Sony Xperia Tablet Z – super thin, super light and waterproof

The Sony Xperia Tablet Z – what is it?

This is a high-end Android tablet from Sony. It has a classy design and lots of attention grabbing gimmicks. It’s a full 10-inch tablet but is the lightest in the 10-inch arena. Comparable to both the Note 10.1 and the Apple iPad, this tablet is made for those who want to full-sized, high-powered tablet experience with all the extras.

Sony hasn’t released a UK price yet, but we expect to cost about the same as other 10-inch tablets when it goes on sale in May.

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The following is not a review, but our first impressions of the product based on a short time using it. Pricing and availability is tentative and subject to change.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z – what are the three things I need to know?

  1. This tablet’s a featherweight
    At just 490g, it’s the lightest 10-inch tablet on the market. It’s noticeably lighter than the 654g iPad and is comfortable to hold in one hand. It’s a mere 6.9mm thick – giving it a very sleek appearance. Some may think that this is too light – taking away from the quality feel.
  2. You can take it for a bath
    As long as the ports are tightly shut preventing water from seeping in, that is. This tablet is waterproof to a depth of 1m and will survive a 30 minute swim in water. We watched the tablet take a quick dip in a container of water at the stand and it survived to tell the tale – watch our video for a demo.
  3. It works with ‘one touch connection’ with other NFC gadgets
    This means that if you hold it near any NFC (near field communication) enabled device, it will talk wirelessly to the device and connect instantly. This is useful if you have an NFC hard drive for example – simply hold the tablet near the hard drive for instant backup over the air.  This isn’t totally unique – easy connectivity is a key theme on display at many of the stands here at Mobile World Congress, but it should prove to be useful.

Which? expert first impressions – a sophisticated tablet

I love the sleek design of the Sony tablet. The screen turns completely black when off – giving it a classy look. Sony tell me this is based on simplistic Nordic design and I think it really works.

The screen doesn’t quite match-up to high resolution of the iPad screen – it’s only 1,980 x 1,200, but it looks bright and crisp and has good viewing angles. It’s pretty speedy when scrolling through apps and playing video thanks to the 1.5GHz quad-core processor, which should be enough to handle most tasks with ease.

It has an 2Mp front-facing camera and an 8Mp rear-camera – which beats that of the iPad. I’m not sure how many people really walk around wielding their tablet to take photos, but this could be a useful feature and we like to see improvements on camera specifications.

It is compatible with 4G – meaning that you’ll have access to super fast mobile broadband if you opt for the LTE version.

One main drawback is the fiddly ports. The covers fit tightly to stop water from getting in, but when you want to quickly plug it in to charge you have to mess about with the ports first. In fact, we found them so difficult to open that they had to stay closed for our video. Here I feel the practicality suffers at the hands of the novelty waterproofing.

The other sticking point is likely to be the price.  There are no specifics but Sony warns it’s likely to be eye-watering.

Overall, this looks like a contender to the iPad – but we’ll have to wait until we get it into the lab to see how well it stacks up.
Jessica Moreton, Senior technology Researcher

MWC 2013 FAQ

What is MWC 2013?
MWC is short for Mobile World Congress – it’s the main annual mobile tech trade show, where the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, Nokia and many more come to launch their new smartphones and tablets.

Why does Which? attend?
It gives us an insight into what’s coming in the year ahead, so we can ensure we’re testing the right products in the right way. We also use the time to speak to technology companies to ensure they’re listening to consumer needs.

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