The Sony Xperia Z2 is Sony’s latest Android tablet and it comes almost a year after it launched the first iteration in the series. Although the Xperia Z2 looks similar to its predecessor, this latest tablet is much thinner and lighter. In fact, it beats Apple’s iPad Air on both scores, measuring just 6,4mm thick and weighing only 440g.
The Xperia Z2 is a beautiful tablet. It features strong lines with rounded corners and a matte black finish to accentuate the black mirror bezel and the brushed metal edges. Although the bezel is a little thicker than we would have liked, it makes holding the tablet much easier due to the larger space around the display.
There is a power button situated on the right side, with a volume button occupying the space below it. There is also a 3,5mm headphone jack, awkwardly positioned on the bottom right hand corner of the tablet.
Sony has also included an infrared blaster, which turns it into a universal remote for a wide range of home theatre products. Users can even program custom codes for devices that are not supported out the box.
The Sony Xperia Z2 supports DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) and Miracast wireless display technology to connect it to TVs, enabling users to share content on a bigger screen. There is even built-in near-field communication support, although no supported apps come bundled with the device.
One of the few gripes we have are the plastic covers that conceal the micro USB and microSD card slots. Although a necessity to keep the unit watertight, these are always cumbersome to work with when charging the tablet or accessing the microSD slot.
Another thing we don’t like is the Z2’s affinity for attracting fingerprints. Both the LCD and the matte black cover on the back of the tablet are prone to smears and smudges. Fortunately, one can technically wipe these off with a damp cloth, or even wash the tablet under a tap — it has a waterproof rating of IP55 and IP58, meaning it can be submerged 1,5m underwater for up to 30 minutes, provided all the covers are securely closed. It’s also dust resistant, which could prove useful on road trips in the country.
The screen resolution is a respectable 1 920×1 200 pixels and the display uses Sony’s Triluminos technology which makes the picture more vivid. At 224ppi, the Z2’s pixel density is slightly lower than the iPad Air’s 264ppi. In real-world terms, the display on this tablet is very good. At its brightest setting, even viewing the display in sunlight is acceptable, although the reflective coating on the screen can prove problematic when viewed at certain angles.
Under the hood, the tablet has a Qualcomm 2,3GHz quad-core processor with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. It can also accommodate microSD cards up to 64GB. Performance-wise it’s difficult to find fault with the Z2 Tablet. Application response times are snappy and there is no lag while using the device.
There are two cameras built into the tablet. The camera on the back is eight megapixels, while the front-facing is two megapixels.
The Z2 supports Wi-Fi (802.11, including the “n” and “a/c” variants) as well as a wide range of 4G/LTE bands.
Plays nicely with PlayStation
The Z2 runs the latest Android — KitKat 4.4.2 — and Sony hasn’t allowed its own skin to drown out the Android experience. The company has bundled a handful of its own apps: Movies, Walkman and Games. The last of the three is based on Sony’s Playstation Network and allows users to play games using a PlayStation DualShock 3 controller.
PlayStation integration goes a little deeper, giving gamers the opportunity to use the Z2 as a second screen for a game if it supports it. PlayStation 4 owners can also select and download games directly to their console from the tablet. Unfortunately, there is no support for older PlayStation models.
The Walkman app is a music player that can also be used to play music off a custom streaming server if the user has one set up at home. In other regions, Sony also offers access to its Music Unlimited service, but this is not yet available in South Africa.
Movies offers the same functionality and gives users the platform to view movies or stream them from a compatible movie streaming server on the user’s network.
The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is the sexiest Android tablet currently available. It is super thin and light and its design oozes class.
It will find favour with a broad range of consumers, particularly those that have already invested in a Playstation 4.
The waterproofing, meanwhile, will appeal to those who just must use their tablet while in the tub.
The Sony Xperia Z2 tablet has a suggested retail price of R9 999. An equivalently specced iPad Air retails for R8 499. Although these choices almost always come down to the buyer’s platform of choice, at R1 500 less, the Air is impossible to ignore when weighing up the options. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media