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MWC: First impressions – Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Allan Swann
February 27, 2013

Sony doesn’t have much of a pedigree when it comes to tablets – but to be fair nor does anyone outside of Apple.

The Xperia Tablet Z is a surprisingly focused device from Sony, and a pretty good indicator of where new CEO Kaz Hirai is taking the company.

For starters, the device is physically neutral. Its design is a blank slate – like the Xperia Z smartphone, it is nice square edges, solid plastic design and little else. As the spokesperson described it, the form factor is supposed to take a back seat to “merge into the environment”.

Which is just fine, because the Xperia Tablet Z is very thin (6.9mm) and very light (490g), it is so light (yet solid) in the hand that it is actually a much more comfortable experience than the king of tablets, the iPad 4

Sony says they will be rolling it out around May, at a $399 price point (16GB no 4G), with a 32GB version at $449 and the full noise 4G version will be $499. All versions have a very handy Micro SD slot (expandable to 64GB). No silly Sony Memorystick nonsense here.

The screen is very nice – while Sony claims it is the only tablet to get a 100% colour reproduction certificate from NTSC (apparently the nearest rival is 87%), it is still lower res than the iPad. The Xperia Tablet Z boasts a 1900×1200 resolution.

Where it is quite nifty is its dust and water protection – it’s a tablet you can use in the kitchen or on the beach quite safely.

The apps loaded on board have been discussed here  but the one touch integration is looking interesting for Sony – that is, NFC integration. You can throw videos, music etc. to any other Sony device (home theatre, Bravia TV etc.) with a touch.

It also incorporates infrared, so you can use your tablet as a tv remote, while second screen viewing. You can even program your automatic garage door into it.

One of the coolest things Sony has been doing is remastering old video games and releasing them exclusively for Xperia devices – the remastered version of Lemmings (complete with new touch screen controls) is extremely cool – rendering in full 3D. There are 50 others, and this is a nice, unique selling point when compared to Android rivals such as the Nexus 10.

Sony has also opened the API to other developers, so expect some more to follow.

Otherwise, its all Sony ´s lightly skinned Android – plenty of apps and other multimedia (including Sony”s own Walkman apps – which incorporates its own film and music store), and a friendly UI. Its not Apple beating yet (but that’s hardly Sony’s fault), but definitely one of the best Android tablets available, if only for the nice form factor.

Sony will be demoing the whole Xperia Z range (smartphone and tablet) in Harrods from March.

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