This Sony tablet is excellent, but it does not excite. It is not entirely Sony's fault. Even Apple is finding it tough to make consumers excited about its ubiquitous Apple iPad in a sluggish tablet market.
At least Sony is trying. It changed tack last year by making its tablet more resistant to the elements. The Xperia Z4 Tablet further refines this.
For instance, the tablet's USB port is no longer hidden behind a flap, which is convenient when charging. But the microSD and micro-SIM slots are still protected behind flaps.
The tablet is still rated at IP65 and IP68, so you can take it to the pool. It can be used in freshwater for up to 30 minutes and is safe down to a depth of 1.5m. Just remember to let the USB port dry fully before charging the tablet.
Thinner (6.1mm) and lighter than earlier Sony tablets, the Z4 is as slim as the iPad Air 2 and lighter (393g v 444g). While the Z4's plastic body is not as rigid as the iPad's aluminium chassis, it feels solid enough and does not creak under pressure.
The 10.1-inch screen is now 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, up from 1,920 x 1,200 pixels in earlier versions. In other words, the Z4's pixel density of 299 pixels per inch (ppi) is slightly higher than that of the iPad Air 2's (264ppi).
The rear camera, despite having an 8.1-megapixel sensor, is not good. Images look blurry. But the camera app has interesting features, including an augmented reality mode that lets you replace a person's face with another or add virtual objects and characters to a scene.
Audio from the front speakers at the left and right edges of the tablet (in landscape orientation) is good. It is loud and clear with no distortion, even at maximum volume. Because of its slim build, you can feel the tablet vibrating in your hands.
The Z4 runs the latest Android 5.0, but customised by Sony. It is still fairly vanilla except for a handful of Sony apps. One useful app is PS4 Remote Play, which lets you stream PlayStation 4 games from the console to the tablet.
The best thing about this tablet is its incredible battery life. In our video-loop battery test, it lasted 15hr 22min. And it probably could have gone on for longer if I had turned on the Stamina mode that popped up when the battery approached its limits.
Not so impressive: the $998 price tag for the LTE version. Storage is fixed at 32GB, with no other options. You can insert a microSD card to increase the storage capacity up to 128GB.
An excellent tablet with incremental upgrades. Likely to be a niche product because of its high price.
Price: $998 (LTE), $888 (Wi-Fi)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (2GHz)
Display: 10.1 inches, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
Cameras: 8.1 megapixels (rear), 5.1 megapixels (front)
Storage: 32GB, microSD card up to 128GB
Value for money 2/5
Battery life 5/5
This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
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