back to article Sony Xperia Tablet Z: Our new top Android ten-incher

Not so long ago, Sony declared its aim to be the second most popular tablet vendor after Apple. More recently, that morphed into an ambition to sell the most mobile devices after Apple and Samsung. If both those targets are not to be consigned to the rubbish bin of ill-advised statements, Sony’s phones and tablets need to start …

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  1. Roger B

    Well Done Sony

    Well done for introducing a tablet that has some basic IP rating, hopefully more phone and tablet manufacturers follow suit and introduce something which I really think should be a standard feature. We get so many phones and tablets in at work that have water damage and opening them up the grot inside is just nasty. Next, just add some kind of shock protection on the corners please.

    It pains me to admit it, but Sony do seem to be making an effort to win over consumers with their current range of devices, PS4 (bleh) included.

    1. pepper

      Re: Well Done Sony

      I painfully have to admit that yes, Sony is cranking out good phones and tablets. A friend of mine got his first smartphone a couple of months ago, and the choice was a Sony, mostly because its one of the few phones with a physical keyboard, but it turned out to be quite a decent machine! Not that I want to replace my N900 yet, and I have vouched not to buy anything from Sony... But still, not much choice in the physical keyboard arena for smartphones.

    2. Doug Bostrom

      Re: Well Done Sony

      Yes, thumbs up on the water-resistance. Tablets are akin to wristwatches; what accompanies a person as a ubiquitous accessory should hopefully be at least as water-resistant as that person. As one example, it's worth noting that for better or worse tablets are finding a receptive audience with professional and amateur mariners because a plethora of expensive hardware can be replaced with marine-oriented software combined with tablets. The same tablets are used ashore for more prosaic activities. Tablets with inherent durability not requiring an awkward case will find a ready market.

  2. Shagbag

    "It's a Sony"

    CD root kit.

    PS3 Other OS.

    No thanks Sony. In fact, you can politely go and do yourself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "It's a Sony"

      Yawn... Come back when you have grown up.

    2. Piro
      FAIL

      Re: "It's a Sony"

      That's right, all parts of a large multinational are connected to each other, and closely consult on every decision.

      It's not like any other companies you buy anything from have arms that do things you may not like. No sir.

      1. Steve I
        Go

        Re: "It's a Sony"

        Yeah - down with Sony. Let's not forget the whole 'Pearl Harbour' thing on our trip down Memory Lane...

        1. Nigel 11
          Flame

          Re: "It's a Sony"

          Let's not forget the whole 'Pearl Harbour' thing on our trip down Memory Lane...

          That's a very silly straw man. If I were convinced that nobody still worked at Sony who bore responsiblity for the betrayals of trust Sony inflicted on us, I'd start considering the purchase of their products again. They might have sacked everyone responsible, all the way up to the board. Most employers call deliberate criminality "gross misconduct". Sony didn't.

          It's a personal choice. I'm denying them my money in revenge for the chunk of my life that their rootkit activities wasted (by making my work environment generally less pleasant). I'm glad to see, so are quite a few others.

          1. Nigel 11

            Re: "It's a Sony"

            I also have another reason for not buying Sony. It's the heap of unrepairable broken-down Sony laptops that was in my office until they recently got carted away as scrap. There's no corresponding heap of broken-down Toshibas or IBMs. Of late, I've been replacing lots of Sony-branded CDRW and DVDRW drives in desktop systems. Not just a single "lemon" model, either. Samsung drives of similar vintages are soldiering on.

    3. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: "It's a Sony"

      As corporate transgressions go, it's rather minor. Whenever an IBM story comes up in The Register, nobody mentions the, you know, the 'Nazi' thing, do they?

    4. Parax

      Re: "It's a Sony"

      The quicker you forgive and forget the sooner they will screw you over again.

      I'm with the OP, different reasons, but I'm still a no go when it comes to Sony.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "It's a Sony"

        wow sony fans are out in force today.

    5. Lunatik

      Re: "It's a Sony"

      After rootkit, PSN hacking and other issues, not least broken promises from Sony over Android updates to 2011-vintage phones, I swore off Sony until they'd sharpened up their act.

      I admit I'm surprised that they seem to be doing their level best to appeal to consumers again what with the PS4 and a renewed commitment to Android as an open and updateable platform for their devices.

      This is quite a turnaround, maybe the shock of seeing all that red ink on their balance sheet over the past few years really has forced them to turn over a new leaf?

    6. Dave Stevens

      Re: "It's a Sony"

      CD root kit.

      PS3 Other OS.

