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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review

evan kypreos




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Very slim and light
  • Good rear camera
  • Water and dust resistant


  • Over-saturated display
  • Lower resolution screen than its peers
  • Weak and tinny speakers

Key Features

  • 10.1-inch 1,920 x 1,200 pixel screen
  • 16/32GB Wi-Fi
  • microSD slot
  • Water-resistant to 1.5m for 30 minutes
  • Snapdragon 801 Quadcore 2.3GHz
  • 3GB RAM
  • 8MP rear camera, 2.2MP front
  • 426g and 6.4mm thick
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £399.00

What is the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet?

A sequel to the Tablet Z, the Xperia Z2 Tablet is the thinnest and lightest waterproof 10-inch tablet available packing a speedy Snapdragon 801 processor. Together with the Xperia Z2 phone Sony is hoping they can make a dent in the competitive 10-inch tablet market with this £400 offering.

Watch our Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Review:

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: Design

Thinness is the order of the day when it comes to the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. Sony has almost become obsessive about creating one of the thinnest and lightest 10.1-inch tablets on the market. It certainly trumps the iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and pretty much any tablet from the major players.

The previous model was thin at just 6.9mm but the Xperia Z2 Tablet shaves a further 0.5mm from that. That’s slimmer than most phones. So it’s thin and at just 426g it’s light too. That’s 43g lighter than the iPad – a tablet famed for its lightness.

Related: Sony Xperia Z5 vs Z4 vs Z3: What can you expect if you upgrade?

To achieve these feats Sony has made some conscious decisions in the design and build of the Z2 Tablet. The back is covered in hard plastic that feels thin, but not cheap. It has a very fine texture, which is surprisingly grippy, and you’ll find that holding the tablet is easy for extended periods. The back is an improvement over the previous Xperia Tablet Z, but not by much, and feels much less special than the metal-backed iPads or LG G Pad 8.3.

Perhaps the best thing about the design is that even though it’s so slender the Z2 Tablet feels solid and robust, helped by the aluminium frame.

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The top edge houses the microSD, 4G and charging ports and IR transmitter. These are hidden behind plastic flaps that help the Xperia Z2 Tablet achieve its IP55 and IP58 water and dust resistance. It’s a level up from the previous model and from the Galaxy S5.

A metal circular power button and volume rocker, that have become trademarks of the Xperia range, are positioned on the left. They’re easy to get to when you hold the tablet in landscape mode and feel quality. The fact that the buttons are shaped differently and there’s a little bump on the volume up makes it easy to know which button you’re pressing even when you’re not looking.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 22

Along the bottom edge is the 3.5mm headphone jack and a proprietary connector for a docking station (bought separately).

Unfortunately, while the Xperia Z2 Tablet is super-model thin the overall dimensions are quite large, a fact made obvious by the large screen bezels – more than an inch thick on the sides. This extra width, coupled with the thin edges and pointy corners, mean that holding it one-handed isn’t as comfortable as the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 or iPad Air are, even though the Z2 Tablet is lighter than the latter.

The bottom line, though, is the Z2 Tablet looks and feels good and we challenge anyone to not be impressed by how light and thin it is.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: Screen

Sony claims that the Z2 Tablet has the best screen yet. The 1,980 x 1,200 resolution with 224PPI lags behind the likes of Apple and Samsung, but it’s the larger colour gamut and the additional sharpness provided by X-Reality and Triluminos technologies that Sony thinks can help it win out.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t compare favourably with the best of the rest.

Colours are overly warm and a little unatural. Reds are far too dominant, and while some greens look better than they do on other tablets others look toxic. You can tone these effects down by using white-balance setting and by turning off X-Reality, but even after half an hour of tinkering we could not find a hue that provided a natural colour pallette. it's intersting to note that the Xperia Z2 phone does not suffer from the same screen issues while Samsung has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years with its AMOLED displays and these now have better colour accuracy and deeper blacks than the display on the Z2 Tablet can muster.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 7

Viewing angles are decent but brightness is average. Couple this to the reflectiveness of the screen and you may struggle to make out what’s on display if you're out and about on a sunny day.

Regrettably, X-Reality is no replacement for the extra megapixel count on the likes of the latest tablets, either. Text isn’t quite as sharp as we’ve come to expect from higher definition displays.

It’s not a bad display by any means; it just falls short of the competition.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet: Speakers

We admire the fact that Sony has managed to cram stereo front facing speakers into such a slim tablet. Two practically invisible grooves on either side of the screen manage to provide decent stereo separation but are otherwise, like the screen, rather unimpressive.

Sound is tinny, voices sound overly nasal and there is not much bass. Top volume is reasonably loud, but the quality is not that impressive. If you plan to use the Xperia Z2 Tablet as a video player without headphones you will be disappointed. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has the best tablet speakers we’ve tested and would be a better bet if that's something you really care about.

Xperia Z2 Tablet is too slim to provide enough space for decent speaker performance. We would happily trade several millimetres and some weight for better sound.

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April 9, 2014, 12:38 pm

The screen maybe of a lower resolution than it's peers but I bet its probably better than the vast majority of laptop screens that are 1366x768 tn screens.


April 9, 2014, 12:42 pm

Absolutely but that's not what we compare it with. The colours are more of an issue than the resolution.


April 9, 2014, 9:37 pm

I have the Z2 Tablet and In my opinion the Colours are Vivid but I wouldn't class it as Oversaturated at all, looking around no other review mentions this either.


