There's a French phrase, un beau affreux, which means that something is ugly and beautiful at the same time. As soon as we got our hands on Sony's Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, we wished the French had also come up with a phrase that means simultaneously colossal and small. That's the paradox at the heart of the company's tablet, which packs an 8-inch display, but thanks to its 6.4mm thickness and 0.6-pound weight, feels almost insubstantial, as if you'd still try to fit this into a pocket. That's not a criticism, either, because if you found the Galaxy Note to be a bit too small for your needs, this could replace it in your affections.
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
That's because, thanks to its LTE modem, so long as you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones on hand, you can actually harness its cellular connectivity to make calls. The company has even left the dialer on the front page of the home screen here, leaving you in no doubt of its prowess. There's also NFC and an option to add a mobile wallet, although it'd be rather amusing if you tried to use an 8-inch tablet to buy your morning coffee.
Packing a quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM, the Z3 Tablet Compact is also no slouch in the performance department, and you can extend its 16GB of built-in memory by up to an additional 128GB if you have such a large microSD card. The TFT display itself has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 and the viewing angles are pretty great, meaning that the device would happily pull a shift as an impromptu dorm room cinema. That ability is also helped with the forward-facing stereo speakers above and below the screen, which may not boast BoomSound-levels of quality, but are a huge improvement on a lot of the tablet market. The same can't be said for the headphone jack, which now comes out at the top of the right bezel (in portrait). When used in landscape, that's a perfectly fine design decision, but if you do decide to make this an ever-present in your shoulder bag, you might find the location a little grating.
Imaging-wise, there's an 8.1-megapixel shooter on the back and a 2.2-megapixel sensor up front, although the huge preview screen is actually a little disturbing, so maybe this device will discourage selfie shooters. Thankfully, even though it is a tablet, the company has seen fit to ensure that it's as rugged as its junior siblings, shielding it with IP65 and IP68 waterproofing.
As we've already established, this is one of the few devices capable of running Sony's PS4 Remote Play, and we can certainly imagine ourselves playing games on this great display. Of course, there's still no word on when that might actually happen, but hopefully Sony won't keep us in the dark too long about release dates and prices.
Jamie Rigg contributed to this report.