Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 hands on (MWC 2014)

February 25, 2014
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Yesterday Sony announced three new devices, the Xperia Z2 and M2 smartphones, and the Xperia Tablet Z2. Since the official announcement, we’ve managed to spend a little time with all three, and here are our thoughts on Sony’s new tablet.

Design

We thought that Sony pulled out all the stops when it designed the original Tablet Z, which was impressively thin and light. However, Sony has upped the ante yet again with this second generation, which is a mind boggling 6.4mm thick. Not only is that, but the Tablet Z2 much lighter too, weighing in at only 426 grams for the Wi-Fi model.

Dimensions aside, the Tablet Z2 remains largely unchanged from its predecessor, but then again it was hard to find fault with the original device’s look and feel. There’s the same dual glass surface, a sturdy aluminium frame, and the wonderful waterproof construction that we’ve come to expect from Sony. The only exception is that the tablet’s speakers have been moved. They’ve disappeared from the side of the tablet and can now be found on the front, which certainly improves the listening experience.

Display

The Xperia Tablet Z2 sticks with the same display specs as the previous generation. That’s a 10.1-inch, Full HD (1920 x 1080) TRILUMINOS display, with X-Reality and Live Color LED technology. We won’t lie, we would have liked to see Sony adopt a higher resolution display, perhaps something more in line with Samsung’s TabPRO series, which features a much higher WQXGA resolution (2560×1600).

There is one change to the display’s Live Color LED technology, which combines a blue LED backlight with red and green phosphor pixels for, what Sony’s claims is, a range of deeper and more intense colors. At a quick glance, the Tablet Z2 indeed appears to offer up a little more color intensity that the older Tablet Z.

Performance and Hardware

Just like its little smartphone brother, the Xperia Tablet Z2 is one of the first devices announced to make use of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 801 SoC. The Snapdragon 801 is a big upgrade from the S4 Pro CPU found in its predecessor. The Snapdragon 801 features four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3Ghz and an Adreno 330 GPU, which has received slight bump in clock speeds from the popular Snapdragon 800 chip too. Sony’s new tablet also shares the same RAM count as the Xperia Z2 smartphone. The Xperia Tablet Z2 comes with 3GB of RAM, which, combined with the powerful CPU, absolutely flies through Sony’s user interface, games, and apps with no lag whatsoever.

However, not everything is borrowed from Sony’s new smartphone, the Tablet Z2 makes use of a lower resolution 8 Megapixel Exmor RS camera, which should still serve as a decent enough shooter. There’s also a 2.2 MP front facing camera for video calls.

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Moving on to the finer hardware details, the Xperia Z2 fits in a decent 6000 mAh cell behind the 10.1 inch display, which Sony reckons can provide an estimated 10 hours worth of constant multimedia usage. A fairly typical estimate for most 10 inch tablets these days, although again Samsung’s TabPro offers up a bigger battery. Storage wise, there the option for either 16GB or 32GB, along with a microSD card slot for an additional 64GB of space if required. Furthermore, the Tablet Z2 will be available in Wi-Fi only and LTE varieties, with both versions boasting NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

The Xperia Tablet Z2 also borrows Sony’s new digital noise-cancelling audio technology from the Xperia Z2, so if you purchase one of Sony’s noise cancelling headphones you will be able to benefit from a substantial reduction in background noise.

Software

Software wise, the Tablet Z2 also shares some of the new features from the Xperia Z2. Both devices will ship with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat and have updated Timescape UI’s, which gives the entire operating system a slight redesign. The Sony Xperia tablet Z2 includes all the integrated Sony apps you’d expect, including the Walkman app, PlayMemories, etc, and it also comes with a full range of camera apps if you’re going to be taking pictures.

Sony is also throwing in the ability to edit Microsoft Office files out of the box, thanks to the inclusion of the full version of OfficeSuite Pro 7. Additionally, the Xperia Z2 Tablet comes with six free movies downloads from Sony Pictures and a 30 day free trial of Music Unlimited.

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Final Thoughts

Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z2 plays it safe whilst still managing to offer up a number of decent improvements to the impressive original Tablet Z. Although we would have liked to have seen a higher resolution display to complement the tablet’s 10 inch screen, the improved processor and software features still offer up a compelling premium tablet experience.

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