Earlier this year, just a couple of months ago during IFA 2014 actually, Sony showed off it’s three Xperia Z3 models: the Z3, the Z3 Compact and the Z3 Tablet Compact. Today I’m going to write about the Z3 Tablet Compact, which was launched into something of a difficult time for tablets. By difficult I also mean interesting and an opportunity, because manufacturers and customers are divided between the ideal size for a tablet. Google decided to hedge their bets with the Nexus 9, slotting it between the outgoing Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 models in terms of size. Samsung release tablets from 8-inch to 12-inch in an attempt to catch the entire market, but the average size of tablet screens is shrinking. At the same time, the average size of smartphone screens is increasing! Sony’s Z3 Tablet Compact is another not-quite-small-but-definitely-not-full-size tablet with a 1,920 by 1,200, 8.0-inch Triluminos display. The Z3 Tablet Compact is powered by a 2.5 GHz, quad core, 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor backed up by 3 GB of RAM. The model I’m writing about has 32 GB of internal storage and a MicroSD card. It’s powered by a 4,500 mAh battery yet weighs just 270g and is only 6.4mm thin.
The Z3 Tablet Compact, like the other Z3 models, is water resistant and runs Android 4.4 Kit Kat under Sony’s Xperia interface. We know Sony are working on releasing Android 5.0 Lollipop for the device but it’s not available yet. But we do know that it’s about to go on sale in Canada this Friday, 21 November, at CA $530, joining the two Sony Xperia Z3 smartphones that have been on sale for a number of weeks now. On the face of it, this will be a tough sell for customers, because $530 is a lot to pay for a not-quite-small-but-definitely-not-full-size tablet. Still, the Z3 Tablet Compact does have a lot going for it. It feels beautiful to handle, it has a better screen than you might expect given the resolution disadvantage compared with its peers, and unlike the Samsung, HTC Nexus and Apple products, it will survive a dunking in water or accidental spill of liquid if it’s on your coffee table. Sony have also included some great software features for existing customers, such as PS4 Remote Play (where you can use the Z3 Tablet Compact as a second display).
With the full Z3 range now available in Canada, we will need to wait and see how successful the products are. That depends on how well they stack up against the competition: the Z3 Tablet Compact’s only handicap is the lower screen resolution, but it has solid performance, battery life and a usable, fluid interface. It deserves to do well.