Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet vs Apple iPad Air
Interface and functionality
Android 4.4.2 KitKat, in a form customized by Sony, of course, runs on the Xperia Z2 Tablet, while the iPad Air relies on Apple's iOS 7.1 operating system. There's quite a lot that sets these two platforms apart. On one hand, Android is well-known for being highly customizable, and sure enough, the appearance of the Z2 Tablet's UI can be personalized with widgets, live wallpapers, and a number of themes. iOS, on the other hand, is simpler to use and much less cluttered, with a cleaner presentation and subtle translucency effects seen throughout. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and while some might like the versatility of Android, others might be happier with the straight-forward approach employed by iOS.
Sony's custom Android UI builds on top of the stock layout of the platform, so the app drawer, notifications panel, and other UI elements are located exactly where an experienced user would expect them to be. Visually, the interface is consistent, with the same design language applied to menus and stock applications. Among the benefits you get with Sony's interface is the set of Small Apps, which let you multitask by having one or several of these hovering in a window above the UI. The solution isn't new, but it works pretty well and we don't mind having it at our disposal. You get just a few Small Apps loaded out of the box, but additional ones are available for download.
As for the iPad Air, if you've ever used an iOS device before, then you'll be feeling right at home the very instant you turn the device on. And if you're a newbie, you should be able to get the hang of it in no time – that's the beauty of Apple's mobile platform. As simple as the UI layout may seem, you do get a handful of useful features, such as the built-in navigation gestures for minimizing and switching between apps, as well as the Control Center panel, which lets you quickly launch specific tools or toggle various settings on or off.
Processor and memory
Kudos to Sony for stuffing the Xperia Z2 Tablet with one of the best silicons that Qualcomm has to offer – the Snapdragon 801, model MSM8974-AB. This quad-core beast of a SoC can sprint at speeds of up to 2.3 GHz and has no problems with handling anything from heavy web-browsing, 3D games, or decoding Full HD resolution movies. What's more, there's a whopping 3GB of RAM inside the slate, which explains why multitasking on the Xperia Z2 Tablet is silky-smooth.
There's an Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit architecture inside the iPad Air. On paper, the SoC may seem somewhat inferior to the Snapdragon 801, with its lower clock speed and the less RAM at its disposal, but things sure don't look that way in reality. Quite the opposite - the iPad Air just flies with all tasks, including the processor-intensive ones like 3D gaming. In fact, we find it slightly more responsive than Sony's slate while navigating through the UI. All in all, neither the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet nor the iPad Air would disappoint anyone with their flawless performance.
The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet packs 16GB of on-board storage, and if that seems insufficient for your needs, you have the option to add up to 128 gigs extra with the help of a microSD card. The iPad, on the other hand, doesn't let us expand its physical storage. That is a bummer, especially when the 32-, 64-, and 128-gigabyte iPad Air models respectively cost $100, $200, and $300 more than the 16GB one.
Internet browser and connectivity
Chrome is the default browser found on the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and it gets its job done flawlessly. Web sites load quickly and navigation is very smooth even when we have a heavy web page opened. Since this is a tablet we're handling, we're not surprised to see the browser's enabled support for tabbed browsing, letting us quickly switch between opened tabs. Speaking of which, Chrome has the wonderful feature of synchronizing bookmarks and other data between devices. Even tabs we have opened on a laptop computer can be retrieved from Chrome running on the Z2 Tablet.
Similarly, Safari running on the iPad Air delivers lightning-fast performance. Having multiple tabs is also an option, and browsing data is synchronized with the cloud so that it is available to other iOS devices that the user is logged in on.
Connectivity-wise, the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has both a Wi-Fi-only version and a 3G/4G LTE variant. Cellular data aside, both share the same set of connectivity interfaces, including Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, and NFC. The iPad Air is available in Wi-Fi-only form, and for those who need cellular data, there's an LTE model available as well. A notable difference between the two iPad Air models is that GPS is only available on the latter, while the former relies solely on Apple's location services, which can't offer the same level of preciseness. NFC is absent from the iPad Air, as is the case with all of Apple's current gadgets. What's present, on the other hand, is Bluetooth 4.0, dual-channel Wi-Fi with MIMO antennas, and Apple's awesome AirDrop feature, which lets us quickly and easily share files between nearby iOS devices.
2. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Nexus 7 2013 is still the best tablet - dollar for dollar...
5. theizzz (Posts: 12; Member since: 01 Oct 2013)
can't wait to see how the N8 will stand up to the N7 2013
15. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
I am sure it will be great - I would pay 299 for an N8 if it has better sound than prev N7s....
6. Zomer (Posts: 125; Member since: 31 May 2013)
Comparing a Nexus 7 with a iPad Air, yeah that makes sense.
4. ihavenoname (Posts: 1593; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
I prefer iPad Air. But both really good.
7. romeo1 (Posts: 630; Member since: 06 Jan 2012)
if the displays are almost equally good then the z2 should win in the multimedia part as sound is also an important item when you're watching movies.
my money is on the z2 but have to wait and see how it feels in the hand
10. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3503; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
"Almost unbeatable responsiveness".....? Yeah laggy as he**. If not laggy, at least unresponsive. There is no time with iPad air when it looks completely smooth #personalreallifeexperience
13. ihavenoname (Posts: 1593; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
iPad Air ain't laggy, at least it's smoother than my Nexus 7 (2013) which is already buttery smooth
11. datphoneguy (Posts: 145; Member since: 15 Sep 2013)
They're both very nice, high end devices. However - IMO - the iPad has better proportions than the Sony tablet (too long)
12. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)
I sold my ipad air for the Sony Xperia z2 tablet and can honestly say I dont regret it, both seem to have been just as smooth and i much prefer the ability to have a memory card in the Z2, its screen may not be as sharp but watching movies on the z2 is a better experience due to the front stereo speakers (as opposed to those on the bottom of the ipad) -particularly in landscape, and although only marginally lighter i prefer the z2 for reading on too as holding it in one hand is easier (thicker bezel actually helps!)
16. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
good for you - you broke away from that walled garden...
19. techperson211 (Posts: 997; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)
+1000000 hahaha I like that "walled garden"
17. rangoj (Posts: 46; Member since: 29 Mar 2014)
I do not understand why so many people love the iPad Air. I used it a couple of days and for me It wasn't anything special, limited OS without any possibility of personalization, system file management is notoriously bad, not even SO fast - my phone Nexus 5 is faster than the iPad Air.
I guess it's great for gaming, but for me nothing else on it is super and great! :)
18. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
The wife loves her iPad air...if it makes her happy...meanwhile I got a CoolPad 9976a coming in a few days...
20. techperson211 (Posts: 997; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)
Both are good tablet. But I choose z2 tablet . Durability functionality and micro sd. Those thick bezel may look ugly for some but for me it's an advantage for holding it without any accidental touch on the screen.
21. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3682; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Hey Nick T. Please can you share the ipad air wallpaper from the user interface and functionality page. That multicolored one. I loved it please. Thanks.
22. MobileGuru (Posts: 82; Member since: 18 Jan 2014)
Although I think that iOS for iPad is still not suited for productivity, one thing that Apple got right from the start is having the screen aspect ratio at 4:3. Less HD (widescreen) aspect ratio is just more suited for smaller screen devices like tablets.
23. Jauwaad100 (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Apr 2014)
can you do a comparision on
xperia z2 vs note 10.1 2014 edition