Sony Xperia Z2 4G Tablet Review

Sony Xperia Z2 4G Tablet Review


Sony have been coming back strong over the
last couple of years. We have seen how their Xperia Z series are holding their own and
the Z2 smartphone has really impressed us. The Z2 tablet is the 2nd generation of tablet
behind the original Z tablet released last year. Is it worth the upgrade or could it be a replacement
to your laptop or netbook? On the face of it there are not a great deal
of differences between the original Z tablet and the Z2, but features there are a few enhancements
that make this an upgrade over the original. A new faster processor, more ram, MHL 3.0
and the Z2 is now thinner and lighter. There is an obvious similarity between any
Sony product labelled ‘Xperia Z’, that similarity is a gorgeous slab like form factor that has
an essence of class and reservedness about it, but something that subliminally calls
you to pick it up and find out what it is all about. The Z2 Tablet is most certainly sharper on
every edge than the smartphones, there is curvature but more subtle. The touchscreen dominates the front of the
Z2 tablet, until the screen comes on, where it is quite apparent that there is a very
thick bezel on each edge, thickest on the right and left side. Almost unnoticeable are the stereo speakers
each located almost in the lower corners. They look like small cutouts between the display
and the side of the tablet. Compared to the original tablet the height
and width are the same but Sony have managed to knock .5mm off the thickness and the weight
has dropped from 495 to 439 grams for the 3/4G model we are reviewing. That is 56 grams
shaved off. That is a lot in my opinion. This stunner is however a bit of a fingerprint
magnet with all that glass, so a cleaning cloth may be handy! To add to the charm and appeal the Z2 tablet
has an IP55/58 rating, which means this tablet can
be submerged in fresh water to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. It is not uncommon in a modern family home
that a tablet is used in the kitchen or bathroom; so, if like me, you often end up reading recipes
of a screen, you can wash your hands and touch the tablet without the need to dry them. Get
some dirt or debris on the tablet, no need to be careful, just rinse it under the tap! The screen on the Z2 tablet is the same 10.1″
HD display found on the original Z tablet. With a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and a PPI
of 224 the PPI is just under half that of the Z2 smartphone that has 424 PPI, but the
Z2 tablet is a bigger screen. If you want to be picky you can find fault
with the PPI but honestly, for the vast majority the on screen experience is extremely good. With Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, no-one
can criticise Sony for being behind the curve. Sony do tweak Android; it is not stock but
remains considerably closer than the likes of Samsung devices.
Additions to the software primarily include Sony’s multimedia suite of applications from
Sony Music Unlimited to to TrackID, but there are a few others I feel are worthwhile additions.
The Z2 tablet has a IR port which allows you to use the Z2 as a remote control for your
TV. It is quite a good feature, especially when a large proportion of us use a tablet
whilst sat in our lounge and watching media on the TV at the same time.
Extra apps inevitably eat away at the memory. Of the 16GB on board, approx 10.5- 11GB is
actually usable, which isn’t too bad all things considered. However an extra 1 or 2 GB would
be nice. There is the addition of the microSD memory
card slot which can support microSD memory cards up to 64GB.
The Z2 is a powerhouse and with 3GB of RAM supporting the 2.3GHz quad-core processor,
multi-tasking is effortless. Lag is not really a word you will be considering when operating
this super slim SIM free tablet. Personalisation is available in all manner
of ways from changing the stock wallpapers and themes of the device to sound and notifications.
Google services are naturally present, meaning that you can download your favourite apps
very easily. Many will even start downloading automatically if you input you are syncing
with an existing Google account. Be it personal, business or educational the
Z2 is appropriate for each. It will not look out of place in any environment and can be
configured in a way that works for you. This may surprise many, but amongst all of
this is a fully fledged mobile phone. Make and receive calls on the Z2 tablet, send
and receive text messages too. You may not want to hold this to your ear,
but pair up a bluetooth headset and the Z2 tablet is one extremely powerful solution.
Some small extra apps are included on the Z2. Press and hold on the running apps key
and at the bottom you are presented with list of apps such as a calculator, stopwatch, sound
recorder and screen capture tool. These small apps sit in windows on top of Android, can
be moved about on screen and retain their position even as the phone is being used in
the background. Only upon closing them will they disappear.
As I am often asked about notification lights, I should let you know that you can turn this
on and off within the settings. As you would expect, the newest Bluetooth,
WiFi and GPS standards are all included so basic functions such as Internet connectivity,
streaming and street level navigation are covered.
How about when you move out of range of a wireless network? Well in this instance you
can fall back on the 3G and 4G LTE thanks to the in built SIM slot.
You can use the magnetic pins on the bottom of the tablet to charge it without the need
to open the slightly fiddly port cover. You will require a DK39 dock, although this will
not only charge the phone but also hold it at a viewing angle ideal for a mobile office
setup. Connect a PlayStation controller or a USB
memory stick to the Z2 with a USB host cable and expand the capabilities of the Z2 even
further. The Z2 tablet is one of the first devices
