Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Introduction


Roughly two months ago, Sony unwrapped its latest trio of devices – apart from the newest Xperia Z3 flagship and its smaller-sized iteration, the Xperia Z3 Compact, the company also announced a new 8-inch tablet from the same device family. Dubbed the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, it's Sony's second slate for 2014, packing top-of-the-line hardware specs in a svelte water-tight body, alongside some of Sony's newest software features (such as Ultra Stamina mode) that arrived with the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact. On paper, it looks as if this 8” tablet could be among the best slates money can buy you at the moment, but is this truly the case with the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact? Let's delve in and find out.

In the box:

  • tablet
  • wall charger
  • microUSB charging cable
  • warranty and information leaflets

Design

A compact, light as a feather body meets Sony's OmniBalance design sans the premium feel

Sony's previous tablet, the 6.4mm-thin Xperia Z2 Tablet was the slimmest tablet available. Well, it has been now dethroned by the 6.1mm Apple iPad Air 2 and a slew of others, but Sony's craftsmanship has once again proved that the company can continuously amp up its game. At 6.4mm, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is still among the most slender and compact 8-inch slates in the wild. It also tips the scales at merely 9.52 oz (270 g), which makes it as light as a feather. The slate is slightly tall, though, at 8.40” (213.4 mm), yet rather narrow at 4.87” (123.6mm). This makes it an exquisite catwalk star that is not afraid of the water, as it is IP65/68-certified, which is one of the highest ingress protection levels. This means that it will survive a water dip for up to 30 minutes in depths of no more than 1.5 meters.

Once you take the Z3 Tablet Compact in the hand, you'll most probably feel as if you are holding a blown-up version of the Xperia Z3 smartphone. The OmniBalance design is omnipresent, yet the tablet does not have an all-glass back like the Xperia Z3/Z3 Compact, for better or for the worse. The rear of Sony's newest slate employs a soft plastic, which is pleasant to touch, provides a fair amount of grip, and virtually holds zero fingerprints. The same soft plastic material also encircles slight bits of the side frames of the device. Sony says that the very corners of the device are made of stainless steel, though they're indistinguishable from the gray plastic that is used in the side frames. The 6.4mm-thin side frames are definitely not as grippy as the back of the slate, mind you. The front of the tablet is, unsurprisingly, adorned with an all-glass panel. As a whole, holding and operating the slate is a pleasant experience.

One can find the speakers of the device at its top and bottom, neatly hidden between the side frames and the glass panel. At the right side of the tablet, we can find the power button and the volume rocker. Both are protruding outside the frame and are easy to find, yet the power button is a bit more wobbly than we'd like it to be. The audio jack can be found at the top of the right side frame of the tablet. In the meantime, the left side frame of the device provides access to the microSD and nano SIM slots, while the microUSB port is on the bottom frame of the 8-incher. All of these are protected by water-tight detachable flaps, which snap out easily despite the snug fitting in their respective housings. However, the slate does not feel as premium as some of its rivals (iPad mini, for example) – Sony could have done better. For example, adopting the glass back of the Xperia Z3/Z3 Compact would have been a more premium solution.

It's not impossible to hold the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact with one hand in portrait orientation. However, it's extremely comfortable to hold the razor-thin device in landscape mode with both of your hands, as you can rest your thumbs at the bezels. Due to the small weight, toting it with a single hand in landscape orientation is convenient as well, though a little unwieldy.

 

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Display

A mixed bag which performs surprisingly well in certain aspects, yet leaves a lot to be desired

The 8-inch IPS LCD display of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a resolution of 1200 x 1920 pixels. This works out a rather good pixel density of 283ppi, which is far from from some of the more pixel-rich rivals, yet Z3 Tablet Compact's Triluminos display is sharp enough and we had a relatively hard time discerning any individual pixels.

The display once again employs Sony's Live Color LED technology, which promises a wider color range with better vibrancy and luminance aboard. The display is (typical for the Z3 line) once again way colder than we'd like it to be - with a color temperature of 9034K (far from the 6500K reference), the white is predominantly bluish. At the same time, its color accuracy is completely disappointing – its readings fail to match with almost all of the targets on the sRGB chart.

The default display mode, X-Reality, promises to deliver vibrant and sharp-looking images with enhanced contrast, but enabling or disabling it won't fix the domination of the blue color by a margin. It's also unnatural of Sony to expect its customers to tinker with the unfamiliar (for most) white balance settings of the display. All in all, the display bears a hefty improvement over Xperia Z2 Tablet's one (mostly in the viewing angles segment), yet it leaves a lot to be desired.

