Pint-sized (near) perfection: Sony’s Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet reviewed

100% human

It’s not your regular screen, either: while it is an In-Plane Switching LCD, Sony is making using of its Triluminous LCD technology and Bravia expertise to make the screen show visuals clearly and dynamically, which it certainly does, with great viewing angles and a ton of brightness, to boot.

From a detail point of view, you might ask for better image quality, but most should be happy with the Full HD picture, a combination of specs that results in a clarity of 275 pixels per inch, roughly 50 beneath the quality of the iPad Mini’s 7.9 inch screen.

This disparity isn’t immediately noticeable, but if you like to get up close with screens, you’ll see it, and it’s one area where Apple edges Sony out.

Moving from here, there’s performance, and since Sony has kept the specs the same across its smartphones and tablets, we’re already aware of what the Z3 Tablet Compact will do: quite simply, the combination of a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz paired with 3GB RAM and a very recent version of Android helps to keep the performance of the Z3 Tablet Compact solid just like its smartphones siblings.

Sticking with the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Sony has more or less kept things the same, and that’s a good thing, as we noticed little to no lag jumping between applications, surfing the web, writing notes, and playing the odd game here and there.

Even the feature list is the same, with support for 24-bit audio found here just like its smartphone brother and sister, support for Sony’s killer app that is the PlayStation 4 support to play the video game system on the tablet when you’re in your home, 802.11ac WiFi built in as well as NFC (something most tablets ignore), and there’s even that degree of water-proofing we know Sony for, rating the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact at IP65/68 meaning it’s protected against dust and resistant to water up to 1.5 metres of freshwater for up to 30 minutes with the ability to deal with low pressure water jets from every direction.

That means you can take it to the lake, and you can use it by the pool without fear that a splash or an accidental immersion will ruin your precious new tablet. You can even bathe with it, and while we’re not sure it’ll be all that nice to scrub yourself with, you can at least read a book on the tablet or watch a flick on its screen while you let the water relax you during a night-time bath.

And one surprise feature that our Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review unit had was a nanoSIM slot, with the tablet supporting not just data on the go, but also phone calls, too.

We’re not sure if this model will be easily found in Australia, and we’ll reserved judgement for people who wish to make phone calls on an 8 inch tablet, but if the 5 to 6 inch pallets aren’t quite big enough and you feel you need something bigger, it might be worth tracking down one of the SIM-capable versions.

Neato.

By now, you’ve probably worked out that for the most part, we love the Z3 Tablet Compact, and not just because it’s an overgrown version of what we’ve seen prior. But there are two things missing from it, and while they’re not deal breakers, we’re a little surprised these features aren’t here.

One of these is an infrared port, an omission on the Xperia Z3 smartphones because — well, we’re not sure — but on the tablet, we’re very surprised. If you use the tablet in the living room like so many, using it as a remote makes a lot of sense, and other manufacturers are including it in their models too.

For these reasons, we’re surprised Sony hasn’t opted to break trend from its smartphones and include an infrared port in its tablet.

Likewise, there’s no flash on the back of the tablet for the rear camera.

This one isn’t an issue for us at all, and neither is the downgrade in camera from the phone to the tablet (20 megapixels down to eight), but people who love to take pictures on their tablets will be a little frustrated by Sony’s choice not to include an LED flash on the back.

We’re not quite sure what sort of reason Sony would have for not including out, outside of other tablet manufacturers not including one (that’s not a reason, more an excuse), but if you like to use your tablet as your phone or camera, poorly lit places won’t be your friend with the Z3 Tablet Compact.

The Z3 Tablet Compact is thinner than the Z3 smartphone. Cool.

Conclusion

Apple has some real competition on its hands for the iPad Mini 3 with the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, an 8 inch portable that shows real promise due to a beautiful balance between hardware, software and design, and one that makes us want to carry it where ever we go.

This is seriously an impressive tablet, bringing together a package that doesn’t just nail the tablet formula, but makes it an entertainment machine on the go.

Manufacturers take note: we want to see more products this well designed.

Highly recommended.

 

Overall
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
Reader Rating0 Votes
Beautifully designed and weighted; Well-performing specs; Expandable memory is a definite plus; Excellent screen with solid viewing angles; Supports high-res audio like its phone brothers; If you own a PS4, you can play it over your home network with the Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet; Highly water-resistant; Decent battery life; Models may include built-in 4G;
No infrared like its smartphone siblings, and it would be a lot more handy here; Rear camera should have a flash;
4.7