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XPERIA Z2 Tablet: Evolution & Revolution At Its Very Best!!! ( Updated Review 30th May 2014),
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This review is from: Sony Xperia Z2 10.1 inch Tablet (Black) - (Qualcomm 2.3GHz, 3GB RAM, 16GB Memory, Google Android 4.4) (Personal Computers)
Please find my updated thoughts at the end of my review. Thanks
If you are totally confused by the mixed reviews of the online tech community and looking for someone who can give you an honest real life hands on experience with the Xperia Z2 tablet then you have come to the right place. I have sympathy for you as I was exactly in the same dilemma just a few days ago but now I know exactly what it's all about. Sit back & relax as this is going to be an in depth honest review of the Z2 tablet. My areas of concern for you guys are
a)It's your hard earned money that is at stake for a long term investment
b)Is this tablet a game changer & all the hype surrounding this tablet is true or is it just marketing
I am going to be discussing the four major areas which are of the most importance to an average consumer. Let's get into it straightaway without wasting anymore time.
Design & Build Quality (4.5/5) :
This is the worlds thinnest & lightest waterproof tablet in its class. It only weighs in at 426 g which is even lighter then one of the lightest tablets on the planet "The ipad Air "(469 g). This alone is an achievement enough from Sony to grab your attention. The tablet is wafer thin & gives you the impression as if its going to break. But Sony has done a brilliant job by not only keeping the tablet slimmer but studier as well. It's only when you hold it in your hands that you realise how well built the Z2 tablet really is. Well thought out design using the omni- balance design language by Sony results in a spectacular & sexy looking tablet. The back has a matt texture to it & hence the tablet gives you a strong grip whilst reading or browsing. There is a 8 MP camera at the back along with NFC as well.The IR blaster resides at the very top hence giving you an added ability to use the tablet as a remote control for your TV & home theatre. USB charging port & Micro SD card slots are conveniently located just next to the IR blaster covered with the flaps ( IP55/58 rated for waterproof certification ).The power button & the volume rocker are firmly placed on the left handside & have a quality feel to them. The 3.5 mm jack is at the bottom left corner of the tablet ( ideally I would have had it at the top). My only gripe with design is the extra bezels that the tablet has on both sides. Sony could have definitely reduced the bezels now that almost every product coming out in 2014 has slimmer bezels.All in all the physical dimensions along with the unique design language gives you a superior product in the Xperia Z2 tablet & better then any tablet I have ever held before ( trust me I have held & owned quite a few).
Screen Quality (5/5):
This is one area where Sony has improved big time. I literally hated the TFT LCD panels on the old Xperia devices. They all suffered with problems like viewing angles & decoloration plus sometimes over saturation. Finally Sony has adapted to the IPS LCD type of panels & they are the same type of screens used in devices like HTC One M8 & the LG G2. Problems with the viewing angles is thing of the past now. Colors are very natural & punchy plus they have a great tone to them. It's a sheer pleasure looking at the screen whether watching videos or browsing the Internet. Kudos to Sony for finally addressing one of the biggest issues that the Xperia devices had in the past. The screen has a pixel density of 224 ppi which has sufficient & more then enough pixels for a screen of this size. It's a Full HD 1200*1920 panel & is simply gorgeous to look at. I know the resolution is low as compared to the likes of say Galaxy Note Pro series of tablets but that is because Sony has optimised the performance of the tablet along with a decent battery life which we will talk about later. Just remember the more pixels you have on the screen the harder the processor has to work to move those pixels around no matter what you are doing on the tablet. This can result in issues ranging from performance ( like the Notoriously laggy Galaxy Tab Series) to battery life & optimizations. I personally don't mind the extra pixels and welcome them with both hands but then execute it like Apple does. High powered screens with superb optimizations & humongous batteries.
This beauty is fitted with a beast of a processor. Yes it's Qualcomms top General the Snapdragon 801 chipset clocked at 2.3 GHz backed up by 3GB RAM. That is some serious power meaning Z2 Tablet is powerful, fast and lag free. Graphically intensive games run smoothly on the large screen,thanks to Adreno 330 GPU, and apps launch almost instantly. In my experience of using the tablet I didn't encounter any lag or stutter. Everything including the UI runs butter smooth & once again hats off to Sony for great World class optimization ( something I would have liked Samsung to do with there Touchwiz). The tablet comes with Android KitKat 4.4.2 again the latest & greatest available. Front facing speakers sound nice & clear but not loud. Neverthless its very encouraging to see Sony putting the speakers at the front ( both in the Z2 phone and tablet ) of the device. More manufacturers should follow the lead by HTC & Sony in this particular area. All in all well done Sony for making a great performance tablet.
