We attended a Sony Canada event last week and had the opportunity to go hands-on with the company's new Snapdragon 801-powered, waterproof, dust-resistant Xperia Z2 Tablet - the followup to last generation's well-recieved Xperia Tablet Z.
The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet was announced last week at MWC as the successor to last year's well-received Xperia Tablet Z. The Z2 is both thinner and lighter than the already-svelte Tablet Z, and it’s now waterproof, rather than just water-resistant. Moreover, the Tablet Z’s 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC gets upgraded to the latest and greatest from Qualcomm: the Snapdragon 801. While the screen's 1920x1200 native resolution is the same, the Z2 sports an IPS panel, yielding much better viewing angles.
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Tech Specs
Given its hardware foundation, we can't expect the Z2 to be substantially faster than other Snapdragon 800-based tablets. However, the fact that Sony stuck with a 1920x1200 panel, rather than a higher resolution display, means that the SoC doesn't have any extra work to do, which should be good for its real-world performance.
The Z2 is powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 801 SoC, which is an update to the already very powerful Snapdragon 800 - the 801 sports a faster GPU clock among other improvements. We’ll be posting an in-depth preview of the 801, which will have performance benchmarks of the Z2 Tablet, so look for that here on Tom’s Hardware real soon.
Equipped with 3 GB of RAM and the option of either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, the rest of the Z2’s specs are pretty standard. Its 6000 mAh non-removable battery isn’t that big for a 10” tablet considering that one of the Z2’s immediate competitors, the new Samsung TabPro 10.1”, has a 8220 mAh battery. Still, we're expecting stellar battery life from the Z2 Tablet, knowing its underlying platform.
Along with its impressive internals, there are a few other specs that make the Z2 Tablet stand out from its peers. For starters, it’s freakishly thin at only 6.4 mm. That’s slightly slimmer than the Tablet Z’s 6.9 mm, a fair amount thinner than the iPad Air’s 7.5 mm, and still narrower than the Tab Pro 10.1’s 7.3 mm.
The Z2 is also extremely light, at 426 g for the Wi-Fi model. This is less than the original Tablet Z’s 495 g and the iPad Air’s 469 g (Wi-Fi model). Sony boasts that its Z2 Tablet is completely dust and waterproof, with an impressive IP55/IP58 rating. The company claims that it can be submerged one and a half meters deep for up to 30 minutes. As a Canadian, this level of water resistance comes in pretty handy if I accidentally drop the Z2 into the snow.
|Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet|
|SoC||Wi-Fi Model: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (APQ8074 MSM8074AB)|
LTE Model: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (APQ8074 MSM8974AB)
|CPU Core||Krait 400 (quad-core) @ 2.36 GHz|
|GPU Core||Adreno 330 (quad-core) @ 550 MHz|
|Memory||3 GB LPDDR3-1866|
|Display||10.1" IPS TFT @ 1920x1200 (224 ppi)|
|Storage||16 GB / 32 GB|
|Battery||6000 mAh (non-removable)|
|Camera||Front: 2.2 MP|
Rear: 8.1 MP w/ Exmor RS Sensor
|Expansion||USB 2.0 / microSD|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, IR|
LTE Model: 700/800/850/900/1700/7800/1900/2100/2600 MHz
|Operating System||Google Android 4.4.1 w/ Sony UI|
|Dimensions||6.8 x 10.47 x 0.25 inches (172 x 266 x 6.4 mm)|
|Weight||Wi-Fi Model: 15.03 oz (426 g)|
LTE Model: 15.49 oz (439 g)
|Other||IPX5/8 Waterproof / IP5X Dust Resistant|
Although Sony Canada wasn’t able to share any pricing or availability info at the event, the fact that the Z2 was even there leads us to believe that availability is close at hand.
In the video below, we give you a brief tour of the Xperia Z2 Tablet’s hardware and software. Again, keep in mind that this is a pre-production unit, so anything you see may be subject to change before the Z2’s actual launch.
While there were a few crashes as we ran our tests, that’s to be expected from any device running unfinished software. Overall, the Z2 Tablet provided a smooth and enjoyable Android experience. When you pick it up, the tablet's almost unbelievable thinness and lightness becomes quite apparent. The fact that it is also completely waterproof adds to the overall positive impression. This is an attractive device, and it conveys quality construction.
A Worthy Successor To The Xperia Tablet Z
We definitely enjoyed the short amount of time we spent the the Xperia Z2 Tablet. Last year’s Sony Tablet Z was already a well-built and attractive Android 10”, and the Z2 builds on those strengths. It’s thinner, lighter, faster, and now fully waterproof. Sony also addressed one of the biggest complaints about both their tablets and phones, namely the poor viewing angle. By finally going with IPS panels, we now have a screen that matches the quality shown in the rest of the tablet.
What remains to be seen is the pricing and availability. With smaller Android tablets now taking the up the majority of the mind and market share of Android tablets, larger devices like the Z2 could increasingly be seen as niche devices. We think that Sony will have to get pretty aggressive with pricing if the company hopes for the Z2 Tablet to be a success.
Aside from aesthetics and features that come with being a Sony Xperia device, arguably one of the biggest draws for the Z2 Tablet is that it’s one of the first sporting the new Snapdragon 801 SoC. However, there is quite a bit of contradictory information out there as to what the 801 exactly is, with manufacturer's even referring to the same SKUs as Snapdragon 800 and Snapdragon 801 almost interchangeably. So, in order to find out exactly what's going on, we’re putting together a performance preview of Snapdragon 801 based on our Z2 test results, so check back with us soon.
For more on Sony's latest generation of mobiles, check out our look at the Xperia Z2 smartphone.