Sony took us a bit by surprise with the unveiling of the Xperia Tablet Z, a 10-incher we knew absolutely nothing about until a week ago. Not only had we not heard anything about Sony planning a tab with a similar design philosophy to that of the Xperia Z phone, but the timing was also a bit off.
As some of you might remember, the Tablet S/Tablet P duo got introduced to the world in the fall of 2011, while the latest “heavyweight” from Sony – the Xperia Tablet S – saw daylight in September 2012. Notice the pattern?
So, what’s up with this new Xperia Tablet Z and why did it break that pattern? We don’t know for sure, but it’s probably Sony’s way of telling us it will no longer be ignored. Or it might have something to do with all the issues that have made last year’s Xperia Tablet S a flop. Or a little bit of both.
Whatever its goal might be, I for one am ready to welcome the new 10-incher in the Android family, despite having the same concerns as my friend and colleague Stefan detailed here. And that was before seeing the first hands-on video of the tab, because I can now say my reserved enthusiasm has moved one level up towards full-fledged exhilaration.
The Xperia Tablet Z has been handled by the good folks over at The Verge in Japan, and, while they’ve only enjoyed limited quality time together, the consensus can bring smiles on the faces of Sony officials. “Reasonably impressed”, those were the words used by The Verge to describe the impression made by the 10-incher, which means a whole lot coming from the picky online publication.
As expected, the design is the most striking thing at the Xperia Tablet Z. Not only does the big guy look like a sized up version of the beautiful Xperia Z phone, but it also only measures 6.9 mm thick, which is probably a world record.
The tab feels like a featherweight when handled, which is pure gold given that many people reject 10-inch tablets because they’re not portable enough. It goes without saying that the water and dust protection are another two big upsides, but the overall build quality might not be that great.
Unlike the 5-inch Xperia Z, which rocks a glass sexy back, the 10-incher comes with a plasticky behind, and that doesn’t exactly scream premium construction.
Moving on from the design, there are only two other features we can “review” at this time – the display and camera. The Tablet Z sports a 1,920 x 1,200 pix res panel that’s sharp enough to be called above average, but not nearly as cool as the 2,560 x 1,600 screen on the Nexus 10. As for the 8 MP snapper, that “seemed to perform at least on par with the best of its competitors”.
All in all, there are some positives reported than can build hype around Sony’s 10-inch tablet, but the question that needs an answer yesterday is will this ever make it outside Asia. Well, Sony, will it?