Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Review

on Thursday, November 27, 2014
Sony’s Xperia range of Android devices has included smartphones, phablets, and large-screened tablets. Now its attention has turned to the 8 inch market with the release of the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. It captures Sony’s mobile essence of the last few years, but it doesn’t quite have the polish to make it stand out. That said, it doesn’t have any disappointments lurking in the background.

A Familiar Design
Unlike the Xperia Z3 Compact smartphone, which was happy to add a bit of depth to get more volume (and more battery life), the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has decided to go for thin and light. At just 6.4 mm, the Z3 Tablet Compact clocks in at 1.1 mm thinner than the iPad Mini 2, which is the obvious comparison.
The Z3 Tablet, thanks to the ratio of the screen, is a little bit more letterbox in ratio than the iPad Mini. It’s relatively comfortable, but if you have spent some time with the iPad Mini it’s going to feel a little bit restrictive. Of course if you are going to be using the tablet for a lot of video watching, the dimensions are going to be far more easy on the eye for the Hollywood spectaculars and modern television presented in HD.
At 270 g, the tablet is light enough to be easily carried throughout the day. It does this with a lot of plastic in the construction, which is especially noticeable on the back of the unit. The edges are metallic, with plastic bumpers at the corner to help absorb any drops and provide some limited expansion if the tablet were to overheat.

It sticks with Sony’s omni-balance design cues, and it clearly belongs in the same family as the other Xperia handsets.  Given the size of the tablet, the omni-balance language works better with the tablet – providing it curved edges, the maximum amount of screen real-estate possible, and a decent amount of friction on the back of the tablet so it feels secure (or at least as secure as any tablet can be).
Top Of The Range With Some Future-proofing In The Specifications
As you would expect, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is another Android handset powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family. Running a Quad-core 801 processor at 2.5GHz, alongside 3 GB of RAM, the tablet is no slouch, and should be able to handle the vast majority of tasks asked of it, and it’s a dream to play rich games and graphical experiences on it.
The clock speed is slightly slower than ultimate performance, but this will help preserve battery life. The inclusion of 3 GB of RAM (and a microSD slot for further expansion) means the Z3 Tablet Compact is going to remain relevant and future-proofed for at least a year, probably two.
The tablet also continues Sony’s tradition of waterproofing and dustproofing its hardware – in this case to IP68 certification levels.
A Step Behind The Rest With The Screen
Looking back over Sony’s Android range, you can see that the Japanese company has never taken any risks or pushed hard on the display. As other manufacturers push for larger screens, with more resolution, Sony has always stayed a step or two behind. The same approach is on show here with the Z3 Tablet. At 1920 x 1200 the screen will happily show HD video, but it’s not going to win any points for tablets with the most pixels.
As always, Sony is relying on its use of vibrant colors, deep blacks, and proprietary graphics processing technology to make up the shortfall. The Z3 Tablet certainly shows off its colors well, although it does tend to feel a little bit too ‘poppy’ when looking at natural images.

It works well in bright sunlight, although I am disappointed at the shallow viewing angle – for a device that is likely to see a lot of video being shared on it, the angles on offer mean that anything more than one person looking will see washout on the screen of the colors (although the definition does remain).
Surprisingly for Sony, the sound quality of this tablet is only average at best. It does have two forward facing speakers, placing the audio in the right location when using the tablet (as opposed to having all the sound blasting out of one side of the screen), but the volume of the speakers is poor. This could be down to the thin nature of the device and a lack of depth in the speakers, or it could be the additional requirements of waterproofing, but this is one quiet tablet.
Audio reproduction through the headphone jack is fine, there’s no complaints about the processing – but there rarely is on modern hardware – it’s just that lying on a desk, it’s too darn quiet.


Post a Comment