      The Other OS was a way to let folks experiment with the Cell architecture or do massive computations on the cheap. I've used Yellow Dog Linux on PPC boxes extensively, but at home? That does not compute. I think a coworker booted it once for kicks and that was it for him. Kinda like trying out PS3 Home. I'm still amazed that Sony encouraged people to buy a device that they were selling at a loss and use it in a way that would not earn them any money. It made no business sense. Or maybe they really thought that the PS3 would be labeled a computer and dodge some import fees. Seems unlikely. At any rate, the Linux PS3 was basically a smart phone without apps. And it wasn't cheap. It would take a special kind of morons to dual boot one of those routinely. That was so obvious the courts refuse to even look at the issue.

      The BMG root kit was something straight out of a media company. Like those "digital copies" nobody uses. Didn't bother me because it didn't work on Linux and that's the only OS I use on PC.

      What are the chances somebody encountered both issues? Who runs Linux on a console with an obscure architecture but put his CDs in a Windows PC?

      So every time I see both of those together I shake my head. It's like seeing "John Doe" on a breast implant class action list.

  3. JDX Gold badge

    using it in the bath ... probably wouldn’t figure in my usage regime

    You might be surprised. A tablet is a perfect solution to those who want to watch TV in the bath!

    I'm not so impressed with the battery, but the weight is very impressive.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: using it in the bath ... probably wouldn’t figure in my usage regime

      We sell software into the food processing industry. On the production line IP65 is a minimum, our current terminal is IP69K

      There are many verticals where dust proof or water proof housings are essential.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: using it in the bath ... probably wouldn’t figure in my usage regime

      Waterproofing is handy for those who use their tablet in the kitchen to view recipes (or use the multiple count-down timers).

    3. Tachikoma
      Paris Hilton

      Re: using it in the bath ... probably wouldn’t figure in my usage regime

      "You can hold it like this (one handed) all day"

      "Waterproof"

      Paris because...

      1. Jack Prichard
        Facepalm

        Re: using it in the bath ... probably wouldn’t figure in my usage regime

        For when you are having 'an impressive lick of seed'.

        Yup, that's what it says.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    paid four hundred quid

    and this is where I stopped reading, thanks.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: paid four hundred quid

      Others cost more than that so looks like right price

  5. StuCom
    Thumb Down

    TN Screen? That's not at all premium..

    You can get sub-£100 tablets with IPS panels. I know the Sony has a lot going for it, but the screen is the number-1 most important feature of any tablet. Viewing angles, brightness, responsiveness, colour. After that battery life, speed and weight, etc.

    Seems that Sony spent their cash in the wrong place so won't be getting mine. Perhaps they could put a better screen in their Windows-8 version of the tablet (not announced, but I'm hopeful!).

    1. Callam McMillan

      Re: TN Screen? That's not at all premium..

      It's all Ying and Yang. Yes, you might be able to get an IPS screen on a bargain basement tablet, but it's going to be a cheap nasty one. Likewise Sony have probably made the decision to go for a high quality TN screen. Is it ideal, no, but then again, an iPad has inferior hardware in other places.

      Likewise, there's a tradeoff between the battery capacity and the weight. It seems though like they have balanced it reasonably well, although I would prefer better life and slightly more weight.

      Sony are doing there damndest to make me like them at the moment... And it's working

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TN Screen? That's not at all premium..

      "Perhaps they could put a better screen in their Windows-8 version of the tablet (not announced, but I'm hopeful!)."

      Is that Windows 8 still around?!!

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: TN Screen? That's not at all premium..

        Yeah, maybe you should try it.

    3. 2BSure2BSure
      Windows

      Re: TN Screen? That's not at all premium..

      emm... Most other professional reviews state that the Xperia Tab Z HAS an IPS screen.

      http://www.wired.co.uk/reviews/tablets/2013-05/sony-xperia-tablet-z

      http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/laptops/1299970/sony-xperia-tablet-z

      etc.

      So what is it?

      1. Return To Sender
        Meh

        Re: TN Screen? That's not at all premium..

        Curiously, Sony's online documents don't seem to state anything beyond the fact it's a TFT, despite providing mind-numbing levels of trivia on just about everything else (http://www-support-downloads.sonymobile.com/sgp311/whitepaper_EN_sgp311_sgp312_1.pdf). To an old cynic like me, that suggests it probably is a TN 'cos otherwise the marketing droids would be yelling it from the rooftops, rather than appearing to be slightly embarrassed about it.

        That said, I'd have a look at it first. TN doesn't automatically mean crap - who cares what the technology is if it's actually good enough for how you actually use it? If I expected to have lots of folks trying to see the screen at the same time, or was constantly looking at it off-axis then yes I'd probably want an IPS-type panel. But most of the time? Not a lot in it...

  6. Sandtitz Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Specifications, please

    "Available in 16 and 32GB flavours", yet no mention of the price of the 32GB model. Why?

    And what is the screen resolution? Should we all calculate it these days from the slab size and PPI metrics?

    1. Al Taylor
      Alert

      Re: Specifications, please

      £449 for the 32GB version.

    2. Al Taylor
      Alert

      Re: Specifications, please #2

      Hmm...I did indeed manage to not explicitly state the screen resolution. It's 1920 x 1200.

