24
Feb
z2tabthumb

Sony announced its new Xperia Z2 Tablet here at Mobile World Congress, so we swung by their booth on the show floor to get a hands-on with the next tablet flagship. This is the successor to the Tablet Z, now more fully aligned with the leading Sony phone in both name and hardware.

The first thing you notice when you pick up the Z2 Tablet is that it is thin. Crazy thin - 6.4mm, in fact, thinner than the previous tablet, thinner than any phone you're likely to get your hands on in the United States, thinner than the iPad Air by more than a millimeter, and lighter as well at only 425 grams. It doesn't quite have the "almost forget it's in your bag" quality of an e-ink reader, but it's close. It should make extended use sessions considerably more comfortable, no matter what you happen to be doing.

wm_DSC01914 wm_DSC01929 wm_DSC01932

The next thing you'll notice is the matte back, which attracts fingerprints instantly (at least on the black version). Aesthetically it's fine, and fits in very well with Sony's angular look, but use this thing for more than ten minutes without a case and it's going to look like you've had it for years. The rest of the tablet is typically Sony - a compliment - with a wide array of features crammed into a mostly nondescript and utilitarian package. These include standard buttons, a MicroSD card slot, and a port for Sony's proprietary docks and cases.

wm_DSC01934

The screen is 10.1 inches and 1080p, which is perfectly serviceable, but won't stand up to the latest 10-inch tablets in terms of pure pixel density. That said, the display is still very good, delivering rich colors without the oversaturation of some other tablets. Viewing angles are excellent as well. The front of the device does have some quite large bezels (which no doubt helped contribute to that slinky frame), making the footprint wide and tall for a tablet in this class.

wm_DSC01925

Inside, the Z2 Tablet is nothing less than a powerhouse, with the latest Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM. Even so, the tablet seems to stutter just a bit under Android 4.4 and Sony's proprietary UI. That's not uncomon for custom overlays, but I hope they get those small issues worked out before release. The changes Sony has made to its interface are minimal - if you can't stand anything but AOSP, you'll hate it, but if Sony's software appeals to you, there's nothing here that will make you lose faith.

wm_DSC01916 wm_DSC01927 wm_DSC01905

The Z2 Tablet uses an 8MP camera on the back and a 2MP shooter on the front. This is pretty good in the tablet space, but for something that's being marketed as premium I would have loved to see Sony put the 20.7MP sensor from the Z1 and Z2 in there. That's a pipe dream I suppose, but the 6000mAh battery crammed into that super-skinny body is a good reason to forget it. Considering the high-end hardware and the resolution of the screen, it should be an excellent all-day runner, though of course we don't have time to test that here at Mobile World Congress.

The Xperia Z2 tablet is scheduled to go on sale starting in March in 16GB, 32GB, and 16GB LTE versions. Details on an American release are hard to come by, but based on some early European pricing, I'd expect it to come in at about $450 for the base model.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Clint P

    Wow, that looks amazingly thin...

  • RTWright

    I do believe the term "Matte" Black is a dull finish where "High Gloss" is more like what you're holding there.

  • Jephri

    I won the original tablet z in contest at work. I intended to sell it after playing with it for a few days. After the first day I was in love. It is so sleek and light and the waterproofing meant I could use it places where I had never thought to use my N7. I don't know if I feel compelled to upgrade to the Z2, but I would recommend it to anyone wanting a 10 inch tablet.

    • Lazer Bear

      Places like.. in the shower? :P Sorry but I had to ask!

      • Jephri

        In the kitchen while cooking, in the bathtub watching netflix, outside on a drizzly day. It really can't be overstated how wonderful it is to have a waterproof device until you have one.

        • Ambroos

          Indeed, I feel the same with my Xperia Z and Z1. It's not a matter of omg-underwater-photos-are-awesome, it's just the peace of mind when there's some light rain or some risk of splashing that's the best thing about it.

  • TheSparks

    Man I can only hope for a Xperia Nexus!

    • Justin W

      I'd hop on that. These Z2 devices look amazing.

  • Jephri

    What was that icon that popped up when you activated Google now? It looked like several colorful bars. I would love to see what that button does.

  • JT

    Where is the updated nexus 10?!

  • Kwills88

    I would kill for a 8inch version of this.

    • Suman Gandham

      With much smaller bezels :p

    • aldisiij367

      My Uncle Caleb just got red Ford Focus ST
      by working off of a computer. try this C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

  • jremy

    Pretty impressive! I was holding out for a new nexus 10 but this might be the one for me.I would love to see a gpe of this.

  • Rovex

    'Even so, the tablet seems to stutter just a bit under Android 4.4 and
    Sony's proprietary UI. That's not uncomon for custom overlays,'

    Yeah it not uncommon on Nexus' either..

    • Stefan Eckhardt

      Depends on the device. The Nexus 10 was a bit underpowered for the resolution jump, and the old nexus 7 had a Tegra 3, which always sucked a bit, especially when paired with slow Flash like Asus did on the 2012 edition.

