Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact hands-on: a compelling and slim 8-inch slate that's not afraid of the water
Along with the Xperia Z3 and its smaller peer, the Xperia Z3 Compact, Sony also unwrapped its newest tablet, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, at IFA today. Although the bigger portion of the media buzz was targeted towards the smartphone duo, the tablet is pretty interesting on its own and deserves a hefty portion of attention as well. Fortunately, we had the opportunity for some first-hand experience with the 8-inch tablet.
Being a proud member of Sony's newest Xperia lineup, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact flaunts the same design language as its smartphone peers. Then again, it's an 8-inch slate, so it's a lot bigger than the aforementioned devices, but as a whole, its design and exterior hardware features are the same. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is, in fact, on par with the Xperia Z2 Tablet in terms of thickness – 6.4mm, which makes them both the slimmest slates at the moment. Apart from being abnormally slim, the Z3 Tablet Compact is also 213.4 mm high and 123.6 mm wide.
Sony's new 8” slate has a matte back cover, similar to the one of the Xperia Z3, which makes it somewhat unexciting, but at least it's smudge-proof – touch it all you want, you'd hardly see a fingerprint on the back of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.
The whole shebang is also surprisingly light – with 270 gr, it's among the lightest tablets in the 8-inch display segment. Fortunately, the extremely compact overall dimensions of the tablet have not prevented Sony from putting a 4,500mAh battery under the hood. Similar to the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact, Sony's new compact tablet is also endowed with dust- and water-proof capabilities, courtesy of the IP65/68 certification aboard. This means that it will survive a submarine drop for up to 30 minutes in up to 1.5 meters of water and live to tell the tale. As a whole, Sony deserves credit for making such an extremely slim device that waterproof.
Sony did not change the horses in the middle of the stream in the display department of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact - it's coming with an 8-inch Triluminos display with a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels, which is similar to the one of the Xperia Z3. The bigger display and the same resolution have, however, resulted in a pixel density of 283ppi. Sony's 8-inch slate has an extremely bright display and has excellent color reproduction, but we have hardly doubted Sony's capabilities in this department section. At first sight, the viewing angles are excellent, too. However, we would not jump to conclusions until we can put its display to the test.
Unsurprisingly, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is coming with the latest build of Google's OS - Android 4.4.4 KitKat - aboard, with Sony's own user interface running on top of it. As usual with Sony, the interface does not stray much away from stock Android - don't expect to see a hodgepodge of often-unnecessary features and clutter in the interface section. On the contrary, the on-board features are similar to the ones of the Xperia Z3 - we have Stamina Mode, xLOUD, ClearPhase. That said, we keep our hopes high that Android L will eventually make its way to the compelling Sony 8-incher.
Processor and memory
We have the highest breed of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 on board of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact - the quad-core MSM8974-AC, which flies at no more or less than 2.5GHz. This is more than enough to pave the way for a lagless, hassle-free user experience with the device. Then again, there is no Snapdragon 805 inside, but frankly said, it doesn't feel like the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact needs a more powerful tablet. In addition, the more-than-generous amount of 3GB of RAM will surely provide a great multi-tasking experience. The device comes with 16GB of on-board storage, which is expandable via a microSD card (up to 128GB ones are supported, mind you).
The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact comes with a 8.1MP camera with an Exmor RS sensors, while a 2.2MP front-facing cam paves the way for adequate selfies. We will have to test the camera goodness of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact before we can give a verdict, but from the looks of it, the slate probably won't disappoint. The camera interface is also endowed with some new features and functionalities, which, along with Sony's new media-centric apps, make sure that the Z3 Tablet Compact has something something to woo you with in this department.
Well, that's it! The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is already official, after a plethora of rumors and speculations. Sony already revealed that the device that will be available from this autumn, and will surely give the most compact tablets of Sony's rivals a run for their money. If you are looking for a compact, yet decently-powerful and premium-looking tablet, then you should be keeping tabs on the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. It seems like it will be priced at €379 or £329 (before taxes and subsidies, of course). Watch out, Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and LG G Pad 8.0!