Slick, elegant design, high-power performance – that’s what we should expect from Sony after last year’s first Xperia Z tablet. The ridiculously slim, light, and powerful Xperia Z made quite an impression on me last year so I was expecting “something wonderful” – to quote Dave Bowman from the movie “2010: The Year We Made Contant” about Xperia Z2 as well. Were my expectations met?
First of all, the new Xperia Z tablet has quite a hard time this time around, since the competition is pretty tough. On one side we have the iPad Air, the elegant “protégé” of the American giant Apple, and on the other side we have Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which both have a similar price range. With such a tough competition the Sony really needed to step up its game with his own tablet.
Once looking like a Sony, always looking like a Sony
You either love or not Sony’ square design, with sharp corner, and uniform parallel surfaces or not. It’s elegant, and I like it, but compared to Apple’s desirable and premium feel, which looks good both in woman’s and men’s hand, Xperia Z2 rather fits rather the latter. I wouldn’t give it to my girlfriend as a present, but would it accept gladly from her, if you catch my meaning. Its basic Sony design: elegant, but also a bit austere and uniform. The Z2 also looks like a Bravia TV, which isn’t surprising either. The unique frame, which contains strips of flat silver plastic along the length of each edge, is another trademark of the current Xperia range. Overall I liked the design, perhaps one design element I did not really care for are the cover pods. They are not only unattractive but also a bit hard to find for the first time, and stays clumsy to find later.
Sony’s strength regarding display was always the rich, deep colors and it’s especially right here. Xperia Z2 has simply the most vibrant display with richest colors I have ever seen in tablets and mobile phones alike. It produces significantly deeper colors than standard LCD panels, whilst avoiding much of the over saturation of many AMOLED screens. Sony calls this technology Live Color LED, which basically involves adding red and green elements to each light emitting diode. The rendering of reds are simply masterful, be it in the game of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, or a 1080p movie. I can guarantee you’ll never seen such red blood in the movie The Shining for example. Other colors are also vibrant and rich, just don’t forget to deactivate the Z2 auto brightness setting and duly crank it up to maximum level.
A bit low res
So the colors are vivid, but one problem still remains: Xperia Z2 display isn’t sharp enough for a brand new top model tablet. The 1920*1200 display is the same as with Xperia Z and it’s lagging a bit behind with also last year’s Nexus 10 having a 2560*1600 display. While Xperia Z2 has 224 PPI, iPad Air sports 264 PPI and the difference is noticeable when we compare each other with a web page, a book, or an application with small text. However richer, deeper colors makes up for a bit of lack of sharpness, while watching movies, so from this “point of view” (so to speak) the Xperia Z2 is a winner. To each his own strength… On the other hand, audio is clear and sounds nice, but maybe a bit “modest” in regards of loudness, and they are certainly lacking in bass. Still their positioning at either end of an already very wide tablet makes for better-than-usual sound separation. What’s more, thanks to the way they channel sound out of the front of the tablet, you won’t find yourself covering them with your hands.
Swimming with a KitKat
One of the Xperia Z family’s (mobile and tablet alike) most touted feature is the waterproofness and dust resistance. Is it practical? Well, if you would like to read in the bath, or take photos underwater, it’s not bad. Still, waterproofness isn’t an indispensable addition, but dust protection is certainly handy if you are not the careful type when you go out.
Concerning the user interface, I always liked Sony’s custom UIs which are simple, elegant and not as obtrusive as other Android tablets and phones. Xperia Z2 is no exception. The Sony Xperia Z2 ships with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and they have customized it less this time around – they didn’t need to do. KitKat in fact is Google Android’s best version so far. The UI is perfect the system is fast, bug-free, and even made me laugh when it made a whole movie on its own with music, pictures and its very own effects added!
Finally driving fast in San Andreas
Performance wise Xperia Z2 with its Snapdragon 801 CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, which is backed by a generous 3GB of RAM is certainly an upgrade from last year’s Xperia Z, which means it’s pretty fast but still left behind a bit by Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One. I have tested both Geekbench 3 and Antutu with similar results. However the tablet’s performance for everyday use is pretty good. While playing a 1080p movie performance is very nice, and the one of the most demanding Android games, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas generally ran fine on maximum settings and was beautiful on the big 10.1 screen, with only slight, barely noticeable lags here and there.
The battery life also needs to be recommended, it’s on par with Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and easily beating iPhone 5S.
The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is slimmer and lighter then ever, while still retaining the Z1’s distinctive looks and adding an the gorgeous Live Colour display. An improved processor and more RAM ensure that the tablet is near the top of the performance tree. It’s most probably one of the best Android tablet on the market, so if you don’t mind the price, you will have top quality for your money.
+ Live Color LED
+ Elegant design
+ Fast and furious
– Resolution a bit low
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