Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.
Problems, problems, problems – this is what Sony’s mobile device department looks like lately. The company has announced upcoming layoffs, and it has even been suggested that the entire department could be shut down. This does not sound encouraging, it may even deter potential customers of the brand from buying their equipment, if only because of the specter of the possibility of losing support and updates? Is the Z3 Tablet Compact a device that has a chance to break this fatal streak? It’s certainly a very good tablet, but I don’t think of it as history-changing hardware. I associate Sony’s equipment with Japanese traditions where everything must be reliable, perfectly timed, even perfect, but without fireworks. Unfortunately, that’s what the clientele expects now.
Box contents and technicals
In the box, a standard tablet and a charger, which can be used to make a USB cable. On the other hand, now the lack of gadgets like headphones is the norm, probably because most of the things added to the equipment have always been poor. Of course, I can’t forget about small booklets with instructions, a warranty card, but I don’t think anyone is interested when they open a package with new equipment.
Now a little about the tablet itself, because everyone is waiting for it. It’s good here, but it should be better. Inside the Z3 Compact, it’s actually a Z2, and this spoils its image a bit. Of course, 3 GB of RAM with Snapdragon 801 is still very good equipment, but unfortunately it smells like a “heated chop”. At this price, one would like to get a bit more. As it turns out later, such a combination for competition in a similar price range is quite deadly and the Z3 Compact shines. Adreno 330 will allow you to run even demanding games. I really liked the eight-inch screen, because it’s still quite a small tablet. Unfortunately, the quality of the screen is not impressive, in my opinion the Japanese missed this important aspect a bit. The version I received for testing had 16 GB of user memory, although a more expensive 32 GB model is also available. Fortunately, you can insert a micro SD card into the tablet, for me it is an important matter.
Build quality and design
In terms of design, Sony has not changed much compared to the phone version of the Z3, but that’s probably good, after all, it’s one family, I can’t imagine creating a completely new “packaging” for this product. When you look at this tablet, there is no doubt which manufacturer it comes from. For a long time, most manufacturers have created a pattern according to which they make their devices, sometimes modifying it a bit. Of course, sometimes you can see something from the competition, but for years it has been done without major revolutions, and this is also the case this time. This tactic allows companies to retain consumers who put design first.
The front of the tablet is mainly tempered glass, and it is not Gorilla Glass. In my opinion, this impairs this “all-resistant” tablet, because one wrong move causes a scratch across the entire screen. In addition to the display area, on the front we find the manufacturer’s logo, the camera and recesses suggesting the presence of speakers. Everything fits well, but that’s what we expected.
The back is made of plastic, which does not give the impression of cheapness. It is not rough but provides a good grip – someone tried. On the back there is only a camera and a small “reminder” in case we forget what equipment we use.
The right side of the tablet is the place where we will definitely reach most often during use. In this area we find the headphone jack, volume control buttons and a small round button known as POWER. Everything is placed in a silver border visible around the entire device.
The right side is a place for the SD and SIM card slots, and next to it we will find a connector for connecting the docking station.
There is also a micro USB port at the bottom of the tablet, protected from water getting in the wrong place as well as the SD slot – and here comes a problem worth discussing. I know that somehow you have to protect yourself when offering water resistance, but the way it was done leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. When we unfasten the part of the casing that blocks access to the pores, it hangs on one small string. When I used the tablet while charging, I always had the impression that this small part was about to break off. I felt terribly uncomfortable then, and that’s a big disadvantage. Sony should take the idea from Samsung, which in the Galaxy Ace model for the charger created a sliding cover, which after modification could probably also be waterproof.
The upper part of the tablet is just a border on which there is absolutely nothing. The whole thing (not counting those unfortunate port covers) is perfectly matched, the tablet does not creak in the hands and seems to be very solid for plastic equipment.
