; the only difference is that fingerprints are visible straight away on the front of this tablet. The back fares much better against smudges.
The screen glass is a tenth of a millimeter thinner than the plastic on all the tablet’s four edges, which makes it easier to differentiate the front and the back of the device by feel alone. These protruded edges also protect the glass when the tablet is ‘folded’ against the optional Bluetooth keyboard.
Buttons and Ports
The front of this model includes a 5.1-megapixel camera, located in the middle above the display, and Sony’s logo is situated along the left side. The edge chosen for this purpose suggests that it would be natural to use the tablet in the landscape position, but portrait mode is always available as well.
The bottom edge has no buttons or slots whatsoever, while the upper edge includes a 3.5mm audio jack and a cover to protect the microSD card slot. The LTE version also has a Nano-SIM card slot on this edge.
The Power key sits on the left side and it is the only metal element of the Xperia Z4 Tablet exterior. The left side also includes the volume rocker, while a micro-USB port rests on the middle of the right side.
The back has the 8-megapixel camera without an LED flash, atypically located along the right side, as well as Sony, Xperia, and NFC logos.
BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard
The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet can be transformed into an Android notebook thanks to the BKB50 Bluetooth keyboard. Its dimensions match the tablet, which easily clicks into the accompanying dock.
The keyboard includes the full QWERTY layout, with a row of numerical keys and an additional row of function keys, along with a trackpad under the space bar. The keys are physically large enough to be comfortable, and at the same time spread out enough to enable pleasant and fast typing.
The tablet and keyboard communicate via Bluetooth, not by a wired connection, but the tablet ‘knows’ when it is docked onto the keyboard thanks to its magnets. The tablet’s screen will automatically switch to stand-by mode when the clamshell is closed.
It features a 400 mAH battery which, according to Sony, is capable of lasting for a month and a half with 8 hours of usage per day.
Bottom line, the BKB50 keyboard is one of the best tablet Bluetooth keyboards available for Android tablets and it proves useful, making the Xperia Z4 Tablet a much more diverse device.