      The Galaxy Nexus is fine, can't keep up in power (thus framerates) with newer devices but does not stutter, OMAP4 well matched for its resolution. The newer Nexus 7 and the Nexus 5 are just buttery smooth, never held a Nexus 4 but should be almost comparable to the Nexus 7 2013.

      • Rovex

        I guess butter is not the same everywhere, the N5 does stutter here and there.

        • Stefan Eckhardt

          Then we are at a "there is no butter" point in this discussion. I have seen an iPhone 5 stutter on occasions. And that is considered by many as buttery smooth. Butter can be frozen for example, but that doesn't make it any less smooth on almost any other occasion.

          • Rovex

            I dont care about the iPhone. The N5 stutters and lags in scrolling widgets, more than my G2 in fact. Indeed it does it everywhere.

          • Stefan Eckhardt

            Maybe you had the N5 in hands before patch 4.4.2, with the original Kitkat it did stutter, now it is as good as it gets. You will always be able to find certain apps that being any device down due to shoddy software design. The things that can work smoothly work smoothly.

          • Rovex

            No my N5 had 4.4.2, still wasn't impressed by it's speed.

          • Stefan Eckhardt

            Well, then I guess then you will have to wait 20 years for devices to become acceptable to your taste. I'd say your avatar is a very good match.

          • Rovex

            My LG G2 is fine, because its better optimised, the Nexus line is just not very good.

          • Stefan Eckhardt

            Same chipset, same resolution, same manufacturer, one has software that is based on an older version of the other one's software plus a few additions, yet you call it noticeably faster. Very plausible, sir! Not sure what you did to "your" N5 (buying and selling phones much?) but mine is buttery smooth, and I do have keen eyes for that.

          • Rovex

            FAR more to it than that FAR more.

            Drivers. Qualcomm have different levels of drivers and software for its chipsets, google will not license the best ones due to cost, LG will. The Qualcomm optimised Dalvik that is in OEM phones isnt in the Nexus, indeed its an easy match for ART, let alone the standard Google dalvik. Many have tested it, its faster.

            Kernel optimisation. Much of LGs custom software needs an LG kernel. More hardware acceleration, better memory handling, different throttling limits, added features, any number of things. Rememeber Stock Amndroid is the simplest and least featured version of Android there is, many OEMs add features (like TRIM), before Google adds official support.

            The Nexus runs Google stock Android, its rarely very well optimised as it is. OEMs modify and improve Android for their phones, thats often why updates take time, they have improvements to make first, they are in effect custom ROMs and better than Googles often buggy offerings. LGs reworked 4.2.2 is better than Googles 4.4.2, its that simple.

          • Stefan Eckhardt

            Who says I don't have a custom ROM on mine? That might explain what happened on your end, if Google really uses that much less optimization. Never considered that path, been using custom ROMs on all my devices for years.

          • Rovex

            All have I, but you can extend the G2s advantage over the nexus with its custom ROMs.

          • Fundy fish

            The nexus 5 destroys the lg g2 in terms of development on xda... Better , faster roms and much better kernels too. And there's a shit ton of them.

          • Rovex

            So, quality over quantity. Most nexus development is just kangs of each other. I guess you don't realist many G2 kernels are N5 based. Either way the G2 is better, no custom ROM or kernel for the N5 makes it better.

          • Fundy fish

            Well the nexus has the upper hand in both quality and quantity so... And you're wrong again with a custom ROM you can include all the patches on the g2 on the n5 so when rooted and moddrd they are effectively the same speed.

          • Rovex

            You dont need 500 crappy ROMs, you only need one good one, I have that, and it makes the N5 look retarded next to the G2. I have never seen the micro-stutter completely gone from the N5, i have none on my G2. Im very sensitive to it, so if you cant see it on the N5 then you have no argument to make.

            Even if what you sad was true, which it isnt, the N5 still has the horrible screen, cheap build, very average camera, sound quality issues, crappy battery and dull design. Its junk, easily the worst Nexus ever..

          • Fundy fish

            The only reason the g2 beats the n5 is because of the propeitory dalvik patches that google refuses to use as its trying to keep the nexus line as open source as possible.

          • Rovex

            Open is no good if it means it's slow and shit. I don't care why it's better, I just care that it is.

  • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

    I want a GPE of this..my nexus 10 is a struggling abit now in terms of performance

  • hocestquisumus

    I'd rather have no stupid back cam on a tablet at all. That money and the space it takes up could be put to better use.

    • Unknown182

      This. I never use the low quality back cams on tablets and people look ridiculous when they use it. I'd rather it be on the front facing camera for Skype and what not.

  • Pamela

    Do you think the white version will become permanently dirt-grey because of the surface texture?

  • http://www.mjmash.com/ Mukul Rana

    I love Sony gadgets, if sony putted 20MP camera in Z2 tablet, then it will be the best ever tablet, however it good with 8 MP too. Nice product.