Sony Xperia Z2: What we REALLY thought of this Android fondleslab
Faster, thinner, lighter – yet how much has the price changed?
New gear's resolution
Inside the Z2 is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip which packs a quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. It makes the Z2 go like brown stuff off a digging implement. Make no mistake, this is a seriously quick and powerful tablet, especially when it comes to 3D graphics.
Android launcher, Xperia style
The benchmark numbers speak for themselves: AnTuTu returned over 32,000, 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited over 18,900. For hardcore gaming enthusiasts the Z2 has Dualshock 3 wireless controller support out of the box.
Two ingredients that Sony hasn’t fiddled with to any great extent are the screen and battery. The 10.1-inch LCD still has a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution which pans out to a pixel density of 224ppi. That’s lower than the 264ppi of the iPad Air, the 299ppi of the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 or the 247ppi of its bigger brother, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.
The Gracenote-connected movies app is excellent
Of course, this rush for higher ppi ratings may be wholly specious – I certainly couldn’t make out individual pixels without the help of a magnifying glass. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with the Z2’s display - it’s bright and colourful and thanks to it now using IPS technology viewing angles are more robust. Video and pictures looks tip-top thanks to Sony’s various image processing systems with exciting names like Triluminos and X-Reality Engine.
Also unchanged is the 6,000mAh Li-Po battery. Considering the reduction in weight and thickness, expecting a higher capacity battery would have been highly optimistic. There’s no need to panic though because the Z2 Tablet did much, much better in my 1080p video loop-of-death test than the original Xperia Z, lasting for only a little shy of nine hours. The Z Tablet coughed and died before it crossed the six hour mark. Such are the benefits of a more efficient chipset and operating system.
The back is thankfully no longer made of glass and you get a decent 8Mp camera there too
In everyday, and intense use involving a lot of gaming and web browsing, I was easily able to get two full days and then some from a charge. The only fly in the ointment is that the bundled USB charger is still a 1.5A, rather than 2A affair.
All the remaining hardware is well up to snuff. The cameras are very good for a tablet with an 8.1Mp snapper at the back and a 2.2Mp webcam at the front. You get v4.0 Bluetooth, dual-band Wi-Fi but now supporting 802.11ac, an NFC chip, an IR transmitter and an FM radio. Basic storage is 16GB supported by a microSD expansion slot good for cards up to 64GB. The micro USB port supports USB On-the-Go hosting and MHL to facilitate HDMI connections to external monitors or your telly. New to the Z2 is ANT+ support.
A respectable refresh with a lot to like
Overlaying Android 4.4.2 is Sony’s familiar Xperia launcher, which I’m not going to pick apart because I’ve done it before and because there are dozens of good, free launchers in the Play Store if you don’t like it. Sony’s various media apps like the Walkman music player and Movies video app remain best in class though. Finally, and usefully, the price has stayed the same - £399 for the basic Wi-Fi version and £499 for the 4G model.
The Reg Verdict
Compared to the original Z Tablet the Z2 is thinner, lighter and more powerful but the price has stayed the same. I’m not sure you can ask for more. A larger battery wouldn’t have gone amiss but would likely as not have had an impact on the size so I can understand why Sony forwent it. Is the Xperia Z2 tablet our fave ‘droid 10-incher here at El Reg? Yup. ®
Thanks to O2 for the loan of the review sample.