It’s the lightest 10″ tablet currently available on the market, and has a solid build which feels expensive in your hands, yet only weighs less than 500g – well 495g to be exact.
To make it even more attractive, it’s dust proof and water proof. It can be submerged into meter deep water for up to 30 minutes (who says you can’t Skype while having a bubble bath). Here’s a quick (6 second quick) Vine of me demo-ing the water proof feature; and you can still hear sound:
The 10.1″ tablet features an OmniBalance design which means symmetry and balance is created in all directions. It has rounded edges, an aluminium power button a tempered glass display. As the ‘slimmest tablet in the world’, it measures 6.9mm thin. 3D Surround sound speakers are located at the bottom, so that when you hold the tablet, sound isn’t muffled.
All ports are covered by plastic flaps (should be closed when used in water), which makes the tablet look neat and minimalistic. To the left is the 3.5mm earphone jack, volume control, and at the bottom you will find the charging slot, microSD and 3G. The top and right hand sides are free from any slots.
The Xperia Tablet Z is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage expandable up to 32GB via microSD. It has a 1920×1200 HD display which uses Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine, has an 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front-facing HD camera. It uses S Force 3D surround sound and connectivity options include – WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth, NFC and Sony exclusive one-touch mirroring, back-up and sharing compatible with Sony products.
The tablet runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 and I quite like Sony’s custom Android skin, it looks very elegant, and if you’re familiar the PS3 interface, you will see some similarities. The tablet is responsive and smooth to the touch and there were no glitches, or lag. The only time I may have experienced anything slow was during a game of Fruit Ninja for a brief moment but thereafter, transitioning was smooth.
I loaded some episodes of Breaking Bad in HD and rewatched them on the tablet. It felt like a portable HDTV with surround sound, and because the tablet is so light, I could watch at whatever angle I wanted to in bed, without shifting positions because it became heavy (like every other 10″ tablet). Sound quality from the 3D surround sound speakers is the best I’ve experience on a mobile device; really impressive. I also paired the tablet with a Sony portable NFC speaker, which was seamless. For initial pairing, you just line up the NFC logo on each product above each other and it will pick up. Although I don’t understand why it has to be done this way, when I paired the speaker with the Galaxy S4, it didn’t work with lining up logos – it just paired.
I’m not big on cameras on tablets, and you really don’t want to be *that* person walking around with a tablet taking photos. The 8-megapixel camera is average, not the greatest. If you already have a smartphone or camera, rather stick to using that. The camera function offers you a self timer; HDR mode; image stabiliser; adjusting of exposure, white balance and ISO; and auto upload. Video mode is somewhat limited, when you hit the record button to switch modes, it immediately starts recording, with no option to change quality.
Overall, the Xperia Tablet Z is quite an impressive tablet. Battery life is good, I managed to watch a lot of HD video and was surprised it didn’t need to be charged again after. Stand by time wasn’t that great, I opted to turn the tablet off instead. I managed to load content from my Mac to the tablet fairly quickly (HD content loaded in seconds), and found a media player that played .mkv files easily (sound not supported natively on Android). If you’re looking for the best Android tablet currently available, the Xperia Tablet Z is just that.
My rating: 9/10
Price: R9,000 (ouch)