Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Hands-On: First Look

Reviews James Peckham 16:53, 3 Sep 2014

Sony has announced a new Xperia Tablet and this time it comes in a much smaller form, what did we think of it?

Back in February at Mobile World Congress, Sony released the Xperia Z2 Tablet, a 10.1in slate. Overall we quite liked the Xperia Z2 Tablet but a 10in display isn’t exactly what everyone needs. Sony has taken that on board and has now opted for a smaller slate with the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Here’s a first look at the tab as we go hands-on with the device. 

Design & Build

Sony’s Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact measures 213.4 x 123.6 x 6.4 mm. Using only an 8in display it means it’s possible to hold in one hand without the worry of dropping the slate.

It weighs in at 270g, which makes it really light. Sony has said it’s the worlds slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet. It comes with the IP65 water and dust resistant technology we've seen on all the other Sony Xperia flagship devices. There are still flaps to cover the ports but these have been rounded off. The corners come with a nylon cap that makes them stronger, meaning the tablet is less susceptible to damage than previous models.

The front of the device is the usual glass panel, while the back is made of the same plastic material we’ve seen on previous tablets. It makes the whole device lighter and is quite a bit easier to grip compared to the glass backings on Xperia flagship handsets.

Waterproof and dust resistant IP65/IP68 certification is present in the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, but the flaps have been vastly improved compared to previous model. They’re smaller, easier to hook out, and rounded, creating much nicer design overall.

Display

Sony’s Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact comes with an 8in, WUXGA display with a pixel resolution of 1920 x 1200. Colour reproduction is great and it looks truly stunning, especially when watching video content. It's arguably the perfect size offering enough screen real estate to see and do what you need to, whilst being easy to hold in the hand.

Just look at the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact compared to the Xperia Z2 Tablet, it's a much handier size.

Processor

Inside there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core chipset clocked at 2.5GHz. With my brief usage it felt snappy and I didn’t experience any lag loading up any of the apps. There’s also a hefty 3GB of RAM on board. 

Camera

Being a tablet, Sony has decided not to include its 20.7MP sensor setup it uses in the smartphone range. This time round there’s an 8.1MP camera with a 2.2MP front facing camera for video calls. Both are capable of 1080p video.

Storage, Software & Battery

Onboard storage is 16GB, just like the 10in tablet and many of Sony's flagship phones. You can boost this by up to 128GB via microSD cards, which is of course ideal for a tablet as a multimedia consumption device for films and music.

The tablet launches with Android 4.4 KitKat accompanied by Sony’s Xperia Home overlay. There’s no confirmation whether the slate will get the update to Android L but being a new flagship product we’d expect it to see the update from Google eventually.

Sony’s Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a 4,500mAh battery inside, nothing anywhere near as large as the Xperia Z2 Tablet. That slate had a 6,000mAh battery but it also had an extra 2.1in of screen to power. Sony has also optimised the processor inside the Xperia Z3 range to improve the battery life. Naturally we'll have to spend more time with the Z3 Tablet Compact for our full review in order to assess the battery performance properly.

Conclusion

Out of everything Sony has launched at IFA 2014, this is the most innovative and interesting. I personally found the older 10in slate to be a little unwieldy, especially whilst trying to watch video on public transport and even sometimes around the home.

A more compact 8in slate is perfect, while Sony's premium design remains appealing and really adds to the tablet experience as a whole. If you’re looking for something smaller than the Xperia Z2 Tablet but just as refined and functional, you may be in luck with the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

We also went hands-on with the Xperia Z3Xperia Z3 Compact and the Sony SmartWatch 3.

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