Hands On With Sony’s Awesome Xperia Tablet Z [MWC 2013]

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mwc2013bug-coaBARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS — Sony’s initial unveiling of the Xperia Tablet Z came just after CES back in January, so Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona this week is the first chance we’ve had to get our hands on it. On paper, the device is very impressive, featuring a speedy quad-core processor, a high-resolution display, and a sleek form factor that measures just 6.9mm thick and boasts water resistance.

But specifications aren’t everything; we were itching to find out what the Xperia Tablet Z is like, so we went hands on with it this morning to find out.

I should admit that there aren’t many Android tablets that really excite me. Although I’ve swapped my iPhone for an Android handset, I’m still very much a fan of iPad when it comes to hardware and software. But the Xperia Tablet Z is almost like a work of art.

It’s not made from fancy materials like anodized aluminum or stainless steel — it’s pretty much plastic through and through — but you certainly wouldn’t describe it as cheap. Sony’s clearly put a lot of effort into its form factor, and its mission to make the device super thin and light obviously didn’t require many compromises.

To put its measurements into perspective for you, Apple’s super skinny iPad mini is 7.2mm thick, and the Xperia Tablet Z is 0.3mm thinner. And yet it’s packed with the latest technology.

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The device offers a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that loads apps and games in an instant. Multitasking is effortless, as is browsing the web and streaming HD videos. And those videos look incredible on the Xperia Tablet Z’s display, which boasts a 1920×1200 resolution, and is powered by Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine.

Sony has always delivered nice displays, but its latest in the Xperia Tablet Z — and indeed the Xperia Z — are nothing short of beautiful. Seriously, go check one out when you get the chance; I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

The device also has 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage — which is expandable via the microSD card slot — and an 8-megapixel camera on the back. You’ll also find LTE connectivity, NFC, and a 6,000mAh battery.

And Sony didn’t stop there. The company also added its “S-Force virtual surround sound” technology to provide you with great sound for movies and music — a perfect match for that HD display — and a built-in infrared blaster so that you can use the Xperia Tablet Z to control your television and other devices.

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There is one thing about the Xperia Tablet Z I wasn’t too keen on, however, and that’s its size. Maybe I’ve gotten too used to using the tiny iPad mini, but I found the Xperia Tablet Z to be huge. Its display measures 10.1 inches diagonally, and there’s a rather large bezel around that, which makes it even bigger.

Although this makes the device great for watching movies or TV shows, and even playing games, it’s not ideal for reading a book or for traveling. Maybe this is something that you can quickly get used to — you’ll have to wait until our full review (coming soon) to find out.

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