April 9, 2014, 9:45 pm

Did you even bother to check the display settings before labeling the screen 'oversaturated'? Turn off X-reality and the oversaturation will be gone. White balance settings are for different purpose which you mentioned and has nothing to do with oversaturation. Do a better job next time.


April 10, 2014, 4:57 am

I had reduced my shortlist to Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 with QHD screen or the Z2, but I might wait and see if the Nexus 10 will be updated or if LG does a 10" G Pad. The G Pad 8.3 is a great little tablet and can be found for under $300 nowadays. A SD 805QHD 10" weighing under 475g would be perfect.

David van der Zande

April 10, 2014, 6:10 am

I have this tablet and it's absolutely not true that the speakers are tinny. Have you enabled clearaudio+?

Michiel Soede

April 13, 2014, 7:21 am

The remark about 1080p video being sharper on the ipad doesn't make sense. The resolution of a movie is 1920 x 1080. if you play back video on a screen with 1920 pixels, no scaling is needed. If you play it on a device with 2048 pixels (ipad), some scaling will be needed which will certainly not make it sharper. I don't trust this 'trustedreview'.


April 14, 2014, 12:20 pm

Yes I did. I turned off X-reality and spent a great deal of time tweaking the clunky white balance settings.

You are absolutely wrong if you think the white balance settings do not affect colour. It is how you make colours warmer or cooler.


April 14, 2014, 12:25 pm

I've had a look too and am surprised because I gave it to several of my colleagues who experienced the same colour issues. There is a chance that this was an issue with my review sample so I will check this out.


April 14, 2014, 12:29 pm

Yes and I had five other tablets I was using to compare the same videos and audio with. There is very little depth to the sound and voices are thin by comparison.

rob damiani

April 19, 2014, 2:44 am

when will this be available for purchase in USA please?


April 23, 2014, 5:04 pm

I read somewhere it will be early May. It just started shipping in the UK this week.

rob damiani

April 27, 2014, 1:53 am

Thx M8; I bought the 32GB Wifi model in White for $629 US$ off of eBay... LOVE IT so far!


April 27, 2014, 7:13 am

I got mine last week (I'm in the UK) its great! Although I'm annoying the hell out of my girlfriend with the IR remote! Have fun buddy. :)

Matthew Bunton

May 14, 2014, 10:13 am

We have been using 1080p and less resolutions on 24" PC screens for years now yet people are complaining about them on a 10" screen it defies belief.

There is no need for these ridiculously high resolutions on phones and tablets it is an unnecessary strain on the hardware and most importantly the battery.

This tablet from Sony is an incredible feat of engineering I was genuinely shocked when I opened the box. It is so light and thin you wonder how on earth it can possibly do all that it does.

I do think that Evan must have gotten a bad sample as I usually agree with his reviews but on this occasion his findings are the opposite to mine.

The tablet does have it's faults such as the battery life is less than good unless in stamina mode and I along with many others am experiencing audio sync issues with Netflix and some games etc..However overall it is difficult to not be hugely impressed with this tablet.

My wife has an Ipad 4th gen and I have owned many tablets but this Sony is on another level. The review score is way off in my opinion and experience.

Niels d. G.

June 2, 2014, 10:43 am

There is also a built-in equalizer that can be adjust, I achieve much better results with that than with ClearAudio+. My equalizer is at 0 (Clear Bass slider), +7, -7, -3, 0, +6, +9. Clear Phase off, xLOUD off, I'm undecided about S-Force surround.


July 14, 2014, 6:48 pm

I purchased the z2 tablet a couple of months ago. At first I was quite happy with it, but now I have some serious concerns:

Without the magnetic dock for charging, you have to use the usb port, which is covered by a flimsy cheap plastic cover. Over time, this has a good chance of breaking. Keep in mind, it's required to keep the unit waterproof.

I bought the dock.(DK39) It comes with no usb cable. Not a big deal, but it would have been nice to throw one in, especially for the price. Like the usb cover, the dock is a cheap plastic, with no weight to it. This means you have to use two hands to remove the tablet from the dock.

The audio jack is in a bad place the bottom left. You can't dock it while the jack is in use with the standard Sony NC headset (MDRNC31EMB).

Finally, over the past weekend, my screen cracked. No impact. No drop. It simply cracked! I don't know if it's heat related, or perhaps pressure from the frame on the glass, but nevertheless, it cracked on its own.

Anyway, buyer beware. I sent it off to Sony for repair. Hopefully, it's a known issue, and is covered under warranty.


August 8, 2014, 1:31 pm

It's been pushing 4 weeks, and Sony finally got back to me. First off, I had to pay $75 for them just to look at it (diagnostic fee), and it took that long for them to tell me it's going to cost over $360 to fix it! Needless to say, I told them don't bother fixing it. I'll be sure to have a hammer with me with I pick it up, because I plan on smashing it to bits.

Honestly, I don't know what's worse, the sony hardware, or the sony service. Even the guys at the store were utterly useless. The majority of them can't even speak English properly, which made it frustratingly difficult to hold a conversation with them. Secondly, when I first returned the item, they were very reluctant to handle the service order, and were pushing to have me deal directly with the service centre. I asked if there was any cost saving advantage if I did it myself, vs them sending it out for me, and they said no. Keep in mind, this all took place after I spoke with one of them the day before about the problem, and they advised me to come buy the store to start the service order.

Anyway, my advice is to stay away from sony products. I've been something of a sony fanboy over the years, even though I've also had issues with other products from them, but this experience really drove the nail in the coffin on our relationship, and my confidence in their products and services.

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