The display reflects quite a bit of light. Fortunately, it's bright enough – the slate achieved a maximum brightness of 590 nits during our benchmarks (as a side comparison the Apple iPad mini 2 stands at 450 nits), which means that using the tablet under direct sunlight is a hassle-free experience. The minimum brightness, on the other hand, stands at 14 nits and this will definitely make your eyes squint if you are using it right before you fall to sleep. The viewing angles of Z3 Tablet's Compact are excellent, and you'll hardly experience any color distortions.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 590
(Excellent)
14
(Poor)
1:1501
(Excellent)
9034
(Poor)
2.6
5.23
(Average)
7.97
(Average)
Google Nexus 9 453
(Good)
10
(Average)
1:1178
(Good)
6942
(Excellent)
2.17
3.79
(Good)
4.56
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 419
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6747
(Excellent)
2.06
2.58
(Good)
2.74
(Good)
Apple iPad mini 3 312
(Average)
6
(Good)
1:823
(Average)
6656
(Excellent)
2.24
8.5
(Poor)
1.55
(Excellent)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 54.4%
50%
unmeasurable
4.3%
0.5%
99.2%
39.4%
Google Nexus 9 70.6%
70%
76.3%
8.2%
2.3%
2.1%
7.5%
Apple iPad mini 3 73.7%
83.3%
68.3%
10.3%
2.7%
0.9%
139.4%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 82.7%
85.7%
84.3%
9%
1.2%
0.6%
0.3%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Introduction


Roughly two months ago, Sony unwrapped its latest trio of devices – apart from the newest Xperia Z3 flagship and its smaller-sized iteration, the Xperia Z3 Compact, the company also announced a new 8-inch tablet from the same device family. Dubbed the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, it's Sony's second slate for 2014, packing top-of-the-line hardware specs in a svelte water-tight body, alongside some of Sony's newest software features (such as Ultra Stamina mode) that arrived with the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact. On paper, it looks as if this 8” tablet could be among the best slates money can buy you at the moment, but is this truly the case with the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact? Let's delve in and find out.

In the box:

  • tablet
  • wall charger
  • microUSB charging cable
  • warranty and information leaflets

Design

A compact, light as a feather body meets Sony's OmniBalance design sans the premium feel

Sony's previous tablet, the 6.4mm-thin Xperia Z2 Tablet was the slimmest tablet available. Well, it has been now dethroned by the 6.1mm Apple iPad Air 2 and a slew of others, but Sony's craftsmanship has once again proved that the company can continuously amp up its game. At 6.4mm, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is still among the most slender and compact 8-inch slates in the wild. It also tips the scales at merely 9.52 oz (270 g), which makes it as light as a feather. The slate is slightly tall, though, at 8.40” (213.4 mm), yet rather narrow at 4.87” (123.6mm). This makes it an exquisite catwalk star that is not afraid of the water, as it is IP65/68-certified, which is one of the highest ingress protection levels. This means that it will survive a water dip for up to 30 minutes in depths of no more than 1.5 meters.

Once you take the Z3 Tablet Compact in the hand, you'll most probably feel as if you are holding a blown-up version of the Xperia Z3 smartphone. The OmniBalance design is omnipresent, yet the tablet does not have an all-glass back like the Xperia Z3/Z3 Compact, for better or for the worse. The rear of Sony's newest slate employs a soft plastic, which is pleasant to touch, provides a fair amount of grip, and virtually holds zero fingerprints. The same soft plastic material also encircles slight bits of the side frames of the device. Sony says that the very corners of the device are made of stainless steel, though they're indistinguishable from the gray plastic that is used in the side frames. The 6.4mm-thin side frames are definitely not as grippy as the back of the slate, mind you. The front of the tablet is, unsurprisingly, adorned with an all-glass panel. As a whole, holding and operating the slate is a pleasant experience.

One can find the speakers of the device at its top and bottom, neatly hidden between the side frames and the glass panel. At the right side of the tablet, we can find the power button and the volume rocker. Both are protruding outside the frame and are easy to find, yet the power button is a bit more wobbly than we'd like it to be. The audio jack can be found at the top of the right side frame of the tablet. In the meantime, the left side frame of the device provides access to the microSD and nano SIM slots, while the microUSB port is on the bottom frame of the 8-incher. All of these are protected by water-tight detachable flaps, which snap out easily despite the snug fitting in their respective housings. However, the slate does not feel as premium as some of its rivals (iPad mini, for example) – Sony could have done better. For example, adopting the glass back of the Xperia Z3/Z3 Compact would have been a more premium solution.

