Small tablets seem to be more popular than large models these days. That is easy to understand: they are more mobile, lighter and often cheaper. Almost every tablet manufacturer therefore has both large and small models in its range. Sony was still missing from that list, which until recently only offered the 10.1″ Xperia Z2 Tablet. However, that changed at IFA with the announcement of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, a smaller 8″ model.
The Z3 Tablet Compact combines the looks of its big brother with the hardware from the also recently announced Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact smartphones. According to Sony, this is the thinnest and lightest 8″ tablet at the moment. These are impressive achievements and reason enough for us to subject the Z3 Tablet Compact to a preview.
Thin, light and waterproof
With a weight of 270 grams and a thickness of 6.4 mm, the Z3 Compact Tablet is indeed a very compact device. Where we don’t care much about ten grams more or less with smartphones, it is certainly important with tablets. Because you are dealing with higher weights, the muscles in your arm and hand will tire faster if you hold a tablet for a long time, and any reduction in weight is therefore a bonus. Because the tablet is so thin, you lose on firmness, there is little you can do about it. So compare it to a thicker and full metal housing, such as that of the iPad mini, then Sony’s tablet feels a bit less sturdy, but you have to exert considerable pressure on the housing to find out.
Sony markets the tablet in two different color combinations: white and black. Both variants have a matte finish on the back and a glossy coating on the front. There are covers all around to protect the micro SD slot and the USB port against water and dust. You can therefore safely use the tablet next to the swimming pool or in another environment with splashing water and if it falls into the water, it will survive that, as long as it is not at a depth of more than 1.5 for a long time. meter is located.
The speakers are on the front, one on each side of the screen. Every time we see this with a new tablet, we become even more convinced that every model should have this, because it provides fuller, better sound when watching movies and the stereo effect is also much better .
The corners of the tablet are made of a different material than the sides and, according to Sony, should absorb the initial blow if you drop the tablet. This would reduce the chance that a crack will appear in the screen. The Z3 and Z3 Compact have the same corners and the idea sounds good, but we cannot say yet whether it will actually work.
Great screen and hardware
The 8″ IPS screen looked fine on Sony’s stand, with good viewing angles, decent brightness and – on the surface – excellent color reproduction. We know from experience that in these kinds of circumstances it is difficult to get a good impression of the image quality, so we save that for the review after we have been able to do extensive measurements. We can already say with full conviction that the resolution is very good. A resolution of 1920×1200 is not so special for large tablets nowadays, but in combination with the 8″ screen of the Z3 Tablet Compact you end up with a pixel density of 283 pixels per inch, more than enough for a sharp image.
We also have no complaints about the performance. Sony’s Android hardware is already known for its smooth operation and the Z3 Tablet Compact is no different. The quad-core Snapdragon 801-soc and the 3GB of RAM ensure a smooth, fluid interface. It has hardly changed since the previous generation of Sony products, so nothing new under the sun in that respect.
Stream from your PS4
What is new is the integration with Sony’s own console, the PlayStation 4. All devices from the Z3 series are equipped with a Remote Play app that allows you to stream games from your PS4. It is possible to play via virtual keys on the touchscreen, but of course that does not work well. It is more convenient to use an optional bracket to attach the Z3 Tablet Compact to a PS4 controller. This way you get an oversized handheld.
Picture quality isn’t quite as nice as gaming on a TV – the stream is 720p at 30fps – but inputs from the controller were processed very quickly and lag was minimal. We wouldn’t use it as a primary way of gaming, but if the television is occupied by someone else in the household, or if you want to play in bed at night while your PS4 is plugged in downstairs, it’s a great alternative.
After our first brief acquaintance, the Z3 Compact Tablet seems to be a great tablet that combines the best aspects of previous Sony devices. The competition in the market for small tablets is fierce and we do not find the recommended retail price of 399 very sharp: within the Android camp, small tablets can be found for considerably less money, and Apple’s iPad mini Retina costs a few tens less. With its waterproof housing, however, Sony has a property that we do not see on other tablets in this segment, and it also seems to be able to compete in the top in terms of thickness, weight and speed.