How does Sony keep doing this without making a profit?

04 March 2015

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet has been unveiled at MWC. It’s a powerful, 10-inch, light-weight and waterproof tablet that we’re confident will impress its users, even if its sales figures might suggest otherwise.

Sony may not be hugely successful in mobile, but it’s been doing at least one thing astoundingly well of late: tablets. Last year’s Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a prime example. We found it to be not only functional, waterproof and lag-free, but it was so thin and light that it bordered on sorcery.

The Z4 already sounds like it will be no different.

Waterproofing with a difference

If you’ve ever held a water resistant device you’ll be familiar with flaps. Until recently, all tablets and smartphones required some kind of flap to plug and cover their SIM card slots, Micro SD slots and USB charging ports.

The first two of those aren’t too annoying. You don’t pull your SIM or microSD card out very often, so you can just leave the flap closed. The charging port is a different issue. You pull that open and closed at least once a day. This leads to wear and tear. Eventually, it can come loose, making your phone just as water sensitive as the next one.

The Xperia Z4 doesn’t have a USB flap; it manages to be water resistant without one. Of course, it’s going to be a good idea to make sure the port itself is dry on the inside before you plug in a charging cable, but this is a big victory for water resistant tech.

Sony isn’t entirely to thank here. HTC were the first to do it with the Desire EYE, but it’s always great to see good ideas spread through the market.

Thin profile, light weight, huge battery

The Z4 Tablet is just 6.1mm on the profile and weights 389g for the WiFi and 393g for the LTE varients. That’s more than 10% lighter than the iPad Air 2 and just as thin, which may not sound like much of a difference, but it’s huge when you consider what’s in it.

Sony claims battery life will be around 17 hours of video playback. Compare that to the iPad Air 2’s 10 hours and you start to see why Sony’s accomplishment is impressive. 17 hours from a 393g, big-screen, big-resolution, big CPU tablet with an only 6.1mm profile is bordering on witchcraft.

2K Display

Not to make any sacrifices, the display rocks a 2K/quad-HD/1440p resolution of 2560x1440. That’s around 291 pixels per inch (ppi), once again beating out the Air 2’s 261ppi ever so slightly.

As with the rest of this tablet, it’s not so much the screen’s resolution that’s impressive, but that Sony can cram it in to this tiny package and not sacrifice battery life or weight.

The market is a cruel beast

For the second tablet running, Sony has figured out a way for you to have your cake and eat it too.

Unfortunately, if recent numbers are anything to go by, almost noone will ever know. Sony tablets and phones have suffered underwhelming sales, despite their recent rise in quality.

If you're after a tablet this year do yourself a favour and at least check this one out. Obviously we can't make any solid recommendations until we do an actual review, but if the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is anything to go by, this is going to be one hell of a tab.



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