P. S :
The slight bit of issue that I have noticed is with the touch response on the screen & it mostly occurs when the tablet is plugged in for charging. The screen stops responding to any touch & freezes & then comes back on again after a few seconds. In using the tablet generally charged up ( not plugged in) you don't see the issue come up. I been looking at this particular problem in discussion forums & the problem is wide spread & apparently Sony are aware of it trying to work on a fix. To be honest I was kinda aware of this problem even before I bought the tablet but was told that the update was available but no update arrived out of the box.
Oops guess what!!! A system update (17.1.1.A.0.402) has just popped up on my tablet lol funny. Blessing in disguise I guess & our prayers have been answered. That's why I normally end up telling people to be patient when it comes to buying newly released products. Almost every product newly released has issues & big companies like Sony,HTC, Samsung & Apple would release an update fairly quickly. I would definitely update my review once I install the new update. If the performance improves & bugs are eradicated then I will definitely give the one star back that I took from the performance section earlier. Keep an eye on my review people :-)
Battery Life (5/5):
The battery capacity on the Z2 tablet is only 6000 mAh as compared to 8827 mAh for the iPad Air and 8220 mAh for Samsung's 10.1in tablets. It's shocking to see that on paper Sony is well behind but worry not people because you are going to get another shock here. This tablets battery life almost matches that of the iPad & betters the Galaxy Tab Pro series of tablets. I own an ipad (4th Gen) too & quiet frankly I am shocked how Sony have managed to squeeze so much juice out of a relatively smaller battery. I have taken various readings (screen shots as evidence) & been keeping a close eye on the battery life. I am simply blown away by the great stamina offered by this tablet. Been surfing, Facebook,syncing three email accounts non stop, installing apps,YouTube & what not but this magical battery holds it well together. No matter what you do it only goes down at the rate of 10% in approximately one hour of non stop usage. Now this matches the endurance of my ipad which I been using for nearly two years. Kudos to Sony again for giving you a world class battery life from a relatively smaller battery in this class. It's pretty reminiscent to the way HTC have managed to squeeze super endurance out of a smaller battery of 2600 mAh on the M8. It's very encouraging to see that the well known statement of " Bigger battery does not necessarily mean Better battery " is finally holding true after years of hard work & is definitely paying off.
Stamina mode is there to help last the tablet even longer once it's on standby mode. I have lived with Xperia devices in the past & tested the Stamina mode quite often & it works amazingly well. Once I done my extensive testing on the Z2 Tablet standby times on Stamina mode I will definitely update my review.
I have tried covering all I could in a simple & short way for all ages to understand. My views are solely based on my own experiences so far with the Z2 tablet. If you need to ask me anything please don't hesitate to leave a comment & I will be more then happy to help. Keep an eye on my review as I will updating it very shortly once I have installed the newly available update. Thanks
Update 30th May 2014:
Well I been testing the recently installed update & I have mostly good but some bad news as well. Let's start off with the most important bit first touchscreen response. Update has definitely improved the touchscreen response a lot. The screen doesn't freeze or becomes unresponsive anymore whether the tablet is on or off charge. But still the touchscreen response is not perfect as on the iPad. This is certainly the best Android tablet no question about it but not the best tablet in the world right now. But if you have your reasons like me ( ability to drag & drop data, expandable memory,open source nature of Android with benefits, worlds lightest & thinnest waterproof tablet and much more) then it can't get any better then this as far as Android is concerned.Until Sony improves there touchscreen response more ( which is quite possible with future updates) I will keep the performance rating to 4.5 /5 & not 5/5.
Battery continues to impress me still. I been testing the Sony Stamina Mode on standby & happy to report the following
Standby time ( From 100% charge ) left overnight with Stamina Mode Off: 10H 32M with battery down to 99% ( Highly power efficient Snapdragon 801)
Standby time ( From 100% charge ) left overnight with Stamina Mode On: 10H 32 M with battery down to 99 %
On both the Ocassions tablet was very impressive on standby times. The question that comes to your mind is: whats the point of Stamina Mode if standby times are the same? Well the Stamina Mode will cut off all Wireless connections if you were to leave them on. With Stamina Mode Off the wireless connections like Wifi, bluetooth & more will continue to run in the background resulting in more battery drain.
Stamina mode has all also been working well whilst the tablet was being used. From my understanding Stamina Mode was supposed to be working during standby mode only but it seems to me that Sony has definitely made some changes to it & now it works during the normal use as well. How did I find out? Well I been getting even better results with Stamina Mode on & the battery drain during normal use has been significantly less.
