While Android smartphones are coming out of the woodworks this year, we haven’t seen many Android tablets this year. Everyone seems to be focusing on smaller, 7-inch form factor tablets and seem to have abandoned the 10-inch space. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z is the only new 10.1-inch Android tablet to launch this year. And with no one to contend against, it is commanding a substantial premium in the market. This is not any run-of-the-mill tablet, though. The care and polish delivered by Sony is simply brilliant as we’ll see in a bit.
Design and build The Xperia Tablet Z creates a new mould for what large-screen tablets should be like. It’s thinner than its pocketable cousin, the Xperia Z, at just 6.9 mm. The Z is also super light at just 496 g, which makes single-handed use a breeze. There’s sufficient amount of bezel on either side of the screen, so you can use it in any orientation comfortably.
Stunning design and stellar build
The power button and the ports are taken from the Xperia Z and we have flaps for every port due to the IP55/IP57 certification. There are two stereo speakers at the bottom for better sound; there’s another one on the side, which kicks in when you enable the "S-Force Front Surround 3D" feature. The audio quality of the speakers isn’t very good, but it’s loud. The flap-covered ports include the microUSB, microSD and SIM and the headphone jack. The sides house the volume rocker, power/sleep button and two contacts points for using it with a dock. While the glossy front does attract fingerprints, the rear has a very nice matte finish that’s available in both white and black trims. This texture extends along the sides as well to offer better grip.
Ergonomically designed and placed ports
The tablet fared pretty well when we took it out for a dip in the rain, which is evident from the video below. The screen is quite unusable, though, since the water droplets cause the capacitance to go crazy. Still, a pretty handy feature to have if you’re the clumsy type.
Features The LED-backlit LCD display on the Tablet Z is a lot better as compared to the one on the Xperia Z. The full HD resolution (1920 x 1200) at that size offers a decent pixel count of 224 ppi. This is not too far off from Apple’s 264 ppi on the new iPad, which means you won’t notice a huge difference between them in everyday use. The display is bright and text is sharp and crisp; perfect for web browsing or catching up on your TV shows. The display also has a screen guard protecting it, just like the Xperia Z, but we left it alone this time.
The UI is highly customised
The Tablet Z is powered by 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm SoC (APQ8064) along with 2GB of RAM. Jelly Bean runs relatively smooth, but we did notice some lag when swiping through the homescreens. This glitch is possibly due to Sony’s heavy skinning of Android and we really hope they fix it soon. The tablet has 16GB of internal memory with the option of adding up to a 64GB microSD card.
In order to make better use of the larger screen real estate, Sony has added a taskbar-esque feature on the top, which remains static across homescreens. At the bottom, we have a selection of floating apps for things like browser, calculator etc. These apps open in movable windows and can be opened above your current app. There’s even an IR blaster in the front; Sony’s Remote Control app lets you set it up to any popular brand of television. You can even set up a remote for a set-top box, DVD, Blu-ray, CD player and lots more.
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1 - 3
The product is bad in almost every aspect. We strongly advise against purchasing this product.
4 - 6
An average product that isn't the best you can buy, but isn't the worst either.
7 - 8
Product with this rating is highly recommended because it's priced sensibly, has a good set of features and performs well.
9 - 10
Exceptionally excellent product with features and performance unlike any we've seen in the past. A must-have for everyone!
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Datawind, the manufacturer who has been awarded the Aakash tablet project in India, has launched the same tablet (the Aakash 3) for the consumer market. Dubbed as Ubislate 7C+, the tablet is the exact same as the Aakash 3 tablet which is subsidised by the Indian government for students.