Sony is no stranger to making tablets. Its first efforts in the field were somewhat rough around the edges and couldn't make much of an impact on the market, but that didn't stop the Japanese tech giant from launching new, better models. Eventually, the Xperia Tablet Z came to being, met by overly positive feedback after its release, followed by the Xperia Z2 Tablet, which just scored a solid 9 out of 10 in our in-depth review.

So yeah, the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is undoubtedly a great slate to spend your money on. However, it is far from the only option for those looking for a high-end tablet, and Apple's highly-acclaimed iPad Air is among its toughest competitors. Now it is time to find out which of these two slates is better. Both the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and the iPad Air have a lot of bang to offer for their money, so the fight is surely going to be an exciting one. Let's dive into it!


We had a good reason to label the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet as an engineering marvel in our in-depth review. It isn't just one of the very few water-resistant tablets on the market. At 15 ounces (426 grams) for the Wi-Fi-only version, Sony's newest slate is the thinnest and lightest 10-incher that we've ever laid our hands on, beating even the feather-light iPad Air in that respect by a considerable margin. It is also the thinnest slate around, with its astoundingly slim waistline of just a quarter of an inch (6.4 millimeters). As a result, the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is extremely easy to operate, be it in portrait or landscape orientation. And speaking of usability, the sizable side bezels may not look pretty, but they leave welcome room for our thumbs to rest on without touching the screen by accident. One thing we're not happy with, however, is the soft-touch finish on the slate's back. Sure, it provides a lot of grip, but finger traces stick too easily to its surface.

As for the iPad Air, its weight of 16.86 ounces (478 grams) and thickness of 0.3 inches (7.5 millimeters) rank it a step behind the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. On one hand, figures like these are remarkable for a metal-made tablet of such size, but on the other hand, we have to admit that we find the Xperia Z2 Tablet a tad easier to handle. Still, the iPad Air has its advantages over Sony's slate. One of them is that Apple's fifth generation iPad is the better-looking tablet among the two thanks to its slimmer bezels and gorgeous aluminum shell. What's more, Apple's iPad stands in a league of its own, even ahead of the Xperia Z2 Tablet, with its solid feel and immaculate build quality.

Sony has placed the power and volume keys on the left side of the Xperia Z2 Tablet, which makes them easy to access when needed. On the tablet's top side we have a microSD card slot and a micro USB port, both of which are protected by removable flaps to ensure the water-tightness of the device. And at the bottom we see a rather unpleasant-looking docking port and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. The tablet's navigation buttons are built into the Android UI.

The iPad Air has a well-exposed power key on its top side, complemented by volume and mute keys on the right. All provide excellent tactile feedback, as any physical key should. Same can be said about the physical “Home” key below the device's display. Charging the iPad Air is done via Apple's proprietary Lightning port, placed at the bottom side of the tablet. The port itself is designed well, but works only with Apple's own Lightning cable, while the Z2 Tablet is compatible with any generic micro USB cable you have lying around.


The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has a 10.1-inch display with a resolution of 1920 by 1200 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 224 pixels per inch. Given the fact that we're handling a tablet positioned in the high-end category, we'd say that the latter figure is rather unimpressive, especially knowing that some slates have already exceeded the 300 ppi mark with their screens. Should that bother you? Well, not much, to be perfectly honest. After all, a ppi figure of this magnitude is sufficient for most user's needs. When the tablet is held at a normal distance from the user's eyes, pixelation is close to unnoticeable. Still, the iPad Air has the upper hand when it comes to pixel count. Its 9.7-inch display has a resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels, which translates into 264 ppi. Unsurprisingly, the iPad's screen can pump out a slightly more detailed image, but it isn't leading by all that much, at least not on a perceptual level.

Even though both tablets' screens are based on IPS LCD technology, there are some slight visual discrepancies between the two. The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has a color temperature that gets closer to the reference mark of 6500 Kelvins, resulting in better representation of whites. On the other hand, Delta E figures are in favor of the iPad Air, which means that Apple's tablet has slightly more accurate colors. We don't mean to say that the slightly more pumped up color representation on the Z2 Tablet's screen is unpleasant. In reality, both screens look great and are ideal for any task from watching photos or videos, or reading lengthy articles on the internet. Now would be a good time to mention that both screens produce a pretty high brightness output. We measured a figure of 417 nits for the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and 426 for the iPad Air. Both these figures and our real-life tests confirm that the tablets are usable even on a bright sunny day.



1. The13thKing

Posts: 849; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

Apple iPad Air.

2. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Nexus 7 2013 is still the best tablet - dollar for dollar...

5. theizzz

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 01, 2013

can't wait to see how the N8 will stand up to the N7 2013

15. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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: 361; Member since: May 31, 2013

Comparing a Nexus 7 with a iPad Air, yeah that makes sense.

14. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

well, at least to the Mini

3. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

4. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

I prefer iPad Air. But both really good.

7. romeo1

Posts: 824; Member since: Jan 06, 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

8. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

Tablet Z2 anyday.

9. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Nick, is that Infiniti QX70 yours? :D

10. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 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: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

iPad Air ain't laggy, at least it's smoother than my Nexus 7 (2013) which is already buttery smooth #personalreallifeexperience #non-applehater

11. datphoneguy

Posts: 155; Member since: Sep 15, 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 unregistered

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: Mar 31, 2010

good for you - you broke away from that walled garden...

19. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

+1000000 hahaha I like that "walled garden"

17. rangoj

Posts: 46; Member since: Mar 29, 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: Mar 31, 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: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 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: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 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: Jan 18, 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: Apr 01, 2014

can you do a comparision on xperia z2 vs note 10.1 2014 edition

24. jb4674

Posts: 145; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

POS iPad...


Posts: 17; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

Xperia Tablet Z2 IS The BEST.

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