In short the battery continues to impress me & is still dropping at an average of 10% per hour with moderate / heavy use. Well done Sony for an excellent battery life with only 6000 mAh on board. Will update my review again once more updates hit the tablet. Thanks
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Showing 1-10 of 34 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 May 2014 23:17:55 BDT
Astrid Rose says:
Thanks for a very helpful review, i was thinking of upgrading from a Kindle Fire HD to something bigger, I was tempted to buy an I Pad or a Galaxy Tablet but when I saw the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet I was curious so I had to read a review on it. I had not heard of an Xperia Tablet so was impressed with your very comprehensive review. Here goes!
In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2014 23:42:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 May 2014 23:45:27 BDT
Thanks for the kind compliments. Well coming from the Amazon world & jumping onto an iPad or an Android tablet will indeed be a lovely experience. Kindle locks you to Amazon ecosystem ( more or less like iOS does on the iPad ) but the beauty of Android is in it's open source nature. Android tablets allow you to download books ( in other words can act like a kindle ) plus they let you tinker with the system the way you want it to be.
The two major players on Android Tablet platform in terms of sheer performance are Asus & Sony. In terms of market share , as a result of mega marketing , it's Samsung. I have had nearly all major brand tablets from Nexus to Samsung & Apple to Asus. Most top end tablets perform fairly well on Android but this is the first time an Android tablet has impressed me so much that I am thinking of dumping my iPad ( I love my iPad & I don't say this very often ). Sony has found the formula to compete with the iPad if not completely kill it. The future seems even more promising & I can't wait to see the revolution that is to come.
Just for info the new system update that I installed yesterday has been working well & that freezing issue with the screen has now been fixed. I just need to complete my 48 hours testing before I update my review & change the rating. If you are thinking of buying it then buy it with confidence. Keep an eye on my review & it will be updated very soon with more stats on Stamina mode,battery life & bugs. Good luck :-)
In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2014 22:25:59 BDT
How did the update go?
Despite owning two Asus Memo Pad 10" for almost a year (my very first and only Android device), I still am very much a beginner. None of my friends are into technology, so I can't ever get any advice from anyone. I had problems with both Asus Memo Pads, and both had to go back, so for the past couple of weeks I have been confusing myself silly over which tablet to get now. I am loath to get another Asus Memo Pad, particularly as the the updated version has an even lower rating than the one I had! I am torn between the Nexu 10 and the Samsung Note 10.1 2014, but I have just read your review of the Sony one. I did look at the Sony one about 1.5 years ago when I was thinking about my first tablet, but it had colour problems then, and was also deemed a tablet aimed at those with some background in technology....which I definitely don't have! I am at a real disadvantage, as I just don't understand the tech talk involved in comparing these tablets.
PS. I would need to use a tablet whilst charging it, as I am disabled and have a condition where I have to lie down most of the time, hence me having to use the tablet instead of my PC. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks :o)
In reply to an earlier post on 28 May 2014 01:11:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 May 2014 01:12:48 BDT
So far the update is going fine. The screen has not frozen & all seems to be working fine even with the charger plugged in. I am just carrying out some battery tests with / without stamina mode & will be updating my review very soon.
Don't worry my friend as you have come to the right place. No matter how many questions you have & whatever you wanna know whether it's advice or a suggestion related to a gadget just ask me. I am your friend from today and will be more then happy to assist you in anyway possible. I have years of experience with Android & have a strong computer engineering background & will try to assist you in anyway possible.
You are not the first one complaining about the Asus memo pad. Even though Asus generally make decent tablets but for some reason all there memo pad series have mostly been seen as a failure for nearly all sizes. May be because they are using the Intel chipset instead of Qualcomm. We will discuss that in detail later.
Sony Xperia Z tablet last year came with the hardware which was outdated already by the time it hit the shops. This time around with Xperia Z2 tablet they made sure that they were ahead of the game. That's why I got myself one as well. These are serious specs & the tablet is future proof for a long time to come.
I typed this all on the Z2 tablet whilst it was plugged in. Be rest assured that it has no problem of screen freezing since the update & seems to be working fine. I will definitely update the review very soon once I have carried out other tests. All the best & keep an eye on my review. Thanks & take care my friend.
In reply to an earlier post on 28 May 2014 10:42:56 BDT
Thanks so much for your detailed reply.
Time is running out for me as far as getting a replacement tablet. I am now in sooooo much pain from having sat at the computer so much over this past week or so, trawling through all the reviews on the new Asus Memo Pad, the Nexus 10, the Z2 and the Note 10.1 (I have some kind of neuropathic problem from my butt to my feet, so the more I sit, the worse the pain).
