Review by Sunetra Chakravati,2/6/2015 1:08:52 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Light as air (almost) | Waterproof | Handbag-friendly size | Brilliant battery-life | Playstation Integration
Extraordinary amount of bloatware | Expensive |
By Sunetra Chakravarti
We hadn't really seen a true competitor for Apple’s iPad Mini 2 until this little beauty landed. We didn't want to give it a quick look and instead used it regularly for two months.
While phones are getting bigger- our last reviewed phone was the bulked-up Google Nexus 6, tablets are getting smaller. And we can understand why, if all tablets functioned as beautifully as the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, there would be no reason to have the larger versions!
Weighing a tiny 270 gms (9.7 oz) and with a thickness of just 6.4mm, you will feel very scared the first couple of weeks you use the tablet, of actually snapping it onto two. Numbers will never convey how incredibly slim it is. It makes my iPhone 6 (with a transparent case) look bloated.
The Z3 Tablet Compact sticks to Sony’s ‘omnibalance’ design aesthetics to the core and is an understated metal and plastic slate. The plastic back is pebble-like matt-finished so no chance of fingerprints there! The plastic sides are finished in grey and you will be left wondering if it actually is metal…
As with theXperia Z3 phones, the power and volume buttons are on the right-hand side when holding the tablet in portrait-mode and the camera viewfinder is at the top middle instead of being on the side.
The tablet is waterproof and so perfect for binge-watching Netflix in the bath.
You get crisp and punchy visuals with a pixel density of 283ppi on the 1200 x 1920-pixel Triluminos panel. Gram for gram, it may not have the pixel density of its other stable-mates but it does very well in its own rights.
Apparently there is an oleophobic coating there somewhere, but I think Sony need to revisit this because during my time putting the tablet through its paces, it picked up prints like a fiend.
The Z3 Tablet Compact will not win you any photography awards unless you are Mario Testino. Although the specs seem decent enough, anything more than the most standard shots will yield results that you can do without. But then I have never used a tablet to take pictures. Let us just let that be the domain of tourists.
The 8.1-MP main camera does the job and the 2.3-MP front-facing one suffices perfectly for video calls and the odd selfie you might want to take but, as previously pointed out, not much more.
The only Android tablet that can act as a screen for your Playstation 4, the tablet is a first, but we do wish performance wasnt quite as laggy as it is.
Content streaming works well, but can be jittery at times. But we are sure the Other Half will be really happy that they can get on with watching telly without it being used to fuel your Playstation addiction.
And you don't have to take a break from gaming because you can just carry on playing in bed something that might not quite be possible with using your television set as the screen.
Switch on the tablet and you are greeted by pages and pages of pre-loaded apps. Some you might need but most of them are completely useless.
You get the whole of Google Play store at your fingertips but please be aware that there will not be too many apps that have been optimised for the Z3 Tablet Compact but to add further pressure to the already beleaguered processor, Sony’s apps for watching movies, playing music and games all make an appearance here. So you end up with three sets of apps, your own preferred ones from when you transferred to the new tablet, Sony’s selection of their best as well as the ones from Google Play. Furthermore, there’s others like strange dinosaur games, Garmin’s navigation app and a smorgasbord of others that you will have to spend spring-cleaning upon buying the tablet.
The battery is, by all means, massive at 4500mAH. How they managed to get it onboard this wafer-thin tablet is a question we would like to ask Sony very much. Binge-watching Netflix didn't dent the charge as much as we had thought it would and courtesy the fast-charging feature, 30-minute top ups were enough to go through a full day of 2 hour media guzzling sessions plus obsessively browsing the ASOS catalogue for a couple of hours more.
Sony’ve brought skinny back. They have squared up with Apple to give their ‘mini’ series real competition. However, turning up at a fight wearing a fat suit is not a good look and the bloat wear that comes packaged with does nothing to help the tablet win. Combine this with a crazy-expensive price point ( ~£300) and you are left wondering why Sony didn't think this through.
However, expandable storage, beautiful form factor, waterproof build and Playstaion integration help it stay at the top of the pile.