It's not impossible to hold the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact with one hand in portrait orientation. However, it's extremely comfortable to hold the razor-thin device in landscape mode with both of your hands, as you can rest your thumbs at the bezels. Due to the small weight, toting it with a single hand in landscape orientation is convenient as well, though a little unwieldy.


Display

A mixed bag which performs surprisingly well in certain aspects, yet leaves a lot to be desired

The 8-inch IPS LCD display of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a resolution of 1200 x 1920 pixels. This works out a rather good pixel density of 283ppi, which is far from from some of the more pixel-rich rivals, yet Z3 Tablet Compact's Triluminos display is sharp enough and we had a relatively hard time discerning any individual pixels.

The display once again employs Sony's Live Color LED technology, which promises a wider color range with better vibrancy and luminance aboard. The display is (typical for the Z3 line) once again way colder than we'd like it to be - with a color temperature of 9034K (far from the 6500K reference), the white is predominantly bluish. At the same time, its color accuracy is completely disappointing – its readings fail to match with almost all of the targets on the sRGB chart.

The default display mode, X-Reality, promises to deliver vibrant and sharp-looking images with enhanced contrast, but enabling or disabling it won't fix the domination of the blue color by a margin. It's also unnatural of Sony to expect its customers to tinker with the unfamiliar (for most) white balance settings of the display. All in all, the display bears a hefty improvement over Xperia Z2 Tablet's one (mostly in the viewing angles segment), yet it leaves a lot to be desired.

The display reflects quite a bit of light. Fortunately, it's bright enough – the slate achieved a maximum brightness of 590 nits during our benchmarks (as a side comparison the Apple iPad mini 2 stands at 450 nits), which means that using the tablet under direct sunlight is a hassle-free experience. The minimum brightness, on the other hand, stands at 14 nits and this will definitely make your eyes squint if you are using it right before you fall to sleep. The viewing angles of Z3 Tablet's Compact are excellent, and you'll hardly experience any color distortions.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 590
(Excellent)
14
(Poor)
1:1501
(Excellent)
9034
(Poor)
2.6
5.23
(Average)
7.97
(Average)
Google Nexus 9 453
(Good)
10
(Average)
1:1178
(Good)
6942
(Excellent)
2.17
3.79
(Good)
4.56
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 419
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6747
(Excellent)
2.06
2.58
(Good)
2.74
(Good)
Apple iPad mini 3 312
(Average)
6
(Good)
1:823
(Average)
6656
(Excellent)
2.24
8.5
(Poor)
1.55
(Excellent)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 54.4%
50%
unmeasurable
4.3%
0.5%
99.2%
39.4%
Google Nexus 9 70.6%
70%
76.3%
8.2%
2.3%
2.1%
7.5%
Apple iPad mini 3 73.7%
83.3%
68.3%
10.3%
2.7%
0.9%
139.4%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 82.7%
85.7%
84.3%
9%
1.2%
0.6%
0.3%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and functionality

The UI has nothing new to write home about, yet it gets the job done

Unsurprisingly, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact runs Sony's Xperia UI on top of Android 4.4.4. It's among the custom firmwares that is close to stock Android. The lightweight UI will hardly show any signs of lag or the occasional stutter here or there. Unfortunately though, Sony's firmware suffers from a serious lackluster of unique features that make it stand apart from its rivals.

Similar to most of its Android rivals, the tablet boasts a multitasking mode – it allows users of the Z3 Tablet Compact to make use of Sony's so-called Small Apps, which run in hovering overlays atop other apps. By default, these comprise a browser, timer, calculator, and a screenshot tool. You can enrich the Small Apps portfolio by yourself with additional apps and widgets by heading to Google Play and downloading additional ones. You can also convert a widget into a “small app”.

As usual, Sony's Xperia UI interface is customizable thanks to the various on-board themes. Unsurprisingly, Sony has preloaded a number of its own apps on the 8-incher, such as Sony Walkman, Sony Album, Sony Movies, Sony Select, TrackID/TrackID TV, etc. The essential array of Google's apps is also on board. A welcome novelty is the Double Tap to Wake feature, which allows you to wake the device by double-tapping the screen, sans touching the power button. As a whole, Sony's UI is not something to write home about, but it gets the job done.

Processor and memory

Few of its rivals can stand up to the hardware prowess of the slate

Inside the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, one can find a quad-core Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AC (the same that powers the rest of the Xperia Z3 gang), the most potent breed of Qualcomm's 801 chipset, which churns the gears of the 8” slate at up to 2.5GHz. Paired with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM for extreme vigor and an Adreno 330 GPU to crunch through heavy 3D games, Sony's newest tablet is a compact performance monster.