I was considering the Note 10.1 as I liked the idea of the better camera and the fact that you can write notes on pictures, make scrapbooks etc and it also has an sd card but again, one of the reviewers on Youtube, mentioned that it is probably a tablet for the more knowledgeable person...which I am definitely not! There also seems to be a problem with lag on it, but I don't know if this would bother me too much, after having all the problems I did with the Asus!
I don't like to admit it, but I guess I am a bit of a technophobe. It would be different if I had someone to show me how things work, but I don't have that. Last November I treated myself to a Sony mp3 walkman (my very first one), and I STILL haven't set it up!...partly because I would have to sit at the PC to do it, but mainly because I just have no idea how to set it up! None of these things come with instructions! I know I will love it once I have got it going!
One of the reasons I thought about going with the Nexus 10 is that it seems to have so many Youtube videos and other tutorials about it. I thought that would be a good way to learn about it. The Asus Memo Pad had virtually nothing like this, so you are just on your own, trying to figure out what does what! lol
In reply to an earlier post on 28 May 2014 12:17:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 May 2014 20:06:35 BDT
Ok it seems that you been doing your home work which is great. Firstly it makes you more aware of what you are talking about & secondly it's easier to make someone understand who knows what they want. So the tablets in contention are
Note 10.1 2014 Edition
Xperia Z2 Tablet
Let's discuss there pros & cons in bullet points for a better & easier understanding.
* Pure form of Android with timely updates
* Superb non compromising performance
* Cheap to buy
* High resolution screen
* Cheap build quality
* Uninspiring design
* Outdated hardware & an older model as compared to the newer generation of tablets
* Average battery life
* No SD slot for expanding memory
* Screen viewing angle & decoloration issues
Note 10.1 2014 Edition :
* Very high resolution screen
* S Pen for enhanced functionality ( like you mentioned drawing & stuff )
* SD Card for expandable memory
* Packed full of features ( not sure if it would benefit you but for some it's enticing )
* Good battery life
* Definitely a decent Camera for a tablet with LED flash
* Stability issues with the software ( TouchWiz )
* Ocassinal Lag throughout the system specially during multitasking & multiwindow ( not acceptable for a device with 3 GB RAM )
* Cheap build quality
* Too many options on the system software hence making it difficult to use most of the times
Xperia Z2 Tablet :
* Worlds lightest & thinnest tablet making it ideal for you to be using it in bed. No other tablet in this class is as light.
* Ease of use world class & closer to Vanilla Android ( like Joshua often says from Android Authority in his YouTube reviews " You keep it simple You keep it fast " )
* Best build quality among the three tablets in contention
* Exceptional battery life ( with Stamina Mode on )
* SD Card for expandable storage
* Waterproof with IP55/58 certification ( none other tablets offer that ) good for you as you might occasionally spill coffee,tea or water in bed...not that you would but peace of mind is there )
* Very fast software performance from a third party skin ( Nexus is the only other ROM which gives you that kinda performance )
* Not the best in class screen but still lovely to look at & more then enough for browsing,gaming & video
* Extra bezels on all sides ( not much of a problem for me to be honest but definitely something Sony can improve on )
* 8 MP Camera with no LED flash ( i use my phones camera so again not an issue for me personally .. Not too sure about you )
So here we have it my friend. It's totally down to you now. I am happy to see that you are also looking around on the web. Please do match my info with the tech community online & let me know what you think. Ready to have further discussions if you feel like. I absolutely want to make sure that my friend makes the right choice. Have you not considered the iPad or is that something which totally puts you off cuz of the way it's highly dependant on iTunes ?
Posted on 2 Jun 2014 11:14:59 BDT
N. Beard says:
Thank you for taking the time with this review. Best I have seen including YouTube.
I have just ordered one
Thank you again
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2014 13:24:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2014 13:25:06 BDT
You are gonna love the tablet if Android is something you are after. Specially the battery life is amazing with Stamina Mode switched on. I am regularly getting 10 hrs out of it on a daily basis & that is with heavy usage.
Thanks for the kind compliments & if you have anything to ask once you get the tablet then please free to get in touch. Good luck Neal :D
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2014 18:41:31 BDT
Hi again (J. Choudhry)
Sorry for not getting back (more migraines!).
I wanted to thank you very much for your detailed rundown on all the pros and cons of the various tablets. It made me think of what "I" really need out of a tablet, and after a lot more research, I have bought the Samsung Note 10.1. Whether it will turn out to be a good buy I don't know, but it suited my needs more than the other two.
Thanks again. Very kind.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2014 03:36:16 BDT
Glad you made the choice which made you feel happy. All these tablets are top Android tablets & should serve you well. Good luck with your purchase mate. Like always feel free to ask if you do get stuck somewhere :D