Is the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet the best Android tablet on the market?
Let's be honest there are a plethora of android tablets out there from the downright criminally poor knock offs coming out of back alley markets to the pristine units coming from the big players in the space. The Xperia Z4 sits firmly at the top end of that list maybe even taking the top spot.
This is one slim machine, the first thing you notice when you pick it up is just how slim it is. Coming in at a minuscule 6.1mm and weighing only 393 grams it is the same width as the latest iPad Air 2 but it comes in at 44 grams lighter. It is absolutely lovely to hold and it is hard to imagine this is actually a 10.1 inch tablet.
Although it is a predominantly plastic build it does not at all feel cheap and you can tell it is a quality device as soon as you pick it up. The bezels on the font may not be the most pretty part of the design, especially with the push nowadays in the phone market to have as little bezel as possible, but they do serve a purpose with a device this thin you really do need some real estate to put your thumbs just to make sure it is secure in the hand.
To add to this the tablet has an IP65/68 water and dust resistance rating. Allowing you to submerge it up to 1.5m deep in fresh water for up to 30 mins without creating a very nice expensive placemat.
To round it out there is a your standard power and volume rockers, a micro usb for charging and data transfer, a small plastic flap also covers the micro sd card slot (giving you up to an extra 128gb of storage) and the 4G/LTE sim card slot. On the face you also have the usual array of sensors, a 5.1mp selfie camera and some very well hidden front facing speakers to ensure the simplistic design is kept.
One of the biggest draw cards of this tablet is the screen, it is big, bright and beautiful. Packing a 10.1 inch IPS LCD 2K screen (2560 x 1600 with 299 ppi) the display is as sharp as I have seen on a tablet and the colours and viewing angle are top of the class. I have never been a big tablet user, I tend to use my phone for most day to day gaming and video watching. But while using this tablet I tended to keep my phone in my pocket and pull out the tablet for my train commute.
Power has never been the number one goal for the tablet market but this one holds its own with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, clocked at 2 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 430 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The Z4 is a breeze to use, and the processing package makes it smooth and seamless. Jumping between apps, multi-tasking and gaming have all been no problem at all for it to handle.
There is also a 6000mAh battery included somewhere in this tiny body and Sony claims you can get up to 17 hours of video watching time thanks to the Stamina battery saver mode. From my experience in using this for my day to day as well as watching videos, playing games and streaming music on my 2+ hour commute into the city each day I could easily get more than 10 hours of use out of a single charge.
Out of the box the Z4 is running Android 5.0.2 with Sony’s Xperia UI layered over the top. It doesn’t look like Sony have tried to do too much to the stock Android, there are a few little tweaks here and there like being able to customise the shortcuts in the swipe down menu.
You also have PS4 Remote Play, which will appeal to those with a PS4 in the lounge room and want to play over Wi-Fi on the go, you can also connect up your DualShock controller with your tablet to enhance the gaming experience.
Ok so if you are buying a tablet purely on the camera you need to stop and take a good hard look at yourself, we all know that tablet cameras have never been a major focus. I mean do people actually take pictures with tablets?
Anyway it is no different in this case, yes the Sony has an 8MP camera on the back and takes perfectly acceptable photos in good light however once the light starts to diminish so too does the quality of the photos with no flash the noise quickly makes a big impact. This is the same for the front facing camera which has some really neat wide angels but suffers from grain as well.
But seriously if you are going to be taking pictures I would not recommend using any tablet and stick to your smart phone or a standalone camera.
This really is a top notch tablet and it has been a long time since we have really had anyone challenge the likes of the iPad in this space. The screen is amazing and it handled everything I could through at it. The one sticking point for most is going to be the price with the Z4 starting at $799 for the Wi-Fi only model and LTE version costing a bit more again. This puts it into the same ball park as the iPad Air 2. But you know what they say you get what you pay for and this really is a contender for the best android tablet on the market.