Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Sony's earlier attempts to compete with the iPad and other Android tablets were slightly promising but fell short. Their unique form factor resembled an unraveled burrito, and the plastic look and feel gave it a toylike appeal which didn't really fly for corporate users. With the Xperia Z tablet, we're seeing what Sony is truly capable of.
Here's an exceedingly thin and light Android tablet that sports a quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM and one of the most stunning displays in the market.
But wait, there's more! The Xperia Z is completely waterproof, as in you can dunk it in an aquarium and it won't die. This was demonstrated to me firsthand at the demo. Sony says the Xperia Z is 6.9mm and 495g. It will be available in black or white and in LTE and WiFi versions although we don't know which of these is coming to Canada first.
The Xperia Z is also the first tablet to run on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro asynchronous quad core processor and the big bonus is that it has the highest levels of water resistance (IP55 & IP57) ever delivered in a tablet, making it immune to accidental spills and splashes. Other key features are the 1920 by 1200 resolution and four speakers for a truly immersive tablet sound experience. It is also PlayStation Certified for whenever that program actually comes to fruition.
When Sony Canada showed of the Xperia Z tablet, I was impressed by the sleek new look and feel. While this is a skinny tablet, it still feels like a premium product, light years ahead of what Sony had been churning out in the past few generations of Android tablets. The Xperia Z's front is covered in end-to-end Gorilla Glass 2 and the rear case is swathed in a reassuringly grippy rubber material similar to what BlackBerry uses for its PlayBook.
Surprisingly thin and light, the Xperia Z feels like it has no battery or, more accurately, feels like one of those dummy devices that some retailers have on display. it is when you see that resplendent screen that you realize this is a compact and powerful (and functional) Android tablet.
Xperia Tablet Z includes the very best of Sony technology. With a 10.1” HD WUXGA Display, powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, it delivers enhanced colour reproduction for a brilliant TV-like viewing experience. It also draws upon Sony’s camera expertise with an 8MP rear camera featuring “Exmor R for mobile” as well as a 2MP HD front-facing camera for capturing the best images in any condition. Sony’s S-Force Front Surround 3D, guarantees soul-shaking audio performance alongside Sony’s Clear Audio+ mode and the innovative use of two in-built speakers with four ‘speaker halls’ on the left and right corners delivers amazing sound no matter how it is held. Xperia Tablet Z also includes Battery STAMINA mode, Sony’s unique battery management technology that can significantly improve standby time. The WiFi variant also offers up to 64GB of storage with an optional mircoSD card.
The cameras on the Xperia Z aren't the low-grade cameras we're used to getting from Android tablets but the very best 8 Megapixel shooter that Sony offers. While it is still considered lame to use a 10-inch tablet to shoot photos and videos, at least this one will yield better than average results.
Overall, it is one of the more impressive Android tablets we've seen and a definite innovation in many areas. I look forward to testing the Sony Xperia Z more thoroughly but I am also hoping that Sony applies the design and engineering on upcoming Windows 8 tablets which are the hotter items in the market right now because they're eminently more functional as notebook replacements.