Sony Xpe­ria Z3 Tablet Com­pact

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - by JamesLu

Sony’s Xpe­ria Z3 Tablet Com­pact is the com­pany’s first foray into the 8-inch tablet cat­e­gory, putting it in the same bracket as the Ap­ple iPad Mini 3, LG G Pad 8.3, and Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Sony’s Om­ni­Bal­ance de­sign of the Xpe­ria Z range has re­mained mostly un­changed since its in­cep­tion. For­tu­nately, it’s a pretty good look and Z3 Tablet Com­pact car­ries it well.

At just 6.4mm, the Z3 Tablet Com­pact is re­mark­ably skinny - in fact, it’s even thin­ner than the iPad Mini 3, and Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. While its slen­der size does make it look and feel very pre­mium, it does feel slightly frag­ile, and you def­i­nitely don’t want to accidentally sit on it.

The tablet is light too, and can eas­ily be held one­handed for an ex­tended pe­riod of time, as it weighs just 270g, mak­ing it 61g lighter than the iPad Mini 3 and 28g lighter than the Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Sony has been able to keep the weight down by re­duc­ing the amount of metal in the build. The Z3 tablet also loses the glass rear of its smaller smart­phone sib­lings, in fa­vor of a matte, tex­tured plas­tic back. Like all of Sony’s Xpe­ria Z range, the Z3 tablet is com­pletely dust and wa­ter­proof, and is rated IP 65/68. That means you can safely use it at the pool - or even in the pool if you re­ally want.

The Z3 Tablet Com­pact’s 8-inch dis­play has a 16:10 as­pect ra­tio mak­ing it quite a bit longer than it is wide. By com­par­i­son, the iPad Mini has a 4:3 ra­tio, which makes it a bit box­ier. The 16:10 ra­tio makes the Z3 per­fect for watch­ing movies in land­scape ori­en­ta­tion, but con­tent can look slightly stretched in por­trait mode.

The dis­play it­self has a full HD 1,920 x 1,200 pix­els res­o­lu­tion, which gives it 283ppi, lower than both the iPad Mini 3’s Retina dis­play (326ppi) and Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (359ppi). Nev­er­the­less,

while dis­ap­point­ing on pa­per, in re­al­ity the Z3 tablet’s screen is very crisp and sharp for its size, and hon­estly it’s hard to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween it and the iPad Mini 3’s Retina dis­play. The dis­play also has great view­ing an­gles and vivid colors that ri­val that of Sam­sung’s Su­per AMOLED dis­play.

Un­for­tu­nately, cam­era per­for­mance on the tablet is quite poor, with the 8-megapixel rear cam­era a big step down from the 20.7-megapixel shoot­ers you’ll find on the Z3 phones. Ad­di­tion­ally, like the iPad Mini, it doesn’t have an LED flash so you’ll have to pro­vide your own light­ing. The 2-megapixel front-fac­ing cam­era isn’t great ei­ther; it’s just about ac­cept­able for video call­ing, but that’s about it.

The Z3 tablet runs on An­droid 4.4.2 KitKat and in­cludes Sony’s usual en­hance­ments and add-ons. Sony’s stand­out fea­ture is Re­mote Play, which links with your Sony Playsta­tion 4 via Wi-fi and lets you use the tablet as a re­mote dis­play. The PS4 still does all the pro­cess­ing, but it streams the con­tent to your tablet dis­play, let­ting you con­tinue your game while your TV is off or be­ing used for some­thing else, when you don’t feel like get­ting out of bed or, of course, when you’re on the toi­let.

The tablet is pow­ered by a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 801 pro­ces­sor and 3GB RAM. In our bench­mark tests, it per­formed very well, outscor­ing the iPad Mini 3 and Galaxy Tab S 8.4 on most tests. Bat­tery life was also ex­cel­lent, with the Z3 tablet last­ing over ten and a half hours on our video loop­ing bench­mark.

If you’re in the mar­ket for a high-end 8-inch An­droid tablet, right now, you should only be con­sid­er­ing two choices, the Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and the Sony Xpe­ria Z3 Tablet Com­pact. Be­tween the two, the Tab S 8.4 has a slightly larger, higher res­o­lu­tion screen and marginally longer bat­tery life. In all other ar­eas, the Z3 Tablet Com­pact beats it. It has a slim­mer, sleeker and lighter build that makes it more por­ta­ble than the Tab S, and more im­por­tantly, it’s also fully wa­ter­proof so you don’t have to worry about us­ing it at the beach or pool. Fi­nally, if you’ve got a Playsta­tion 4, the choice should be ob­vi­ous - the Z3 has great syn­ergy with the PS4 thanks to its Re­mote Play fea­ture, and its 8-inch screen is just the right size for some in-bed gam­ing.


9.0 /10

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