The Sony Xperia Z is taking on the iPad and other premium Android tablets with claims of “thinnest,” “lightest,” “sharpest,” and “best.” We had a chance to take a look at the company’s newest flagship slate, which does away with the folded paper design on the back in favour of a cleaner, sharper and, ultimately, more professional-looking style.
Running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, the Tablet Z has a 10.1-inch 1920×1200 pixel screen, a 1.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, 2GB RAM, 16-32GB internal storage, a 8MP back Exmor R camera sensor, a 2MP front Exmor R sensor, and a number of familiar of Sony-branded apps. It’s 6.9mm thin and weighs a slight 495 grams.
The device we used was not running final software, so we can’t say for certain whether it will retain its legacy tablet interface or whether it will adopt, as Google hopes, the new simplified layout of the Nexus line. There were also a number of slowdowns and visual bugs, but the Sony reps reassured us there would be many improvements before the launch in Q2.
Not only is the device light enough to hold with one hand, the slim bezel makes it far less awkward to use in portrait mode than most 16:10 tablets. The contrast levels are far better than even the Nexus 10 and Retina iPad, though we’ll wait until we have a review unit for the final word on that.
Of course, the Xperia Tablet Z, like its smartphone counterpart, is water resistant (IP57) and dustproof (IP55), which is a large improvement over the Xperia Tablet S, which had to be recalled due to issues with water ingress.
The Xperia Tablet Z will be available in Canada in Q2, early May, for an undisclosed price, but we’re hearing $499 for the 16GB WiFi model and $599 for the 32GB WiFi model. Stay tuned for more details.