It’s quite evident from the devices that Sony has unveiled in the recent years that the company has become quite mature and experimental. No matter what market share they hold, the thing is that their phones and tablets have certainly become better over the years (and costlier too). Refinement the products has always been their priority rather than adding a host of useless features which basically proved to be quite a success for both their previous tablets – the Xperia Z2 and Z3 compact.
Now, the company is finally ready with t
heir brand new tablet, the Xperia Z4 which would be replacing the Z2. On paper it looks like the company has made all the right choices regarding their latest tablet. So, let’s delve inside the review to see whether it’s worth all that hype or not.
Pretty ‘Sony-Like’ in terms of Hardware
Every brand has its own legacy design and generally all the devices that are released follow the same path with just a few nitty-gritty changes here and there. So design wise, one can hardly expect much from the Z4 tablet as it resembles heavily to its predecessors. With this one, Sony seems to have done only a few small changes but one can hardly complain about that has as Sony’s hardware design always feels premium and stunning.
However, the Z4 does have improvements over the Z2, for instance, it is distinctly smaller and has slimmer bezels which eventually helped to made the tablet a lot more ergonomic design wise when compared to the Z2. Dimensions aren’t the only thing that has changed; Z4’s weight has been trimmed down too. While the Z4 weighs 393g (0.87 pound), its big brother Z2 weighed 439g (0.97 pound).
On the inside, the tablet is equipped with the latest hardware like; a Snapdragon 810 chip, 3GB RAM; 10.1-inch 2K panel; expandable storage up to 32GB and 6,000mAh battery along with usual connectivity options of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC.
Impressive Display, Average Sound Quality
While the Xperia Z2 tablet came bundled with a bright 1,920 x 1,200 display, the one on the Z4 is a 2,560 x 1,600 panel which is just as gorgeous as the one on Z2. The display tends to use Sony’s own Triluminos technology which helps to keep the PPI as well as the max brightness of the tablet up. Colour reproduction is great and viewing angles too are nothing less than perfect.
Beneath the sun, however, the display might leave you flabbergasted as it tends to suffer from the same old disease with which the Z2 was affected i.e. the hyper reflective glass which forces the display to perform poorly outside.
Stereo speakers mounted on Z4’s display’s either side tend to pump out a kind of audio which feels extremely distorted and noisy especially at higher volumes. So, those who prefer speakers for listening to songs and for watching movies might have to reconsider their option or simply switch to headphones while those who prefer using headphones shouldn’t be worried at all.
A Stock Android Experience
Using stock android is always a joyful experience and no matter how much efforts company put on their personalised UIs, deep down they know what people are appreciating and what they are not. That’s exactly the reason why in case of software, Sony decided to do it otherwise. Though the Z4 has a modified Android Lolipop version 5.0.2., it also has Sony’s Xperia interface which hasn’t changed much over the years. All sort of material design tweaks that arrived with Android Lollipop have been integrated in the new Z4.
Another unique addition in terms of software is the new Remote Play feature which lets users stream their PlayStation 4 on their tablet from anywhere with a simple internet connection. The Remote Play feature works exceptionally well and can provide a great gaming experience on the Z4 tablet, thanks to the good Wi-Fi chip inside it along with the support for real controllers.
An all New Keyboard Dock
Just like the Surface Pro, the Z4 too comes bundled with a keyboard dock so that you can use it as a laptop. In fact in the UK, the company made it pretty clear that they won’t sell the Z4 without this wireless keyboard dock. This keyboard dock that comes with Z4 connects wirelessly and it keeps the tablet held in one place with the help of rubber inserts in a slot that’s situated above the keys.
Overall functionality of the keyboard is pretty satisfying. The keys are well-spaced and the entire typing experience is pretty good.
A Disappointing Camera
The Z4’s rear is mounted with an 8.1-megapixel shooter that’s exactly the same as the one found on previous model. Photos taken by it are often disappointing and it will tend to give rare moments of happiness to those who are very much into photography.
All the photos tend to have a general softness which is especially common when you are trying to get a good close-up shot.
Great Performance and Stupendous Battery Life
Today, one can easily find a couple of Snapdragon 810-powered devices, but, this is the first one that has Qualcomm’s best chip paired-up with a super high-res display, the result – an average performance in terms of devices powered by Snapdragon 810.
Performance wise the Z4 tablet shines in every corner and rarely will you find an issue that’s worth complaining. Graphically intensive games can be run smoothly and all sorts of daily tasks which an average user might throw at the tablet will be performed just like a flagship should.
Sony always works hard to bring about the best battery life for its devices and it clearly shows for the Z4 as it offers a pretty sturdy battery life. Sony, in fact, claims that one can easily squeeze out 17 hours of video playback time from the Z4. The battery life might take a hit while using the tablet’s Remote Play feature but on an average, the Z4 can definitely give a tough competition to other products in the market in terms of battery life.
Summin’ it Up
The new Sony Z4 tablet surely has its own share of shortcomings like; the woeful speakers, a ‘not-to-be-taken-outside’ display and a meaningless yet compulsory keyboard dock, however, that’s not the end of the story.
In fact there’s a lot to love here and everything inside the hood is exactly what one would expect from an Android tablet. It’s light and thin, powerful, is waterproof and can offer a great gaming experience to those who own a PS4. However, looking at its current exorbitant price, one might just do fine if he/she goes for another tablet.