The Sony Xperia Tablet Z strikes a balance between enterprise use and fun, and is equally suited for both.
The Xperia Tablet Z slate-style tablet carries a fairly high price tag, yet demonstrates its worth as one of the most impressive Android-based units available today.
Despite the large 10.1-inch screen, the Xperia measures only 0.27 inch thick. From a distance, it looks more like a flat piece of black glass than a computing device. The tablet weighs just over 1 pound, which will seem surprisingly light compared with most tablets that have bulkier frames.
Sony designed the smooth plastic frame to absorb the shock from any unexpected drops. The tight design actually makes the Tablet Z highly water resistant too. It has an Ingress Protection Rating of 5/7, meaning it can survive being submerged in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes. A simulated heavy rain from a sink sprayer for 15 minutes didn't even slow it down.
Because the screen taps the same Sony BRAVIA Engine 2 image technology that’s used in the manufacturer’s high-end LCD televisions, the colors display brilliantly and viewing angles extend near the edge of the screen. Be it a blockbuster movie or a PowerPoint presentation, the media really pops. The Z also displays documents better than most electronic readers.
As with Sony’s Xperia smartphones, the company offers its own version of standard apps right out of the box. The Music Unlimited app will be familiar to anyone with a Sony device. For the uninitiated, it’s easy to navigate.
Finally, one fun feature enables the Xperia Tablet Z to become an advanced TV remote. Simply select your television from a drop-down menu on the device, or touch the Sony remote to the tablet screen to access an advanced smart TV control panel.
Despite its heavy nod to entertainment, the Xperia Tablet Z boasts a robust 1.5 gigahertz Quad-Core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that can handle any business application. Sony developed an interface that makes linking to wireless or even secure VPN connections quite easy. IT managers can use the microSD card slot to expand the device as needed. Users can even unlock the tablet with the bootloader program to create custom apps and code.
The Experia Tablet Z provides sufficient battery life, especially for a tablet with a large screen. It was able to sustain power for seven hours and 53 minutes with constant usage, or for days powering more normal, intermittent activities. That’s more than enough to get through a workday without charging.
The protective screen coating at the front of the device tends to collect a lot more fingerprints than most tablets and can't be removed.
What’s more, Sony put a lot of work into the 8-megapixel front-facing camera, which features light sensors in front and lens circuitry in the back. That’s the opposite layout of most lenses and was designed to allow more light into the unit for taking low-light movies or photos. It works, but simply adding a flash to the tablet would have fixed that problem without so much technical wizardry.