Interface and functionality

The UI has nothing new to write home about, yet it gets the job done

Unsurprisingly, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact runs Sony's Xperia UI on top of Android 4.4.4. It's one of the custom manufacturer firmwares that are pretty close to stock Android. The lightweight UI will hardly show any signs of lag or the occasional stutter here or there. Unfortunately though, Sony's firmware suffers from a serious lackluster of unique features that make it stand apart from its rivals.

Similar to most of its Android rivals, the tablet boasts a multitasking mode – it allows users of the Z3 Tablet Compact to make use of Sony's so-called Small Apps, which run in hovering overlays atop other apps. By default, these comprise a browser, timer, calculator, and a screenshot tool. You can enrich the Small Apps portfolio by yourself with additional apps and widgets by heading to Google Play and downloading additional ones. You can also convert a widget into a “small app”.

As usual, Sony's Xperia UI interface is customizable thanks to the various on-board themes. Unsurprisingly, Sony has preloaded a number of its own apps on the 8-incher, such as Sony Walkman, Sony Album, Sony Movies, Sony Select, TrackID/TrackID TV, etc. The essential array of Google's apps is also on board. A welcome novelty is the Double Tap to Wake feature, which allows you to wake the device by double-tapping the screen, sans touching the power button. As a whole, Sony's UI is not something to write home about, but it gets the job done.

Processor and memory

Few of its rivals can stand up to the hardware prowess of the slate

Inside the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, one can find a quad-core Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AC (the same that powers the rest of the Xperia Z3 gang), the most potent breed of Qualcomm's 801 chipset, which churns the gears of the 8” slate at up to 2.5GHz. Paired with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM for extreme vigor and an Adreno 330 GPU to crunch through heavy 3D games, Sony's newest tablet is a compact performance monster.

We hardly had any performance issues while tinkering with Sony's water-proof slate. Try as we might, the slate survived almost all of our attempts to make it show any signs of stutter or performance lag. This means that regardless whether you are playing one of the more graphics-intensive games available on Google Play or simply browsing your app drawer, the slate will always perform decently.

The most basic variation of the tablet comes with 16GB of on-board storage (11 of which are available to the end-user), but a 32GB version is available as well (the latter is Wi-Fi only, mind you). You can also make use of an microSD card that's up to 128GB in size.

Quadrant Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 19816.67
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 20517
Google Nexus 9 14814
AnTuTu Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 42089.67
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 32388
Google Nexus 9 56836
Apple iPad mini 3 35513
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 1554
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 1398
Google Nexus 9 2731
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 2942.67
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 2223
Google Nexus 9 6103
Sunspider Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 970.5
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 1059.1
Google Nexus 9 956.8
Apple iPad mini 3 443.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 28.3
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 14
Google Nexus 9 41
Apple iPad mini 3 22.7
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 12
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 2.9
Google Nexus 9 22
Apple iPad mini 3 8.9
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 1125.33
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 856
Google Nexus 9 1929
Apple iPad mini 3 999
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 976
Google Nexus 9 1903
Apple iPad mini 3 1373
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 2743.33
Google Nexus 9 3166
Apple iPad mini 3 2478

Internet and connectivity

All of the hardware potency of the tablet, naturally, results in a more-than-pleasant browsing experience. The Z3 Tablet Compact uses Google Chrome as a default browser, which paves the way for a smooth and issue-free user experience.

Connectivity-wise, we are dealing with two different variations of the slate, with either LTE/3G and Wi-Fi or just Wi-Fi on board. The former comes with a nano SIM card slot and can reach Cat 4 LTE speed of up to 150Mbps, HSDPA+ speed of 42.2Mbps, and HSUPA speed of 5.76Mbps. Just as one would expect, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/A-GPS, are also in the bag of connectivity features in both versions of the slate.

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