to offer MHL 3.0. Great for showing off photos, videos or giving a presentation. MHL 3.0 enables
4K output from the phone. There is no 4K video recording on this tablet, so any true 4K output
will have to be content that has been downloaded. At the time of recording the MHL adapter required
for true 4K output is not available; thankfully the port is backwards compatible so the best
option is 1080p currently. For those that have DLNA or Miracast built
into their displays, be it internal or through use of an adapter, the Z2 tablet can share
content without wires. NFC is increasingly common in accessories
and is therefore NFC is included in the tablet. The NFC tag is located on the back just below
the camera. As with the Z2 phone the only connectivity
option in my mind missing is wireless charging, but this is not really something that is demanded
on a tablet so this would be too critical to say the tablet lacks as a consequence. Being a Sony mobile device access to their
Music Unlimited service is available for streaming. There is of course the option to install your
own preferred music app. Also included is their Walkman application
that looks for music stored on the device/memory card. It is fairly self explanatory and offers everything
a common music app would, from organising music by artist to creating playlists. Sony have put a lot of effort into the speakers
on the Z2 tablet and really they are quite impressive. Max the speakers out and they sound fairly
balanced. Despite being stereo speakers they do not offer quite the same depth and clarity
as HTC’s BoomSound, but then again they don’t make a tablet. The volume is more than loud enough and you
can generally get a reading of low to mid 80’s in terms of decibels. S-Force Front Surround audio technology works
quite well to give that cinematic experience without the need for separate speakers. Depending on your particular preferences you
can switch different modes on and off within the sound enhancements and also set your own
personal preferences. When the Z2 first landed on my desk I played
some audio out of it and a couple of people in the office asked what device was playing
that. When they heard it was the tablet they were pleasantly surprised. Using the Z2 tablet as your primary image
capturing tool would not be my advice unless you infrequently use it, but it does offer
some pleasing results. Rated at 8 megapixels, the tablet does not
boast the 20.7 snappers we have seen in the phone range. There is no flash on the camera either, but
it does still have a wide variety of shooting modes and HD video recording, offering in
my opinion more than enough for the average user. All the normal camera controls you expect
are included from controlling the white balance, self timer, resolution, HDR and more. You should note that there is no physical
camera shutter button on the Z2 tablet, but the volume keys can be set as a shutter, although
these default as zoom controls. All told though for what I would imagine most
would be using this tablet for the camera results and options are very good and I would
happily use this more than I may on some other tablets I have tested before. Built into this glorious bit of hardware is
the battery which is 6,000mAh in capacity. Capable of up to 10 hours of continuous movie
playback that usage you get from the Z2 tablet should be more than adequate. More demanding
users should get a normal working day from it, whereas the lighter user may get two. The previous generation didn’t fare too well
for battery performance for many, with even the lighter users finding the need to charge
quite regularly. The Z2 has improved slightly we feel but perhaps not enough for most. We found that in a 24 hour period with relatively
light usage the battery discharged by about 40% and during this time no wireless connections
were actually turned on. Sony’s STAMINA mode can assist with this as
can being more carefully with settings such as backlight and always on connections. I certainly found that unlike my ASUS TF701T
Transformer Pad, I could not come back regularly to it over about 3-4 days to find plenty of
power left in it. The Transformer does have approx 7,800 mAh compared to the 6,000 of
the Sony. Sony have taken the right approach with accessories.
From cases, to magnetic charging docks to keyboards, the Z2 tablet can be transformed
into a complete mobile work station. The Z2 tablet inevitably has competition from
the Samsung camp and Apple. Choosing between Apple, Sony and Samsung is
ultimately going to be a preference of OS. Strictly speaking the closest challenger to
the Z2 is Samsung’s Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 series of devices which are generally well featured
but do not have the desirability of the Sony products. The interface is also much heavier
on the memory. In some respects it is more user friendly, but it really comes down to
personal opinion. As far as specs, its a close fought title.
Where the Sony exceeds in one field, the Samsung excels in another. Samsung’s biggest advantage
is the battery at 2,000mAh more but the compromise is weight. At the time of recording the Z2 Tablet 4G
model is to be sold for £499.99 including VAT which I think is about right and is on
a par with Apple and Samsung. The Sony Xperia Z line of smartphones and
tablets are gaining more recognition globally, but probably not as much as they deserve. The big marketing budgets and presence of
Samsung and Apple products give Sony a tough time to compete, but the Z2 is very capable. It is desirable and has the processing power
and might to give the competition a very good run for its money. The battery life is the biggest disappointment,
but this isn’t the biggest issue all told. If you own the original tablet Z, then there
isn’t really enough reason to move to the Z2, but if you are looking for a replacement
Android tablet or getting one for the first time then I can assure you the Z2 is not going
to leave you feeling you need more.

