Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet hands-on
Sony has been on a tear with its smartphone line, since it seems as though they’re constantly releasing devices on a consistent basis. When it comes to their tablet line, however, they’re not as aggressive in terms of their veracity in churning out products. Nevertheless, when they actually out something, it’s typically high-end and highly praised – and that’s exactly what we’re getting from the announcement of the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. Its predecessor really turned heads with its amazing design, but this one continues the trend by even one-upping it in many segments.
From afar, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is a totally new product from the Japanese manufacturer, as it has that distinctive Xperia design language that we are all familiar with. Sure, some people would adore seeing a totally new redesign with this, but honestly, the improvements they’ve made in the design still warrants adulation. Unbelievably, they’ve been able to push the boundaries even further by making it lighter, thinner, and more durable than before.
First and foremost, the thing is amazingly thin and lightweight – with no compromise to the integrity of its construction. Much like all the other products we’ve been seeing from Sony, the Xperia Z2 Tablet employs the same OmniBalance design language of its brethren, which means it’s distinctively an Xperia device of some kind. Holding it in our hand, it’s pretty comfortable to hold, as it bears a soft-touch matte finish – allowing it to repel smudges and fingerprints.
Best of all, it’s still a waterproof tablet, which allows it to endure waterboarding with no major impact to its operation. Therefore, you can literally sing in the rain, while using the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. All in all, the design language is something we’ve come to appreciate, seeing that it combines a premium look with a waterproof nature.
Complementing its premium nature, we also see an improvement made to the display. Flaunting a 10.1-inch FHD TRILUMINOS display with Live Color LED, and the X-Reality for mobile engine, the display comes to life from every angle. Obviously, details are rich thanks in part to 1920 x 1200 resolution, which gives it an enticing pixel density count of 224 ppi.
The most improved part of the display is its color reproduction and viewing angles. With the former, the panel produces a punchy look to give all sorts of colors a fair amount of iridescence in the light – so it essentially graces it with a vibrant appearance. Previously on other Sony displays, the color black would turn to a shade of gray due to their weak viewing angles, but with this, it maintains its dark consistency. Also, its wide viewing angles eliminate any sort of distortion we’ve come across with previous displays from Sony’s portfolio.
Interface and functionality
Even though we see huge gains with the design of the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, there isn’t much movement with its customized Android experience. In fact, it’s the same one we all know and love by now. Thankfully, Sony says that the tablet will launch with Android 4.4 KitKat – so that’s a comforting thought, amongst other things. Naturally, the Xperia UI is something that emphasizes heavily on its design aesthetics.
Looking deeply into it, the experience isn’t heavy on the features, like some other custom Android experience, but instead, it focuses on the visual presentation. We see it in the homescreen obviously, but we see it extended to other things like the Sony Walkman app, and Sony Gallery. Not only is the UI filled from head-to-toe with flashy and colorful elements, but it’s complemented by the eye catching animations that pop up with each action, too.
Processor and memory
Its predecessor was already one heck of a fast performing tablet, but the Xperia Z2 tablet moves in the correct direction by giving us a new piece of silicon under the hood. Specifically, it’s packing a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, coupled with 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU. Needless to say, this thing screams like no other with its performance. As expected, everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) runs smoothly to the point that there’s barely any noticeable level of lag or slowdown with its operation.
True to itself, this one is meant to focus on snapping photos, thanks to its 8.1-megapixel camera that features Sony’s usual Exmor RS sensor, and a front-facing 2.2-megapixel one. Sony says that it caters to all lighting conditions, but we’ll wait to pass judgment until we see actual results for ourselves.
Running the camera app, we’re dealt with the usual staple of shooting modes, that made the experience so enjoyable on other Sony devices. Serious photogs will appreciate the vast collection of shooting modes and manual controls, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with the experience – thanks in part to the rich set of augmented reality shooting modes, that its camera app offers.
One can say that Sony’s tablets are underappreciated in the space, more so when it’s competing with a horde of other prized Android tablets. Nevertheless, they’ve been cognizant by delivering quality products that have a unified footprint for being waterproof. Not only that, but they’ve continued to have a premium element to their design – and this one surely continues that trend with its skinny frame and feather-like weight.
The last piece of the puzzle for now is pricing, which is something that Sony was reluctant to share during its press conference. Despite all of its lovable qualities, its success will hinge on pricing. We’d love to see this one priced around the $500 range, since it’s well in line to compete against some of the notable tablets in the space, but if it’s priced just a smidgen more, it might prove too much for consumers to bear.