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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review

We review the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. Can this Android tablet compete with the iPad and other high end devices? Find out in our full hands-on test

Sony has decided that as far as its tablets are concerned, thin and light are the key targets it wants to meet. That means the Xperia Tablet Z2 is a mere 6.4mm thick and it weighs just 439g. For a 10.1 inch tablet both those headline statistics are impressive.

There is a price to pay for that thin profile though, and it comes in the shape of a certain fragility to the overall feel.

The overall design is very similar to the previous Tablet Z, and also to the Sony Xperia Z handset line. So, you’ve got a circular power button on the left short edge, alongside a volume rocker.

On the bottom edge there’s a connector for a charge dock which, frankly, rather upsets the smooth lines of the design as it is recessed slightly. The right edge is clear, and on the top there’s a microUSB connector that is protected by a hinged flap, and another hinged flap that covers the microSD card slot and SIM slot. (Not all variants of this tablet support a SIM, but our review sample did). There’s also an infra red port here.

Those hinged flaps let you know that Sony has made the Xperia Z2 Tablet water resistant. Like its namesake handset this tablet can handle being in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.

There’s quite a large bezel round the 10.1-inch screen, and that means the tablet is a bit on the large side. On the other hand, it means you can hold the thing without inadvertently making screen taps.

The screen delivers 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. That is not the high end for a tablet, but it is not a disaster. The screen looks fine with text easy to read, and watching video was not a problem. Sony incorporates its Triluminos and X-Reality technologies to help keep images sharp.

However there are issues. Viewing angles are not great and nor is brightness. You may struggle to use this tablet outdoors in bright sunshine.

You’ll barely notice the two speaker holes on the bottom left and right of the short edges, but they throw out a surprisingly good quality of sound. Technically there is a lot going on here.

The 2.3GH quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 is supported by 3GB of RAM. This is a strong combination, and the tablet is speedy. It is certainly able to render video whether streamed or local without problems, and to cope with high end games too.

You may find internal storage is your biggest issue here. With 16GB built in a fair bit is needed by Android 4.4, Sony’s skin and the various apps Sony pre-loads. This leaves you with 10.3GB for your own uses.

The microSD card slot will come in handy both for your own data and for stills and video you shoot with the 8 megapixel back camera or 2.2 megapixel front camera.

Among Sony’s additions to Android are what it calls small apps – you get to them by tapping the recent apps button at which point an app tray appears along the bottom of the screen. You can then hit an app and it will pop up on top of whatever else you are doing. You can download more small apps from the Play store.

Sony also adds a range of apps to the Android basics. These include its own Walkman, Album, Movies, PlayStation Mobile, What’s New, Video Unlimited, Xperia Lounge and more, as well as a number of other third party apps.

The result is a lot of extras – enough maybe to confuse some people, particularly where their functions duplicate Android ones.

Just as with its handsets, Sony gives the 6,000 mAh battery here a helping hand with Stamina and low battery modes, both of which offer you configurable ways to stretch a failing battery to the limits.

Written by Sandra Vogel