21 thoughts on “Sony Xperia Z2 4G Tablet Review

  1. again I'll say this was an awesome video, very well done!! You work a lot on videos and it shows up with the quality of the reviews! Keep it up!

  2. Clove, i need your opinion or suggestion lol. Should i get the Z2 Tablet? I never had any tablet before and i'm getting the Z2 Phone for sure but this i am not sure if i should get it. I don't have a Laptop and i think i will only get a laptop in a year or two.
    As a tablet user, what do you do on the device mostly? I am a gamer and i make videos. So will this device help me in any way or it's pointless buying it? Thanks i hope you can answer my questions.

  3. How do the two z2 devices work in tandem? Using the phone for the day and the tablet at night, how long before you'd need to charge?

    I'm thinking vids/social/browsing and not so much gaming. Plus chromecasting to a telly.

    Plus things like passing a webpage via NFC, 

    I'm sorely tempted to get this, I've pre ordered the z2 phone and would like to have the setup of lte tablet and phone, same design language on both and same high quality design and materials on both. Both with 3gigs of RAM and latest chipset…

    Yeah the Credit card will hurt, but i've yet to get into tablets. And having the ability to take the tablet into the shower and maybe even hear it over the noise of the water sounds a little like scifi to me…

  4. Thanks for the awesome and great review of the z2 tablet, its actually one of the greatest tablets announced so far.

  5. good review but which one is better when you mainly use tab for web browsing, movies and  games? sony xperia z2 tablet or samsung galaxy tab pro 10.1?

  6. Hi Clove,
    can you please tell me, you mentioned that it takes  micro sd card up to 64GB, but some one told me according to Sony, the Xperia Z2 tablet can take a 128GB micro sd card. Can you please tell us which is correct. Thanks

  7. Brilliant review as always. Just a quick question about the battery life. Is it really as bad as you guys said it is. GSMARENA has actually reported the following stats

    Web Browsing : 12:53 h ( beating both the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 & the iPad Air with brightness set at 50% )

    Video Playback : 11:46 h ( not far away from Tab Pro 10.1 & iPad Air )

    Can you vouch or match your stats with GSMARENA please?

    Thanks

  8. As usual another flawless review from Clove, top dogs in reviews as far as am concerned. You guys keep up the good work, very fair and comprehensive review and they are like this with all products be it Samsung, Htc, Apple, Sony or from other manufacturers.

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