Sony has always been known for the build quality, and more importantly their name. Which is a big reason why Sony's products are usually more expensive than the competition's. Which is not really the case with the Xperia Z2 Tablet. The WiFi model starts at $499, which is the same price as most other 10-inch tablets. However most of those do have a bit more pixels - usually 10-inch tablets have a 2560x1600 resolution display while the Xperia Z2 Tablet features a 1920x1200 resolution display. The LTE model is $599, or you can grab it from Verizon on contract for $499. This is actually the first Sony tablet I've used, and I've come away pretty impressed. Usually I don't like 10-inch tablets and prefer 7 or 8 inch tablets, but this is the exception.
Editor's Note: This is the Verizon model, and we've been using it for about a week now on Verizon's network - with some WiFi as well. So this review will reflect that, and not the WiFi model.
- 10.1-inch 1920x1200 resolution Triluminous display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5GHz
- 3GB of RAM
- 16GB of storage, with a microSD card slot
- 8.1MP camera on the back
- 2.2MP front-facing camera
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- Dimensions: 266 x 172 x 6.4 mm
- Weight: 439g
- 6000mAh battery
- IP58 Certified (water proof for up to 30 minutes)
As we noted in the intro, Sony's hardware is usually top notch. And on the Xperia Z2 Tablet, it's just that, top notch. The Xperia Z2 Tablet is super thin, and light weight, which is probably my favorite feature of the tablet - I know kinda lame right? Unlike most of Sony's smartphones, the back is not made of glass, and I love that. I reviewed the Xperia Z1s earlier this year, and that smartphone was scratched up so bad, and that was just from having it sit on my desk all day long. Same thing with the Nexus 4 back in 2012 and throughout 2013. Instead the back is made out of, what feels like, polycarbonate. It looks and feels great. I know we give other OEMs so much trouble for using plastic. But when it's this kind of plastic we don't mind. It's the glossy or tacky looking plastic that we don't like. There's also metal along the edges, and the front is completely glass, but there is a bit of a lip from the sides. So when placing it display down, the display isn't actually on the table. Which is a nice touch, I think.
Now on the left side, there's your power button and volume rocker. Up top is the IR Blaster, MicroSD and SIM card slots, along with the Micro USB port. All three of those are under flaps. Obviously because this is a water proof tablet. There's nothing on the right side and on the bottom is a couple of pins, likely for the Sony dock. The bottom also has the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the back we've got our 8.1MP camera in the top right-hand corner. There's also the NFC logo below it, which is where the NFC chip is. And that's something I really like about Sony. As it lets you know exactly where the NFC chip is. And on tablets that especially helpful. Over on the front is your 10-inch Triluminous display along with your 2.2MP front-facing camera.
The Display on the Xperia Z2 Tablet isn't the best. I wouldn't say it sits up there with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, or the ASUS Transformer TF701T, which both have 2560x1600 resolution displays. But this does have a 1920x1200 resolution display, and it still looks beautiful. I watched a lot of videos on here, during the past week, and they looked amazing. Now the one thing I know everyone will ask, how are the viewing angles? Well, it actually doesn't seem as bad as I remember from other Sony smartphones like the Xperia Z, and Z1s. I don't actually have either of those here, so it's a little difficult to really compare them. But it doesn't look washed out at all to me. The display also gets nice and bright, so you can use it outdoors, and such. Now I'd much rather see an IPS display on here, but the Triluminous display does the job quite well.
Performance on the Xperia Z2 Tablet is about what you'd expect. After all it does have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor along with 3GB of RAM powering it. After playing plenty of games like Asphalt 8, Dead Trigger 2, Riptide GP2, etc., I noticed no issues with lag, performance or anything. I've also never had to clear out the recent apps to free up more RAM. In fact, I typically had about 1.2GB of more of free RAM while using the Xperia Z2 Tablet.
We ran a bunch of different benchmarks. We ran AnTuTu X, CPU-Z, and Quadrant, which we've listed those scores down below.
- AnTuTu X: 40,471
- GFXBench: 702
- Quadrant: 18,179
To put it simply, this thing just won't die. I stated on Twitter the other day, that the Xperia Z2 Tablet lasts forever, and still has 25% left. Which is amazing, especially for a tablet this size with only a 6000mAh battery inside. Most tablets with a 10-inch display have a 9000mAh battery and last this long. So Sony has some really decent battery optimization going on here.
There's also the STAMINA Mode. Which I used on the Xperia Z1s and it did let the smartphone last quite a bit longer, and it does the same thing for the Xperia Z2 Tablet. So if you're out and you need a bit more battery, don't be afraid to turn on STAMINA mode as it really does work well.
I've been saying for about a year now, that Sony has one of the most minimalistic UI's around. And that still hasn't changed. Their UI reminds me a lot of HTC Sense. Not because they look similar, but because the both are very minimal and still are super speedy on their high-end devices. It doesn't look like stock Android, but it definitely does feel like it. Sony also has themes now, so if you long press on the homescreen, a menu on the right side pops up with widgets, apps, wallpapers and themes. For themes they have Air, Earth, Heat, Silk, Sunny and Vintage. I'm using the Silk one, just because that's the one I like more. But you can also go into Sony Select and download some more themes, if you don't like those.
As expected, there are all kinds of pre-installed apps here like Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Music, Amazon AppStore, Audible, Verizon's Cloud, Kobo, Message+, My Verizon Mobile, OfficeSuite, PlayStation (which Sony just announced they were discontinuing), Redbox Instant, Sketch, Smart Connect, Sony Select, Video Unlimited, VZ Navigator, Whats's New, and Xperia Lounge. Some of these apps are from Sony and are actually really nice, especially on a tablet. Like Sketch. Sketch allows you to go ahead and draw on your tablet, which is always awesome to do, especially on a tablet this size.
The Camera UI on the Xperia Z2 Tablet is much like the one on the Xperia Z1s (since that's the last Sony smartphone I've used, that's all I have to compare it too). It's nice and minimal, although not as minimal as the LG G3's camera. It also takes amazing shots, especially for it being a tablet camera. Additionally, all the fun modes from Sony's smartphones are here. Including my personal favorite, Background Defocus. You can see plenty of sample images down below.
Other Odds & Ends
- The Xperia Z2 Tablet is thin, but not so thin where it might feel like you're going to break it.
- The bezels are a bit big, but for me, that's not a huge issue on a tablet, since I do play games on tablets, so it's nice to have a place to rest your thumbs.
- Logos, they aren't everywhere. I know we sometimes talk about how Verizon likes to have 3 or 4 logos on a phone, like the LG G2 and G3, but the Xperia Z2 Tablet has one logo on the back, and it's actually not that big.
The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is really close to becoming my pick for tablet of 2014 so far. It's an amazing tablet from Sony. They really pulled out all the stops here, and it shows. The only thing I'd like to change is the bezels, wish they were a bit smaller, but not too much smaller, especially the sides. I'm still not crazy for 10-inch tablets, as I do prefer the smaller ones, but this is a 10-inch tablet I'd definitely buy.