Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
The Xperia Z4 Tablet is Sony’s latest 10in Android tablet and is the successor to the Japanese tech giant’s Z2 Tablet.
In comparison with Apple’s market-leading iPad Air 2, the Z4 is the same thickness, though a decent 45g lighter, so tops marks to Sony. The Xperia feels great in the hand too, with the weight making it easy to handle.
Sony continues to offer dust- and waterproofing, this time to an IP68 rating, which is the highest available. We’ve got used to the headphone port not needing a cover or flap to keep the moisture out, but now the Micro-USB port doesn’t either, which is a great addition. Only having one flap for cards is ideal as you rarely need to open it.
Aside from the above changes, the design remains the same as the Z2. The bezel that runs around the display doesn’t look great, but means you can hold any side without needing to touch the screen, leaving your fingers in the way.
What we thought was an optional Bluetooth keyboard dock (BKB50) is now bundled with the tablet. This supports tilt and a trackpad for what Sony calls a “premium laptop experience”. The Z4 Tablet slots in easily and you can then adjust the angle or close it just as you would a regular laptop.
It all works smoothly, though there’s a limit to how far back you can tilt the tablet, so it doesn’t topple over. The keyboard is a little flimsy and the keys are small, so it’s not the optimum experience, but you can get a reasonable amount of typing done without pulling your hair out. The trackpad is good and using Android with a mouse cursor makes a lot of sense.
Sony has improved the resolution of its latest 10in tablet to 2560x1600 and boosted the brightness to 500cd/m2. The pixel density of 299ppi is also impressive and outpaces the iPad Air 2’s 264ppi. We were impressed by the ‘Triluminos’ screen and the IPS panel means viewing angles are good, too.
Other hardware upgrades include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, which is both octa-core and 64-bit. There’s 3GB of RAM to accompany it, 32GB of internal storage, while there’s a microSD card slot that’s capable of accepting up to 128GB more.
Performance is also impressive and the Z4 Tablet breezed through our benchmarks (see below) and felt slick in operation.
Additional hardware consists of 11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 and MHL 3.0. Our review unit was a Wi-Fi only model, but you can also opt for a Z4 that offers 3G/4G LTE connectivity if you want data on the go and the ability to make phone calls. It’s not cheap though, and will set you back £579.
The Z4 supports High-Res audio, and like the Z3 range has frontfacing stereo speakers, supports digital noise cancelling, offers automatic headphone compensation and comes with a new LDAC codec that according to Sony transmits data three times more efficiently than Bluetooth.
For photo and video there are 8.1and 5.1Mp cameras back and front. The main shooter uses Sony’s Exmor RS sensor, while the front camera has a wide-angle lens to get more people in the frame.
In our Geekbench 3 battery test, Sony’s tablet lasted an impressive nine hours 53 minutes, with a score of 5933.
The Xperia Z4 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and Sony has kept things vanilla, so the experience is close to that of a Nexus device running stock Android. There’s the Lollipop twostage notification bar and card-style recent apps menu. During testing, we found the software to be slick and responsive.
Sony has preloaded its own apps, including Walkman, Album, PlayStation and Lifelog. The Z4 also comes with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Other third-party apps include AVG Protection, Garmin Navigation, Vine and Kobo Books. Thankfully, you can uninstall them all if you don’t want them.
Xperia Lounge, which has been around for a while now, offers silver and gold tiers with the top level reserved for Z devices. Sony promises content including music, video, cloud storage and software upgrades for the life of the tablet.
As well as the High-Res audio support mentioned earlier, the Xperia Z4 includes PS4 Remote Play enabling you to play PS4 games on the device from the console over the same Wi-Fi network.
The Z4 Tablet is an impressive device and one of the best tablets we’ve tested.