Sony’s Xperia Z is one of the better big-screen Android tablets doing the rounds, with iPad Air-like servings of weight, screen quality and performance in a sub-$500 price tag. It tips the scales at 495g, making it second only to the iPad Air for light weight and is well below everything else we saw in this roundup, yet still has a very decent features list.
That includes the 1,920 x 1,200-pixel LCD panel — it’s not quite the same as the iPad Air or ASUS Transformer Pad (review coming up) but at this size, you’d be hard-pressed to spot the difference. The important thing is that it’s not a 1,280 x 800-pixel display, which you can spot easily.
We also love the super-quick Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor — it’s one of the fastest quad-core chips around. The Xperia lacks an HDMI output but does incorporate Wi-Fi Direct to give you similar capabilities wirelessly.
With a sub-500g weight yielding a fast chip and high-res screen, we were concerned about battery life. But while it can’t match the iPad Air, it still managed a decent 9:27 hours on our battery test. Another concern is the Android 4.1.2 operating system, but Sony is reported to have confirmed a 4.2 update is on the way.
Unfortunately, Sony could only send us an engineering sample, which means we can’t lean too heavily on our test results, and despite being a contender, we can’t award it an Editor’s Choice. But overall, it’s definitely in our top two Android tablets our latest roundup.