Unfortunately, Sony has shot itself in the foot here. While on TV we can see advertisements that guarantee the best image quality and visual experience, here we are definitely not in danger. The screen made in TFT LCD technology providing 16 million colors is nothing new. Unfortunately, this is another thing that deters, but the rest looks very good. The eight-inch diagonal is a great choice and a worthy successor for the owner of the popular “seven-inch” phones. The resolution of 1200 x 1920 pixels allows you to watch movies and photos in high resolution without the so-called. pixelated. The “up to 10 fingers” multitouch works well and the response time is decent. Sony also offers two technologies: Triluminos display and X-Reality Engine, which are to provide a better experience when working with the device. It’s just a pity that it doesn’t have Gorilla Glass.
A battery with a capacity of 4500 mAh probably does not impress anyone nowadays. At first I was afraid that it would be too little to be able to freely handle the tablet, but my fears turned out to be unfounded. Sony did a great job with the power management issue. In critical situations, we also have the STAMINA mode available, which extends the battery life. During medium-intensive use, the battery should last for two days, and for those who prefer to be sure that the power is enough, the Fast battery charging technology has been used, which allows you to charge the battery to 60% in 30 minutes. Now I know that when changing my equipment I will pay attention to it.
I praised before, and now I will scold again. Unfortunately, the camera does not impress me at all, and the photos taken with it do not impress me at all. The camera has a problem with light daylight – a certain mist is created. I’m not a professional photographer and it’s not my passion, but from what I remember Sony has always been great in this respect. It’s hard for me to say why, but Sony took something away from its fans. People don’t like it when something is given and then taken away.
The front camera is no equipment for special tasks, so there is nothing to expect. Definitely enough for basic tasks.
The tablet works under the control of Android 4.4.4, so there is nothing to complain about, and Sony has already officially announced an update to Android 5. No customer should be disappointed. As standard, of course, the green robot had to be a new outfit, so you can’t count on pure Android, although the Xperia UI on this model seems to work smoothly. It should be noted that everything is easy to use and does not contain as many “goodies” as the competition, which I really liked, because I work on “pure” Android every day. Sony, wanting to make their devices consistent, modified their systems and many sounds are very similar or even identical to those known from the PlayStation console. And since I’ve already mentioned Sony’s console, of course you can’t avoid advertising and the possibility of buying PS3 and PS4 games via a tablet, but everyone is doing their best, it is widely known that advertising is a lever of trade. The software also provides many interesting features such as the native ability to record the screen, for such things we like gadgets. The equipment works smoothly, and this is probably the most important thing at the moment.
The tablet for browsing the internet works great. The natively installed Chrome browser allowed surfing right out of the box, pages loaded quickly, so there’s nothing to complain about in that aspect. It must also be admitted that once browsing the Internet on mobile devices was something special, now it is the norm and hardly anyone has slip-ups related to this aspect.
Here Sony is doing decently, the times have come where tablets can play almost any format and sound. Of course, in this case, the limitations lie mainly on the side of a poor display, but you can always wirelessly connect to a screen with better parameters and play with multimedia in this way. As for the sound, in this case I have no complaints about the device.
Performance and games
This is where the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact comes into its own. A powerful 4 x 2.5 GHz processor, Adreno 330 and 3 GB of RAM allow you to freely play any game and record it without significant loss of frames. Personally, I played Godfire on a tablet while making a gameplay video and it did not negatively affect the playability. In benchmarks, the tablet is doing great, and the results are below:
The tablet, in addition to impeccable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, which I used every day for the attached wireless speaker, also has an LTE module that allows for great fun in the field. I used to move around a lot with the tablet and I didn’t notice any drops in internet speed anywhere. The tablet also has support for the MHL 3.0 standard, which allowed me to quickly and efficiently connect it to the TV with an HDMI cable and NFC, which is probably a basic thing in modern devices.
The tablet is full of pros and cons that are constantly intertwined, but overall I had a positive impression during these few weeks of testing. I really like the simplicity of the device, and the disadvantages are things that could have been more thought out or those that could have been replaced with others like, say, the screen. In my opinion, this is a very difficult device to evaluate fairly.