Sony Xpe­ria Z4 Tablet

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - Chris Martin

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.

Ver­dict

The Z4 Tablet is an im­pres­sive de­vice and one of the best tablets we’ve tested.

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