We hardly had any performance issues while tinkering with Sony's water-proof slate. Try as we might, the slate survived almost all of our attempts to make it show any signs of stutter or performance lag. This means that regardless whether you are playing one of the more graphics-intensive games available on Google Play or simply browsing your app drawer, the slate will always perform decently.

The most basic variation of the tablet comes with 16GB of on-board storage (11 of which are available to the end-user), but a 32GB version is available as well (the latter is Wi-Fi only, mind you). You can also make use of an microSD card that's up to 128GB in size.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 20517
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 19816.67
Google Nexus 9 14814
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 32388
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 42089.67
Google Nexus 9 56836
Apple iPad mini 3 35513
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 1398
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 1554
Google Nexus 9 2731
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 2223
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 2942.67
Google Nexus 9 6103
Sunspider
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 1059.1
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 970.5
Google Nexus 9 956.8
Apple iPad mini 3 443.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 14
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 28.3
Google Nexus 9 41
Apple iPad mini 3 22.7
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 2.9
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 12
Google Nexus 9 22
Apple iPad mini 3 8.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 856
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 1125.33
Google Nexus 9 1929
Apple iPad mini 3 999
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 976
Google Nexus 9 1903
Apple iPad mini 3 1373
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 2743.33
Google Nexus 9 3166
Apple iPad mini 3 2478
View all

Internet and connectivity


All of the hardware potency of the tablet, naturally, results in a more-than-pleasant browsing experience. The Z3 Tablet Compact makes us of Google Chrome as a default browser, which paves the way for a smooth and issue-free user experience.

Connectivity-wise, we are dealing with two different variations of the slate, with either LTE/3G and Wi-Fi or just Wi-Fi on board. The former comes with a nano SIM card slot and can reach Cat 4 LTE speed of up to 150Mbps, HSDPA+ speed of 42.2Mbps, and HSUPA speed of 5.76Mbps. Just as one would expect, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/A-GPS, are also in the bag of connectivity features in both versions of the slate.

Camera

It won't necessarily amaze you, but the tablet's camera certainly does the job

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact comes with a 8.1MP rear snapper and a 2.2MP front-facing one. Unfortunately, Sony has obviously once again decided that an LED flash to complement the camera's capabilities will be an overkill, leaving the Z3 Tablet Compact devoid of this feature (which is a pity). A dedicated shutter key is also absent.

Software-wise, the snapper has all the bells and whistles that can be found in the Xperia Z3/Z3 Compact, such as Augmented Reality, Sony's Superior Auto mode, Sound Photo, AR Fun, Timeshift burst, Sweep Panorama, Multi camera, and other modes. There's something for everybody. Note that the camera shoots in 16:9 by default (resulting in 5MP images), which means that if you want to make full use of these 8 megapixels, you'll have to select the 4:3 mode from the settings menu.

As far as image quality is concerned, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact disappoints and delivers inconsistent results. Even under good lighting conditions, in broad daylight, the camera generally failed to deliver acceptable results. The colors are often washed out or with huge white balance error, making photos unpleasant and completely different from reality. To demonstrate this, we shot the same scene twice over the course of a few hours (at noon and at 4 o'clock p.m.). Both images have different issues, but our verdict is clear – the main camera of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact fails at its most important task. The image details are also bad, and our images often turned out with a noticeable ghost effect. Indoors, we got the same hit-or-miss results – some photos were perfectly acceptable, but many were washed out.

The 2.2MP front-facing camera, however, produces good-looking images.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 2.8
2.8
526
No data
Apple iPad mini 3 3.1
3.3
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 3.2
3.8
393
196
Google Nexus 9 6.3
No data
486
333
View all

On the other hand, we can say only good things for the video recording capabilities of the main snapper. The 1080p video recording is smooth and we failed to notice any artifacts in the video clips that we recorded. The on-board continuous autofocus is relatively fast and does its job hassle-free, making video recording a child's play. The quality of the recorded audio is high; it's both strong and clean. You'll hardly have any issues with it.


Multimedia

Undoubtedly, one of the stronger aspects of the slate

Being an entertainment-centric slate, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a vast selection of multimedia apps and features to choose from. For example, it employs one of the best and most feature-rich stock music players available, the Sony Walkman app. It comes with an impressive array of audio-centric settings and features.

