25
Feb
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Sony's latest tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z, isn't exactly new. While it was announced for Japan last month, Sony fans have been waiting with bated breath for news on worldwide availability and pricing. Today, we have some more information on that front: the Tablet Z is slated to be released across the globe starting in Q2. Furthermore, the US version of the device (which is Wi-Fi only), will cost $499 for the 16GB version, and $599 for the 32GB.

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So, given that a Nexus 10 is $100 less, has a higher-resolution display, a newer and unmolested version of Android, and very quick software updates in the future, why would one choose the Tablet Z? There are actually a few reasons, potentially. First off, like the Xperia Z smartphone, the Tablet Z is water and dustproof (see photos nearer to bottom of post), and that's always a plus. It also has an IR blaster and Sony's remote app, and a microSD card slot.

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The real kicker, though, is definitely the light weight and extreme thinness of the Tablet Z. It weighs roughly a quarter pound less than a Nexus 10, and is 2mm thinner. Picking up a Tablet Z for the first time will definitely cause you to double-take - it's so light it almost feels like an empty shell. But with a 10.1" tablet, I'd argue that's a good thing. A low weight means it will be easier to hold for longer periods of time, and make you less likely to drop it. It also means it's less likely to shatter when or if it does take a tumble.

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After playing with it for a few minutes, I get the feeling Sony still has some work to do on the software side, though. Even with a powerful Qualcomm S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 1920x1200 display, the Tablet Z occasionally stutters even when swiping homescreens. Perhaps an upcoming Android 4.2 update will address this, but really, after using the Note 8.0, with a substantially less powerful Exynos 4 quad-core processor, the Xperia Tablet Z is undeniably slower than a tablet that will cost significantly less. That said, the Tablet Z is by no means slow - it's just not the fastest slate out there.

The light weight also has a bit of a drawback on its own: battery capacity. While the Nexus 10 offers a 9000mAh pack, the Tablet Z is using a 6000mAh unit - meaning the Nexus 10 has 50% more battery capacity than the Sony.

The display on the Tablet Z was also pretty fantastic, if not as sharp as what you'll get on the Nexus 10. It is, after all, only a 1920x1200 panel. That said, it's probably adequate for most people, and the colors and clarity were pretty terrific. On some international models (like the one we played with), the Tablet Z will feature 3G / 4G LTE connectivity. We aren't expecting that to show up in the US any time soon, though.

So, is a 16GB Sony tablet worth $500? That's still a pretty tough sell in my book, though the Tablet Z is definitely the most 'premium' Android slate I've seen to date. Check out our hands-on video below for more.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://twitter.com/Harsha_Aithal Harsha

    how is the graphic performance of this thing when compared to Nexus 7 ??

    • sillmacka

      Adreno 320 against Tegra 3, adreno wins hands down.

      • barnassey thomas

        Ah not really when loaded its been demostrated that that adreno 225 and 320 stutter. The 2d performance on them tends to be hit or miss.

    • Matthew Fry

      In the grand scheme of things the Mali T604 (N10@2560x1600) the Tegra 3 (N7@1280x800) and the Adreno 320 (N4@1280x768) are close enough that it doesn't really matter. The Adreno 320 @ 1920x1200 might be slightly sluggish in comparison IMO.

  • http://twitter.com/mcmadz Madz™

    ever since android... sony never gets it right.. they could easily kill the competitions, they just never went for it..

    • mehim

      I agree, sony is one of the few companies that has a legit chance to dominate. but for some reason they never got serious in the android market !

      $600 could be acceptable if the device wasn't near standard-android and included some extra features we won't find somewhere else (game-pad, stylus, 64G, USB for PS controllers, indie support) but the only thing that would let me even consider this is the SD slot & the form factor (dust/water proof isn't on my top list even though i live in the mid east)

  • VoiceofSky

    Awesome tablet,amazing build,specs,software even and Features.. but NOT worth $500+ for this thing imo..should of been price starting around the 400 mark .. .. when comparing this to the Likes of the Nexus 10.. N10 is sounding even more intriguingly awesome with a higher screen res,pure android,nfc,miricast ect ect ..for the same price if not cheaper...Maybe its part of what sony was talking about with only bringing out high end stuff to the market?.. But still,500 beans for this is just taking it slightly overboard with other high end offerings for cheaper. :)

  • steins

    perhaps you can give other alternative tablet that more worthed than this ?
    I personally think it's worth $500, though I might wait till its price drop a bit in next couple months.

