The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet faces the daunting task of flying the Z4 banner, when the Xperia Z4 smartphone is just an incremental update limited to the Japanese market. The 10.1-inch tablet seems up for the task however with contemporary specs, attractive styling and razor-thin profile.
The Xperia Z4 Tablet builds on the virtues of the Z2 Tablet from a year ago and the improvements are much easier to spot than in the Xperia smartphone range where Sony's twice-a-year release cycle has meant more gradual evolution.
We weren't particularly satisfied with the low 224ppi of the predecessor, rather thin even by last year's standards and we're happy to note that the tablet's display resolution has been brought up to date and is now 2,560 x 1,600 pixels.
Sony's design language has remained unchanged for a while, and while it may be getting a bit tired, it's stylish nonetheless. A few excess millimeters have been trimmed off the footprint, while thickness has been brought down to match the Apple iPad Air 2 at 6.1mm. And perhaps most importantly, an IP68 certification means you can submerge it in water for up to 30min and 1.5m in depth, without fearing for its life.
Most impressively, the tablet weighs just 393g, a good 10% lighter than both the predecessor and the Cupertino rival. Meanwhile, battery capacity hasn't been sacrificed and has remained at 6,000mAh, but will that be enough to power 80% percent more pixels and more capable chipset?
Speaking of chipsets, a whole year warrants an improvement in the innards and the Snapdragon 810 has replaced the S801 of the Xperia Z2 Tablet. We're only left to hope that Sony has managed to leverage the large surface area to benefit the heat dissipation and we finally the Snapdragon live up to its potential.
We have the LTE version of the tablet which comes with the added benefit of cellular connectivity. There's also a WI-Fi only model, but our findings should apply equally well to that one too. For the sake of simplicity we'll drop the LTE abbreviation for the rest of this review.
Quad-band 2G/3G, hepta-band 4G connectivity, LTE Cat.6 for download speeds up to 300Mbps
8.1MP autofocus camera with Exmor RS sensor; Info-eye, AR effects
1080p video recording @ 30fps, continuous autofocus and stereo sound
5.1MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA; Wireless TV-out
GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
32GB of built-in storage; microSD card slot
MHL-enabled microUSB port
NFC & ANT+ support
Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
Front-facing stereo speakers
Accelerometer and proximity sensor
Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
6,000mAh Li-Ion battery
Quite pricey at €579 or £499
Battery capacity raises questions
The Xperia Z4 Tablet is a hugely promising premium offering on the full-size tablet market. Perhaps a touch too premium, but we'll see if it succeeds to justify its price tag. It is, after all, the only mainstream tablet out there to boast IP68 certification and manages to do it in a super-slim and lightweight body. And that's one of the major question marks hanging above it - will battery life be good enough, or has the push for compactness meant a sacrifice in autonomy?
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet press photos
We'll find out on the following pages, but first things first - we kick off with design and hardware overview.
Disclaimer: This review is based in a pre-production Xperia Z4 Tablet LTE unit, running the latest available firmware version, as indicated by the device itself. Hence it's possible that parts of our test observations may not reflect the performance and qualities of the retail product. We'll update the test findings as soon as a retail unit becomes available to us.