The New Tablet From Sony
Xperia Tablet Z2
There are many factors to take into account when shopping for a new tablet or laptop. A smart consumer considers battery life, screen size and resolution, processing power, and network capabilities, among other things. One company that tends to do well on most or all of these types of specifications is Sony. For several years now, Sony has pushed its Xperia line of tablets and mobile phones as the faster, sharper, and more vivid alternative to other company's products.
And now, leading up to the Mobile World Congress event on February 24th, specifications for Sony's newest tablet device, code-named Castor and often referred to as the Xperia Tablet Z2, have been released. These specs show that Sony continues to engineer some of the finest electronics available in the world. To really emphasize the improvements made with this new Tablet Z2, it is necessary to compare its specs to its predecessor, the Xperia Tablet Z.
Comparing Xperia Tablet Z and Xperia Tablet Z2
First of all, the chipset for the new Xperia Tablet Z2 is similar to the one for the Tablet Z, as both of them are from Qualcomm's Snapdragon series. The Z has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, while the Z2 will contain a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. This contributes to the increased processing power for the Z2, 2.3 GHz quad-core, compared to the 1.5 GHz quad-core processor of the Z. Personally, this specification alone is enough to convince me that an upgrade from the Z to the Z2 is worth it. The speed and ease of computing with a tablet whose processor is over 2 GHz is simply irresistible.
Next, we have a slight boost in graphics capability, Adreno 330 in the Z2 versus Adreno 320 in the Z. Significant improvements are shown in the RAM category, as the Z2 has 3GB available, compared to 2GB for the Z.
The display size and resolution remain almost the same, at 10.1 inches and 1920 x 1200 for each device. However, the Z2 is touting a Triluminos display, which should some visual improvement.
Since these are tablets, the front- and rear-mounted cameras are not the most impressive hardware components of either device, but they are certainly not slouches in this category, either. The Z2 has an 8 megapixel rear-mounted camera and 2 megapixel front-mounted camera. Unfortunately, these are a step down from the 8.1 Exmor and 2.2 cameras on the original Tablet Z. It is possible that final specs for this may change to bring the camera quality more in line with past iterations of this tablet.
Right now, only 16 gigabytes of internal storage is listed for the Z2, even though the Z was also available in a 32GB version. Again, this could change. Both devices are expandable with a microSD memory card, so that's really the important thing.
The leaked information for the Xperia Z2 also states that the tablet will be a bit thinner than the Xperia Z, at 6.4mm, compared to the original's 6.9mm thickness. Even with this continued minimization, however, the battery is the same, a 6000mAh unit that will likely power the device for about 8 hours, give or take an hour. As always, a lot of that is dependent on what applications or brightness settings are being used. The Z2 also comes out of the box with Google's latest mobile operating system pre-installed, Android 4.4 KitKat. KitKat will also eventually be available for Z users looking to upgrade their software, which ships out of the box with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
And while we don't know the final weight for the Z2, the fact that it is considerably smaller than the Z makes it safe to assume that it will, in fact, be lighter than the original tablet's weight of 495 grams.
Water and Dust Resistance
Sony's Best Hardware Feature
One of the most impressive specifications of all of Sony's recent Xperia Z mobile phone and tablet devices has been their water and dust resistance. The Xperia Tablet Z had IP55/IP57 specs, while the Z2 is rumored to have IP55/IP58. These IP, or Ingress Protection, ratings mean that both devices will work perfectly fine in dusty situations, the shower, and even a rainstorm. In addition, a device with an IP58 rating, such as the Xperia Tablet Z2, can be submerged 1.5 meters deep in freshwater for up to 30 minutes before there is a risk of water breaking the tablet's seal and damaging its internal components.
Will The Tablet Z2 Be The Next Big Thing From Sony?
Only Time Will Tell
Even with these preliminary specifications, there is no doubt that the Z2 is a high-end device. The tablet's 10.1-inch Triluminos display continues to showcase Sony's visual quality craftsmanship, and the waterproof features are always a nice touch.
The Xperia Tablet Z2 is expected to have model number SGP521 (for the LTE version), but as the comparison between Z and Z2 shows, Sony did not reinvent the wheel with this new model. Instead, the company has focused on refining what they clearly see as a solidly-designed and engineered device, as both the Z and Z2 Xperia tablets include a 10.1-inch (1920×1200) display, 8MP/2MP cameras, 6000mAh capacity battery, internal storage starting at 16GB and a microSD memory card slot.
Differences between the devices seem mainly focused on improving processing performance using a more powerful chipset (2.3GHz quad-core and 3GM RAM), and implementing a thinner profile. Since the Xperia Tablet Z2 is 6.4mm thick, it is thinner than the Tablet Z 6.9mm, the Xperia Z Ultra smartphone (6.5mm), and even Apples iPad Air (also 6.5 mm).
Sony has an event scheduled at the Mobile World Congress on February 24th. Right now it is unclear whether the Z2 will be the main focus of this event, but at this point excitement is high for the new device. But does it feature enough improvements to encourage owners of the original Z to upgrade? What do you think? Leave a comment if you plan on purchasing any of Sony's new tablets, or if you want to hold off for a better option in the future.