- Features Packed full of good features (incl able to charge your Xperia Z smartphone) and service integration
- Display Display is high resolution and looks great. The BraviaEngine2 makes everything look even better
- Battery life I think the battery life is fine but some people want more than 6000 mAh when compared to other products in other markets.
- Ease of use No comments
- Storage capacity 32GB of storage capacity plus is easily expandable with microSD cards
- Design and form factor Unified design vision for "balanced" design makes this look great.
- Portability (size / weight) Quite thin and light without feeling excessive. In some devices trying to become thinner/lighter is detrimental but not in this case - it adds to the feel of it
- Durability This is a premium design and will demand a premium price tag so the build quality is quite decent.
XPERIA TABLET Z LTE for the Japanese Market on NTT Docomo
First of all, for my basis of comparison, I have a Galaxy 10.1 and Nexus 7 for use on a daily basis and I have spent a lot of hands-on time with a number of other devices of various platform (although I am predominantly an Android developer over other platforms)
1.) First impression
Wow! The Xperia Z far exceeded my expectations with respects to design. I'd seen pictures and I sat the the whole Docomo press event but this device is far more amazing in person.
2.) Build Quality
Feels like premium build quality enough so that it makes me wonder if it's going priced far higher than competing products. The devices that were available for review were not final hardware builds nor software builds, but I was quite happy with its quality.
The backside was smooth but textured. I prefer this over a glass back since you typically use the backside to grip the device with typically only the thumb gripping from the front side.
The front side is glossy glass design that feels decent. It does, of course, attract a lot of fingerprints.
As much as people moaned and lamented Sony Mobile moving from Europe to Japan, this is an obvious product of dramatically increased communication and collaboration between product teams. Most readers probably know that previous Android tablets from the Sony Group were vastly different teams in different countries from most of the smartphone development (at least that's the impression we got from press releases, interviews, and other PR materials).
In the end, this is a great thing. We have a single unifying vision for both the Xperia Z and Xperia Tablet Z. Not only do these products have a lot of features to allow you to use them together (and to encourage us to buy both of them -- 2 more LTE data plans - ouch!) but these product share the same unique accents such as the power button.
This device is really thin but feels good in the hand. The front bezel is a good size for holding on to the device when reading/watching media/etc.
In the end, this device looks great and feels great but still makes me wonder about the price. Without touching the device, it might be hard to stand out in a crowded field of higher-end tablets in the market in Japan, but taking a closer look and you can feel how "premium" of a device it is.
Visually, things look great on Tablet Z with it's 1920x1200 WUXGA display with Bravia Engine 2 running. As I wrote in the Xperia Z smartphone hands-on review, this means adding dynamic contrast optimization (up to 30 frame per second) and I hate to admit it, but it does look better than the first generation Bravia Engine on my Xperia GX but a lot better than anything graphically on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Nexus 7.
I'm not sure about other markets but the Docomo variant of this device has the Quad-Core 1.5GHz S4 Pro. I'm not sure how this device will fair enough others for 3D benchmarking especially if pushing a 1920x1200 pixel display but performance should be good. I wouldn't count on it being the king, but it should still be really good and good in so many other ways. Everything was very smooth and and well-performing in my experience that didn't involve a lot of 3D rendering.
5.) Services, etc.
A lot of users in some countries hate services as they hate their carriers. Many believe that carriers have become irrelevant and should be nothing but pipes for data connectivity (simply just network operators). Docomo is constantly trying really hard to be far far more than a pipe and to a large extent, I think they succeed (aside from their idea to create a new Tizen-based OS in order to charge for things android does for free). The Xperia Tablet Z will integrate very well with a huge number of services including video streaming, music streaming, music purchase, app, book, comic, anime, and shopping through the carrier's services in addition to supporting one-seg digital terrestrially broadcast TV service, NotTV TV service, as well as support connectivity technology such as MHL, DLNA, and are currently awaiting MiraCast certification. Then, you had Sony Services on top of carrier and other 3rd party services for Sony music, sony videos/movies, Sony Playstation Mobile store, etc.
This device was made to consume services and it allows users to do that extremely well and easily.
6.) The rest
The Xperia Z and Xperia Tablet Z have some new and improved walkman experience features but I couldn't tell the difference with the [ previous generation ] walkman features on my Xperia GX.
