Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Vs Paul Briden 16:01, 24 Jan 2013

Sony's Xperia Tablet Z is back for another comparison and this time it takes on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

We check out how Sony's 10.1-inch slate, the Xperia Tablet Z, compares with Samsung's stylus-driven Galaxy Note 10.1.

Form

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - 262x180x8.9mm, 597g

Sony Xperia Tablet Z - 266x172x6.9mm, 495g

The Galaxy Note 10.1 closely adheres to Samsung’s most recent aesthetic style seen with the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 smartphones, amongst many others.

This time of course it’s on a much larger scale, so the expanses of smooth contoured plastic are even more, well, expansive.

As with other Galaxy models, the edges are encased by silvery-coloured plastic while corners are slightly curved and the main bodywork is white or black. The bezel around the display is quite narrow, but not too much, giving a more refined look to the slate overall.

Much of the back panel is minimalist except for a silver panel along the top to house the camera and aerials.

We always think larger tablets benefit from rubberised and/or textured grip panels but the Note 10.1 has none. This is particularly problematic when you consider one of the more glaring pitfalls of the device which it shares with many of its Galaxy cousins, that is, the questionable plastic it’s made from.

Samsung seems inexplicably proud of its ‘hyperglaze’ finish, proof that there’s no accounting for taste. It’s too shiny, too slippery and all round feels and looks far too cheap and tacky for a premium device.

On the whole the build quality is actually not bad, there’s a bit of flex in the back panel but nothing too serious.

In summary, the Note 10.1 looks nice generally but isn’t so pleasing to handle and suffers under closer inspection.

Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z is a much more robust in its appearance with a no-nonsense angular shape and widescreen aspect ratio. Like its opponent, the bezel is just the right size to lend visual flair without impacting functionality.

The whole device is very clean and looks as though it’s been milled from a single block of some premium material. Photos suggest the bodywork has a matte finish, which we approve of.

The Xperia Tablet Z is the thinnest tablet to date at a mere 6.8mm and is one of the lighter 10-inch slates around, clocking it at about 100g lighter than the Galaxy Note 10.1’s 597g.

Lastly, Sony’s device is fully IP57 certified meaning it’s both water and dust proof.

Winner – Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Storage

As with many of Samsung’s products you’ve got the full line-up of storage options for the Galaxy Note 10.1 with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants, each with microSD capability for cards up to 32GB and high-capacity cards up to 64GB.

The Xperia Tablet Z is well catered for with 32GB of onboard space and microSD support including high-capacity 64GB cards.

But, it’s tough to beat Samsung’s comprehensive choice and flexibility.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Display

The Galaxy Note 10.1 delivers surprisingly good quality visuals considering its display spec isn’t the most impressive we’ve seen.

As the name suggests it’s a 10.1-inch PLS LCD touchscreen with a 1280x800 pixel resolution which results in a pixel density of 149 pixels-per-inch (ppi) – that’s quite low, but while the clarity isn’t the sharpest display on the market it’s actually not bad.

Text does suffer somewhat but for Samsung that’s fairly standard.

Sony’s displays often set the bar fairly high and the Xperia Tablet Z’s is a very competent setup. It’s another 10.1-inch LCD touch panel with a 1920x1200 pixel resolution at 224ppi.

Not only is it sharper than the Galaxy Note 10.1 but the colour, brightness and contrast are all better thanks to the Sony Mobile Bravia Engine 2, although viewing angles are quite poor, if you're bothered by that sort of thing.

Winner – Sony Xperia Tablet Z

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