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Last Updated: August 6th, 2013

When I checked out the WiFi-only version of the Xperia Tablet Z I was surprised by how solid it was. One of my main gripes was the old software and the UI that came with it. Well, the first variant of the Tablet Z is now getting an update to Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, and it changes the interface to a hybrid of the old UI and new UI used on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.

Xperia-Tablet-Z-Android-4.2.2 XTZ_New-UI_1 XTZ_New-UI_2

Rather than stuff all the buttons in the corners, the navigation buttons are more centralized now, and the notifications are up at the top like phones and more recent tablets. The app drawer and Google search are still in the upper corners for some reason. The standard 4.2 features are included as well. You can check our review for the previous look.

This update (firmware build number 10.3.1.A.0.244) is currently only working with the LTE version of this tablet. The two WiFi variants are assumed to be next on the update docket, but no word yet.


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Michael Panzer

    This notification pane makes me sick. Why Sony, why? What's wrong with the way it's done in 4.2?
    Looks more like iOs then Android...

    • Tarun Pemmaraju

      What, the Samsungy buttons on top?

      • Michael Panzer

        Samsung is even worse on their Galaxy Tabs 3. There it's the full widht of the device and there we have one prolem.

        On 4.2 you have two first of all and 2ndly they aren't that wide because it's just not good for anything do increase the width of the notification pane.

        This to me looks like changing for the sake of changing something.

      • Josh

        Maybe the fact that it's in the middle?

    • DefaultUser

      Right, because iOS had a notification shade before Android. It has been like this in Android for a long time. It's just that Sony's UI was partly stuck in the Honeycomb era. Glad to see they are starting to get rid of it.
      Why on earth they keep functions like the app launcher and Google search to spread out across different corners baffles me though.

      • Michael Panzer

        up to 4.2 the notification pane was in the lower right corner. Only 4.2 introduced the NotificationBar und the pull down panes.

        • DefaultUser

          I know that. That however was a modification by Sony that made it the way it was in Android 3.0. The notification shade at the top however has been part of Android since 4.0.

          • Walkop

            On tablets. On phones, the notification shade has been there since basically the beginning of time. :-P

          • firesoul453

            or 4.0


      Sony is really bad at designing UIs in general. Both unpractical and ugly.

      • Anzilleo Kristello Mozihim

        It is Google to be blame, not Sony.

        • firesoul453

          Why is it google to blame when its sony's design

          • Anzilleo Kristello Mozihim

            Because Google has removed the Tablet Ui in Android 4.2.

          • firesoul453

            That tablet UI sucked. But I thought you were referring to the actual design in these pictures.

          • Jack

            I love the notifications on Nexus devices. But Sony's colors make it look bad.

          • DefaultUser

            Nothing is stopping Sony from keeping it in their version of 4.2

  • http://www.asus.co.uk/studyinstyle Adam Smith

    Sony have really done a great job this year. I hope they keep on top of things and rise up in the Android World. The Xperia Z line has been amazing. I'm holding out for the Z Ultra, I need a phone/tablet hybrid and it's calling out to me.

    • undercoverduck

      If I had the money to do so, I'd have bought the entire Z series. Amazing design, a spec sheet just right for me (I don't need the highest of the highest), and don't get me started about it being waterproof.

      • http://www.asus.co.uk/studyinstyle Adam Smith

        Yeah waterproofing needs to become a standard. If other OEMs don't adopt it properly then at least Sony can use it as USP.

  • hocestquisumus

    Why... why... WHY GOOGLE? This new UI is stupid. In the 'old' UI you could reach everything with your thumbs on a 10.1 tablet. Now you can't. Uh, progress :(

    • firesoul453

      You talking about android 3.0? No that was dumb. It was too easy to hit the home buttons accidentaly. The new one works great.

    • DefaultUser

      It's not new. It has been like this since Android 4.0.

      • undercoverduck

        Actually, the phone UI being used on tablets is more of a Jelly Bean feature.

        • DefaultUser

          Now that I think about, yeah you're right. 4.1 it is :)

    • undercoverduck

      Although I absolutely hate the wasted space caused by the enormity of the black bars surrounding the navigation buttons, and 2/3 of the notification bar, I actually believe this UI is better. It creates a solidarity between multiple form factors, and parts of the UI, such as the dock, adapt perfectly to the screen size, without causing unfamiliarity.

    • Mark Rich

      Is there a way to reconfigure it back to the way we all loved and was used to it before with the clock bottom right and the back/home buttons in the bottom left?
      Is the an app to help us?

  • bydavidrosen

    Really really really hope this fixes the Bluetooth vs WiFi issue... If you connect a Bluetooth device the WiFi still shows its connected but the speed drops to under 1MB/s. Its practically unusable with Bluetooth devices connected.

  • Matthew Gardner

    But when do we get a real Sony Nexus?

    • firesoul453

      That would be cool!

    • Ror

      All of my money. Before I switched to Android I used SonyEricsson phones for years. The Xperias always had progressive features and designs.

  • Toshik

    What app in notification bar shows temperature and battery data on screenshot 3?

  • hater

    I hate the new UI.... Notification damn ugly, the navigation on center, time moved to top waste space... Old ui everything on below,. Now you need to touch up n down to access, making your hand tired and look busy.... Its not practical for tablet....