Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Review

The Xperia Z2 Tablet is thin, light, waterproof and generally excellent.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: On the plus side

The Xperia Z2 tablet is surprisingly light. At 426 grams it’s lighter than the iPad Air, although it’s still slightly heavier than Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX tablet. The real surprise here is that while the Xperia Z2 is relatively thin, with a 10.1 inch 1920×1200 LCD to slot into its 266×6.4x172mm frame you more or less expect it to be heavy in the hand. It simply isn’t, and everyone I’ve handed the Xperia Z2 to has commented on this first up.
Under its diminutive frame lies a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3Ghz processor with 3GB of onboard RAM, a solid combination that assists the Xperia Z2 to a Geekbench 3 score of 2066 in multicore mode, although the usual caveats about dodgy Android benchmarking still apply. The practical upshot is that the Xperia Z2 Tablet is a solid performer with most apps, including heavy gaming. Sony rate’s the Xperia Z2 Tablet’s battery life at 13 hours for video playback, a figure my own tests bear out.

It looks solid and heavy, but it's instead very light indeed.
It looks solid and heavy, but it’s instead very light indeed.

Video watching is a pleasant task on the Xperia Z2 Tablet with a vivid 1920×1200 224ppi display. Wireless is covered by 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, IR Remote and NFC functions. Storage is either 16GB or 32GB, supplemented with a microSD card slot on the top of the tablet.
While Samsung has been busy touting how waterproof its Samsung Galaxy S5 is, it’s a feature that Sony’s been making a part of its Xperia line for some time. The Xperia Z1 and Z2 phones are waterproof as is the Z Ultra. That’s fine and understandable for phones, but Sony has also applied the same waterproofing magic to the Z2 tablet. I’ve got to suspect that fewer people go swimming with their tablets than their smartphones, but it’s still a nice feature to have.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: On the minus side

The Xperia Z2 Tablet is very thin and very light, but it’s also very big for a 10 inch tablet, and nowhere is this more evident than in the bezel, which measures in at 1.5cm top and bottom and over 2cm at the sides. The entire front panel is quite dark, so when you switch it on, the screen is rather solidly contrasted to the bezel, which feels a lot like wasted space. There may well be technical reasons why this is so, but given the Xperia Z2 Tablet’s rather large size, you’re going to notice it every single time.
It’s dustproof and waterproof and very thin indeed, but Sony has also managed to build a tablet that is rather strangely flexible. I’m not talking here of flexible in the LG G Flex sense where it’s an intended feature, but instead in that it’ll flex with even a small amount of force due to its largely plastic construction. I haven’t snapped it (yet), but it’s worrying.
The Xperia Z2 also suffers from an unusual restriction at play if you’re after a tablet with multiple users in mind, because if you do opt for the 4G LTE variant of the tablet, you’re stuck with a single user at any time, whereas the Wi-Fi models are free to allow multiple accounts. That’s not purely a Sony matter, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
Like most other waterproof mobile devices, there’s a price to pay for sealing up the Xperia Z2 Tablet, and that’s in the fact that to add a microSD card or recharge the tablet, you’ve got to flick up a tiny covering plate. Not only is it mildly irksome, but I wonder about the breakage rate on these kinds of tabs, because once it’s broken, your waterproofing is completely moot.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: Pricing

Sony offers the Xperia Z2 in 16 and 32GB Wi-Fi variants for a suggested RRP of $599 and $699 respectively. There’s also a 4G LTE model with 16GB of onboard storage for $749.
Telstra offers the 4G variant on contract on plans starting at $50/month with 1GB of data (excess 2.44c/MB) for a minimum 24 month cost of $1200, or outright (and presumably locked to Telstra) for $720.

Sony Xperia Z2: Fat Duck Verdict

The Xperia Z2 Tablet isn’t without its flaws. I do wish they’d been able to cut the bezel down and thus reduce its overall size just a little bit, because as it stands even some “generic” tablet accessories will struggle to accommodate its rather peculiar size. Equally, the flexing of the plastic gives me pause for thought regarding its long-term durability.
That being said, in almost every other respect the Xperia Z2 Tablet is a solid winner in the increasingly competitive tablet space.
It’s a tablet you could fearlessly take outside, or into the kitchen, or even the bathroom. Although if you do, please don’t hand it to me afterwards.

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