There are all kinds of NFC options for NFC-bluetooth pairing, and special NFC interactions between the Xperia Z and Xperia Tablet Z (that I hope they also release for other Xperia smartphones) however, the Xperia Tablet Z has a more limited set of NFC functions over that of the smartphone or some other NFC enabled tablets. It does not support the ubiquitous Sony FeliCa NFC standard but it's not really intended to be used for things like mobile payments or cashing in coupons at McDonalds (Arguably the biggest use of NFC/FeliCa on a smartphone/feature phone in Japan)
Next, the one-seg TV antenna. If you look at the side-view photos of the power button side, you can see where the antenna is. I couldn't get the antenna out since it does not stick out at all from the edge of the device. People concerned about the antenna being in the way, a nuisance, or looking bad can rest assured that it is barely noticeable most of the time. For FM radio reception, you wouldn't even use the antenna since that usually uses the headphone wire an an antenna.
Finally, the camera. This has an Exmor R mobile camera while the Xperia Z smartphone has the new Exmor RS mobile camera with enhanced lowlight performance -- BUT, this is a tablet and taking photos on a tablet is rare enough to not warrant increasing the cost of the device for a camera.
I like this device; It's a well-built, well-designed, quality, premium device with a lot of great features and service integration.
There were two Tablets announced by Docomo this week and those two devices are clearly better than any other devices in Docomo's tablet line-up. The Xperia Tablet Z will be the best tablet they offer to the premium space and the dTab (Docomo branded Huawei Built all with with a next to nothing price tag) will occupy the entry level space.
Finally, a dust/waterproof (IPX5/7) tablet that doesn't feel several generations out of date! (Except the price tag; we're looking at an open market price for this 100Mbps LTE device of 70,000 to 100,000 yen plus the hefty LTE data plan on top of that)
XPERIA TABLET Z WiFi Model
While my first hands-on with the Docomo LTE model was in late February, I didn't have a chance for a hands-on with the WiFi model until March (after which I pre-ordered one and received it April 12th)
1.) March Hands on with the Wifi Model
I was really blown away with just how light the WiFi model is compared to the Docomo LTE version. The LTE version was already quite impressive as being thin and light but WiFi version was substantially lighter.
The WiFi model lacked the antenna that I trouble extending on the Japan market LTE version but no antenna means that it does not support digital terrestrially broadcast TV services One-Seg and NotTV, which are only for the Japan market.
Other than that there wasn't much different about the WiFi model until I brought it home.
April 12th came around the the WiFi model finally launched in Japan and arrived at my door.
The Wifi is touted as being very light at only 495 grams but that is the weight of the LTE model. I took out a digital scale and weighed it and posted that instagram photo: 476 GRAMS!
2.) After the first SIX WEEKS day to day with the device
I continue to be extremely happy with my purchase and believe that it continues to be one of the best 10" range tablets on the market. The screen is nice and high resolution, the tablet does not make your arm tired to hold it and the dock/cradle is a great accessory so that you never need to open those waterproofing flaps.
- Really light-weight 476g
- Really thin 6.9mm
- Well designed and aesthetically good
- 4 speakers with 3D sound
- Dust and water protection (the most important point of all)
- Stylishly designed
- Sony's UX is quite nice and not excessively far from stock
- DualShock 3 controller support
- Snapdragon S4 Pro is well performing
- iR support for connecting to consumers devices but NOT iRDA 2-way data transfers
- High resolution display balanced between looking good for videos and high density for reading/browsing
- Mobile BraviaEngine2 looks good for videos/images
- Walkman app is decent and connected to online services but you can easily change to other apps instead such as Google Music
- Throw can be pretty convenient if your devices support it. I use a dStick from the carrier docomo but it doesn't supporting throwing all kinds of video.
All around it's a good package but I do have a few complaints:
- GPS is mediocre - It's on par with other tablets out there but not as good as smartphones for things where accuracy is important like playing Ingress
- The cradle is great but when inserting into the cradle or plugging in power to the port, an event is triggered and many apps reset themselves including Chrome Web Browser, some video players, and some games.
- The tablet is definitely nice. It performs quite well but the performance does not blow anyone's minds away. 2GB is extremely nice to have so it's a very capable device but just not mind blowing in the performance department (although still better or equal performing than others with S4 or S4 Pro or Tegra 3)
- A ton of accessories were shown off when I first did the hands-on in February and since then many of the accessories have not come to market including the keyboard case.
- Some people complain about the battery being smaller than other high end tablets since it's so thin. (Although I've personally never had any trouble with the battery capacity even with the battery killer Ingress)
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Storage capacity rating changed from 4 to 5
Edited comment on Storage capacity
Updated detailed review
Updated detailed review
Durability rating changed from 4 to 5
Updated detailed review