Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Review – Thin Beyond Belief And More

Sony is famous for numerous products from the PlayStation to the Walkman and much much more, but one area of the company that isn’t as well known as I wish it was is their mobile devices division. From smartphones to tablets, these are pretty impressive devices. Back at MWC 2014, the company unveiled the Xperia Z2 Tablet, a 10.1 inch slate. Over the past couple weeks I’ve had the extreme pleasure of using this tablet and today it’s time to give my thoughts on the device and let you know if it’s worth your hard earned cash.

Specs

  • 10.1 Inch 1920×1080 display – 224ppi
  • 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16GB Internal Storage (microSD expandable)
  • 8.1MP Rear Camera
  • 2.2MP Front Camera
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 6,000 mAh Battery



Hardware

Hardware is one of Sony’s strong points. On their phones Sony typically uses a glass on glass design which I’m a pretty big fan of. While that didn’t make it to the Z2 Tablet, this tablet does have a pretty great design. The glass back is swapped for soft touch plastic. While that might not be nearly as premium, I think it was a good choice on a tablet. The soft touch plastic on the back feels good, but it does gather fingerprints pretty easily. There’s a sizeable bezel around the display, and I think that’s actually a good thing to me. On tablets I prefer big bezels as I think they’re better for gaming and reading. On each display of the display we have front facing speakers which sound surprisingly good. Now these aren’t exactly the Boomsound speakers found on the HTC One M8, but the position of them just makes them that much better.

The weight and thickness of this tablet is absolutely shocking. At only 6.4mm, this tablet is even thinner than the iPad Air (since beaten by the iPad Air 2). At only 439g it’s also shockingly light. Well you pick up the box for this tablet, you might not even think that the tablet is in there.

Another very notable part of this tablet is that it’s water resistant. This has been traditional of Sony’s high end devices in the past and carries on here. We have an IP58 rating on this tablet. While I wouldn’t recommend bringing it into the pool or hot tub, this tablet will be able to handle time outside in the rain or just being around water. To accomplish that rating the tablet has covers over the ports. Those ports include a microUSB 2.0 port, microSD card slot, and a spot where a SIM card could be included. Now I’m only using the WiFi variant but you can get a GSM or Verizon version of this device. Overall the hardware on the Xperia Z2 Tablet is pretty solid.

Software

Sony’s skin has been one of the better Android skins in the past and on this tablet that is no different. The device has Android 4.4.2 out of the box which while not the very latest version, is one of the latest. The device is even guaranteed an update to Android Lollipop. Sony’s skin is one of the better skins because overall, Sony really doesn’t change that much from Stock Android. Most of the functionality and the way things work are still the same, but just with Sony’s own flare and apps. Things run extremely smooth, better than almost any non-Nexus tablet I’ve owned.

Sony’s additions are slim. They pack several of their services, a special set of battery saving options, and a little more. The “small apps” is one feature I’d specifically like to highlight. . Sony’s small apps are just what you might think, mini apps. The apps float over the rest of the UI to give you multitasking capabilities. Apps like the internet browser, remote control, timer, “Active clip” and a couple others. The beauty of this functionality is that any widget can be turned into a small app. This fact makes this all worth it since it gives the functionality a whole new set of meaning. I was able to use widgets like the Spotify widget, Twitter widget and more to get info or control playback while doing other tasks. Another great part of the small apps is that developers are able to make their own new apps and make the functionality even better.

Overall Sony’s UI is pretty enjoyable and one of the best I’ve used. I think it’s best feature is the fact that it just doesn’t try that hard. Sony does make their skin stand out with some nice additions and changes, but overall it’s just like using Stock KitKat.

Camera

Cameras are never highlights on tablets, and that is certainly no different here. On the back of this tablet we have an 8.1MP shoot which gets the job done, but definitely isn’t the best out there. Personally I’m not too big a fan of taking pictures with a tablet anyway so this isn’t something I always like to focus on. If you are that person however, I’ve taken a few shots with the tablet and left them below. Click on any of the images to see it in full screen.

Display

As mentioned earlier, this tablet has a 10.1 inch 1080p display. Viewing angles and color reproduction are great, but the pixel density is what isn’t. At 224 pixels per inch, it’s not bad, but it’s not great. I think this tablet would have greatly benefited from the addition of a Quad-HD resolution. That said, the 1080p panel inside is certainly not bad by any means. It’s brilliant for consuming media content. I enjoyed watching videos and reading on this display.

Performance

The Xperia Z2 Tablet packs some pretty impressive specifications inside it’s super thin build. It has a Snapdragon 801 with 3GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. All of that combined brings a seriously impressive experience. The entire interface runs with minimal lag if any at all. Games run beautifully even at their highest settings. No matter how many apps I had open or what I was doing, this tablet powered through with ease.

Battery

When I first caught a glimpse at this tablet, it’s thin profile concerned me. 6.4mm doesn’t leave much room for a large battery. I was skeptical that the device could pull through as long as some of my other tablets, but surprisingly, it did better than all of them. I could easily pull 3 to 4 days on a single charge with this tablet along with anywhere from 6 to 10 hours of screen on time. The best part is that those results usually come without Sony’s battery saving modes. When using battery saving the tablet can power through even longer. This was one tablet where I could rely on a low charge lasting me through a night of use thanks to the battery saving modes.

Video Review

Final Score

Overall I think the Xperia Z2 Tablet is easily one of the best tablets currently on the market. There’s only two things I don’t like about it. First, I’m not the biggest fan of that display. I think this tablet would be so much more amazing with a Quad-HD resolution. Second, the price tag. At $499 this tablet is about the right price for what you get, but still more than I’d want to pay for the display. Competing tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 cost only $499 and the Nexus 10, in it’s time, was only $399. Both of those come with higher resolution 2560×1440 displays which provide much better viewing experiences. I think a slightly lower price tag would make this slate an even more compelling package.