      Sorry about that!

  7. Danny 14 Silver badge
    Terminator

    nice review. Shame about the extortionate price though.

    Good to see someone else has a face for radio too.

  8. keithpeter
    Boffin

    Media acquisition device?

    Would have liked more information on the front facing camera quality and the possibility of using an external usb microphone.

  9. BXL
    Meh

    Shame about the battery life

    Anything less than 10 hours these days isn't good enough for a high end device.

  10. 1Rafayal

    Well, thats me sold.

    I have been after a new 10" tablet to replace my Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, this seems to be just the ticket.

    Now, I just hope they are cheaper at the airport!

  11. youknowyouloveit

    oooo eerr

    "...gives the Tablet Z an impressive lick of seed."

  12. g e

    A pen. Just that would sell me one

    Having used the wife's Galaxy Note 10.1

  13. KierO
    Meh

    Almost had me!

    I'm really looking for a useful, light tablet at the moment to replace the "use it on the sofa" family laptop.

    This was looking promising until I saw about the TN panel and the low battery life!!!

    However Sony are to be commended, they are obviously making big strides to up their game at the moment, and especially love the push for devices that are "protected" against moisture etc. Too many devices are coming out at the moment with the company expecting you to break it within a year.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Almost had me!

      I would have though the low battery life is less of an issue for a sofa-bound tablet than it is for an out-and-about tablet.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > ...regime

    regimen!

  15. John Sanders
    Linux

    How good is this thing...

    When it comes to boot loaders and the like...

    Because Sony will abandon updates for this slab the very moment they release a new model.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's on the unlockable list

      http://unlockbootloader.sonymobile.com/supported-devices

  16. StampedChipmunk
    Thumb Up

    Sony now producing the stuff they've promised for years

    I bought a Tablet Z two weeks ago because I had a bit of spare cash and fancied not turning on the Mac whenever I just wanted to look something up. I have to say this is a superb piece of kit. Everyone who has seen it has gone 'wow', especially about how thin and light it is.

    I have an Xperia S smartphone from 2011 and I fired up the Tablet Z "Xperia Link" app, scanned the QR code the tab displayed with the phone and the pair of them connected themselves via bluetooth, shared everything they needed to share and now my 16Gb non-cell tablet can connect to the internet using the phone's signal with one click of a screen widget - wow. It took probably a minute to set up and my mum could have done it...

    Finally on Sony and their software - My Xperia S phone announced to me last week that there was an update waiting for it. "Really?" I thought, clicked the button and let it do it's thing expecting just a new walkman app or something. Nope - Hello Jellybean! That's right, a full OS upgrade (and attendant Sony software updates too) for a phone just a shade over two years old.

    Sony did produce some crap for a long time - I should know: I've had Ericsson/SE/Sony phones exclusively for over ten years now. However the Xperia S was the first Iphone beating Android phone IMO and to have it still being supported is brilliant - especially as the Xperia Z Phone is just too big for me. The Xperia Z tablet is absolutely stunning in build quality and performance and I'm enjoying exploring what I can do with it...

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Non cell tablet

      Does this mean they do a Cell tablet?

      That would be powerful!

      Would it play PS3 games?

      1. StampedChipmunk

        Re: Non cell tablet

        Sorry I may have misled you - when I said non-cell I meant that it didn't have a SIM card and cellphone antenna fitted. You can buy one ready to connect to your favourite mobile phone network, but the pairing process was so painless (on my Xperia phone) I'm not feeling like I'm missing something now.

        AFAIK all three models run Snapdragon processors - not enough for a PS3 game.

        However PS3 controllers can link to the tablet easily, which is interesting...

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Non cell tablet

          Cell

  17. Ironclad
    Meh

    Paying a lot for that light weight

    No micro HDMI, inferior screen, inferior battery to Nexus 10 and £60 more expensive for the 32Gb version.

    No Micro HDMI is the killer for me, google Play is a convenient way for me to rent movies but I want to be able watch them on my big telly with the family.

    I want to like it but for those reasons I'd stick with the Nexus 10.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Paying a lot for that light weight

      It connects to TVs by means of MHL through the microUSB port, which is actually a better solution than microHDMI because the TV supplies power to the tablet at the same time.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_High-Definition_Link

    2. Bodhi

      Re: Paying a lot for that light weight

      Pretty sure the Tablet Z supports HDMI over MHL.

      1. Ironclad
        Happy

        Re: Paying a lot for that light weight

        @Dave 126 and Bodhi - thanks for the tip, I'll have to check the dusty nether regions of my telly tonight for a USB port.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Paying a lot for that light weight

          No worries! You can also get an MHL-HDMI adaptor for less than a tenner.

          Not only that, but I believe the Tablet Z also has native support for Sony's PS3 DualShock controllers.

          http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2310604

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