    I've never bought tablet before, but I think this sony tablet (or similar derivative) might be my first tablet in future.

    that thin & waterproof feature. I can use this tablet in case I forgot to bring umbrella when raining outside :D

  • Lellouchftw

    Kinda disappointing to hear it's laggier than Note 8.0. Still at least you have the option of AOSP roms on Sony.

  • http://twitter.com/mfg68 MFG

    It's inexcusable that a tablet with that much power would have any stutter to it. I'm getting flashbacks to my XOOM and Tab 10.1...

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    Quick observations:
    1. Waterproof + MicroSD slot = !?!??! That's neat
    2. 224 PPI screen and they chose a font that looks pixelated. It's a little thing, but it's noticeable.
    3. Hmm, they are bucking the hybrid UI in favor of the tablet UI. Interesting

  • Goldenpins

    awesome features but the lag turns me off. My next tablet will be a Nexus 10

  • Finaldeath

    Sony lost all my future mobile electronic buisness after what they pulled with the original sony tablet s. Got that thing and have pretty much nothing but problems with it. Was my first tablet and it kinda ruined the whole experience for me, pretty much the same thing happened to me years ago when i bought my first ipod. (ipod touch 2g) When it comes to electronics, they just hate me for some reason.

    • TylerChappell

      Or when it comes to electronics, you are terrible at choosing the better options.

  • RealityCheck2013

    It looks SEXY :P

  • hajmola

    1900x1200 10" screen is "adequate"? I'm liking the way things are going.

  • TechGuy21

    nexus 10 still winning. cant wait for its successor

  • Matthew Fry

    Well... keep in mind that that's half as many pixels as the N10 drives and my N10 literally spends about 80%+ of the battery on the screen so while a 9Ah battery would be nice so it lasts as long as the iPad it should be comparable to the N10 battery life if increased pixel density to battery life is linear.

    edit: I obviously don't know much about batteries or capacities. Isn't 6000mAh two thirds of 9000mAh?

  • HellG

    "a newer and unmolested version of Android"
    my android was touched by sony when i was a kid, i still have nightmares about it :'(

  • TylerChappell

    And here comes Sony, pricing themselves out of the market yet again.

  • Mike Reid

    Finally a 1st world tablet over 5" with FM radio ? Wonderful, I hope FM makes it to the US and Canada. FM transmitter would be a nice touch too.

    Although analog OTA radio may seem archaic to many, I know many people looking to use tablets in their cars, and both receive and transmit functions would be great.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I fully understand the desire for a transmitter, despite the fact that transmitters never really caught on outside of the accessory market. I don't think the receiver is necessarily as good of an idea. A tiny antenna that will fit in the already compact case of a tablet that is then going to possibly be mounted into the enclosure of the dash where it will have even more interference from the body and engine... It'll work, especially if it's fairly close to the broadcast tower, but that much stuff to interfere with the signal is going to cause a very rapid drop-off in quality as range increases.

      • Mike Reid

        I have the only 3rd party paid FM app on Google Play. So I get lots of feedback from people.

        Internal antenna in a tablet is much better than one in a phone. The best FM chips right now do OK with internal antenna, but external via wired headset is always best. In a car, an ideal antenna would be external to the car. Always. And for some people that, or a window antenna is fine.

        For FM transmit my experience is antennas have to be wrapped together at least to get any half decent quality. Limitation of the power levels.

  • perfectlyreasonabletoo

    But does it crash constantly like the Nexus 10?

  • http://www.facebook.com/AqoO.4Ever Kool Shah

    the tablet has only 1 good things its wate/dust proof ohter than that nothing new. if this is $500 why not buy the full windows 8 tablet that dell is selling! sony is making grate products but they are pricing their tablets way overpriced like apple does that thats what is screwing them up. and they want $100 extra for another 16gb of internal space? wtf you can get a 32gb sd for around $15-18 thats just a rip off. I can take a overpriced phone but ta overprice tablet...

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