Speaking of audio, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a worthy successor to the Xperia Z2 Tablet and also employs a set of stereo speakers that produce deep and rich sound. Despite being water-proofed, the front-facing speakers don't sound muffled at all, however, the bass sounds were not as profound as in the Xperia Z2 Tablet.

The Z3 Tablet Compact makes use of Sony's 3D Surround Sound Technology, Clear Audio+, and xLoud Experience and we can attest that you won't be disappointed by the overall sound quality. Generally speaking, listening to music or watching a Hollywood blockbuster will be a rather pleasant experience. Digital Noise Canceling is here as well and Sony claims that it will eliminate environmental sounds by 98%. Unfortunately, you can only make use of this feature with a special headset (Sony MDR-NC31EM, in particular) that is not included in the box.

As one would expect, the default video player of the tablet is a pretty powerful one and will play a wide array of the more common video formats that you might stumble upon, such as MP4, AVI, MKV, Xvid, WebM, and others. Native subtitle support is also present. You can also watch 4K videos with it – the playback is smooth and as good as it gets, regardless of the “merely” 1080p display of the slate.

One of the highlights of the slate is the on-board PS4 Remote Play feature, which allows you to mirror the content you play or watch on your PlayStation 4 directly to your tablet, provided that both are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. By pairing it with a compatible PS4 controller and you can even jump right into the action. It's the only tablet that allows you to remotely play PlayStation games, and we think that doing this on a slate is a tad more appropriate than on the smaller display of the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact, which also support this nifty feature.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Apple iPad mini 3 0.87
Google Nexus 9 0.808
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 0.6
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 0.3
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Apple iPad mini 3 76.6
Google Nexus 9 70.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 74.3
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 72
View all


Battery

The tablet's greatest asset is its truly remarkable battery life

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
A 4,500mAh battery can be found at the back of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Sony promises up to 990 hours (41 days) of battery life in standby mode and up to 15 hours of video playback, which sounds decent enough doesn't it? Judging from our past experience with the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact, which rocked our battery hall of fame, we expected the Z3 Tablet Compact to be a top-performer as well.

We weren't wrong – Sony did it again! The device clocked in at 9 hours and 48 minutes in our custom battery test, making the Z3 Tablet Compact the most durable tablet we've tested so far, almost on par with the Xperia Z3 Compact and slightly ahead of the Xperia Z3. As far as the tablet's rivals are concerned, the Google Nexus 9 remains at the second place with 9 hours and 24 minutes, while the bronze goes to the Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2. Sony's supremacy in the battery department gets proven yet again, and we can only commend the manufacturer for stepping its game up in this department as well.

This mesmerizing performance takes its toll, however – in order to charge the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact from 0% all the way to 100%, you'll have to wait roughly 4 hours and 42 minutes. Nonetheless, this is a price we are quite willing to pay.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.

name
Time
Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
9h 47 min (Excellent)
Google Nexus 9
9h 24 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
7h 4 min (Excellent)
Apple iPad mini 3
6h 53 min (Good)
View all

Charging time

name
minutes
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
188
Google Nexus 9
254
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
282
View all

Conclusion


Without a doubt, Sony has put a lot of engineering effort in its latest slate and the results are visible. To sum things up, we get an extremely compact, light, and water-proof tablet that has an outstanding battery life and most of the bells and whistles you'd expect from a tablet as per late 2014's standards. If we disregard the color inaccuracy of the display, this 8-inch champ could very well be one of the best slates you can throw your money at now. However, we can't simply omit the fact that Sony has once again spread itself thin and failed to deliver in this pretty fundamental aspect.

The slate is not quite popular yet, and is only available in certain markets across the globe. The most basic version of the slate - the 16GB Wi-Fi-only one - retails at £329 (~ $526) in the UK, whereas the 32GB Wi-Fi-only version and the 16GB LTE/Wi-Fi one can be yours for £379 (~ $606) and £ 429 (~ $686), respectively. Overall, we would say that it's one of the best 8-inch slates available on the market at the moment. Its closest rivals are the Apple iPad mini 3/ iPad mini 2, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0, and the LG G Pad 8.0. The Apple iPad mini 3, for example, offers more premium build (not water-proof, though) and sports a more accurate display for a slightly-lower price tag. The Galaxy Tab 4 8.0, on the other hand, is not as power-laden and compact, not to mention water-proof, but it flaunts a more affordable price tag and might be considered as a viable alternative to Sony's new tablet. Another offering in the same price range from Samsung, the 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S 8.4, is a fierce rival, too – it sports a rather color-accurate Super AMOLED display with an extremely high pixel density (for a tablet, that is) and compact size. To sum things up, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a good all-around tablet that will probably not disappoint.