We pitch the Xperia Z4, Sony’s flagship tablet with yet another flagship from Apple, the iPad Air 2. Two premium tablets go head to head. Which one is better, faster, lighter, slimmer, clearer, brighter and so on…
Battle of the Premium Flagship Tablets
Two of the biggest Titans in technology battle it out with their take on the ultimate tablet. We could pitch Samsung against Apple but being Samsung, there are so many ‘flagship’ tablets; Tab S, Tab PRO, NotePRO and so on that one might think that they have completely lost the plot or simply, throwing everything out there and see which one sticks.
Like Apple, Sony exudes an air of superiority and character when it comes to product design and it shows in their smartphones and tablets. Being in more than one industry (entertainment, audio visual, mobile computing, still and video camera to name a few and not just smartphones and tablets) allows them to capitalise on their expertise in the different areas to bring together the best in technology.
Apple on the other hand with it’s proven formula for tablet, always perfecting it since the first generation iPad, has put everything they know about making the best tablet and smartphone into their flagship tablet, the iPad Air 2. But how do they compare when pitched side by side, let’s take a closer spec by spec look at the two tablets.
Sony Xperia Z4: 64-bit Octa-core CPU Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57 processor with Adreno 430 – OCTA-CORE
Apple iPad Air 2: Apple A8X chip with 64-bit architecture Triple-core 1.5 GHz, M8 motion coprocessor
Sony Xperia Z4: 10.1-inches IPS LCD Touch Screen 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution (299 ppi pixel density) 2K display. Scratch resistant glass and anti-fingerprint coating – BIGGER, HIGHER RES.
Apple iPad Air 2: 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution at 264 ppi, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, Fully laminated display, Anti-reflective coating, Scratch-resistant glass, oleophobic coating
MEMORY & STORAGE
Sony Xperia Z4: 3GB RAM and 32GB Storage with MicroSD expansion slot supporting up to 128GB – MORE MEMORY, BIGGER STARTING STORAGE
Apple iPad Air 2: 2GB RAM and 16/64/128GB Storage – MORE STORAGE OPTIONS
Sony Xperia Z4: 8.1MP rear facing camera with Exmor RS™ for mobile to reduce noise and Superior Auto to capture the best pictures in any lighting conditions, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, 8x digital zoom, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR. 5.1MP front facing camera 25mm wide-angle lens for better video calls and selfies. Full HD video capture 1080p@30fps, HDR, Image stabiliser. – BETTER FRONT FACING CAMERA
Apple iPad Air 2: 8MP iSight rear facing camera, Autofocus, ƒ/2.4 aperture, Five-element lens, Hybrid IR ﬁlter, Backside illumination, Improved face detection, Exposure control, Panorama (up to 43MP), Burst mode, Tap to focus, Photo geotagging, Timer mode. Video Recording: 1080p HD video recording (30 fps), Slo-mo (120 fps), Time-lapse video, Video image stabilisation, Improved face detection, 3x video zoom, Video geotagging. FaceTime HD 1.2MP front facing camera, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 720p HD video recording, Backside illumination, Auto HDR photos and videos, Improved face detection, Burst mode, Exposure control, Timer mode.
CONNECTIVITY & PORTS
Sony Xperia Z4: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, Native USB tethering, Smart Connect, Synchronisation via Exchange ActiveSync, Facebook, Google and SyncML, NFC, microUSB v2.0 (MHL 3.0 TV-out), 3.5mm audio Jack. FM Radio with RDS. 4G LTE option available.
Apple iPad Air 2: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz), hotspot, HT80 with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0 technology, Lightning reversible connector, 4G LTE Option available.
Sony Xperia Z4: A-GPS, GLONASS, Accelerometer, gyro, compass, proximity, barometer
Apple iPad Air 2: Digital compass, iBeacon micro-location. Touch ID, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Barometer, Ambient light sensor, Fingerprint identity sensor built into the Home button, On (WiFi+Cellular Model Only: Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Mobile Data) – FINGER PRINT SCANNER
Those on older generation iPhone and iPad will be able to relate that upgrading to the latest iOS 8.x is not helping the battery life. Sony on the other hand is doing everything they can to improve the battery life of their devices using a combination of both high capacity battery and power management apps. Just like the Xperia smartphones, Sony’s STAMINA mode allows the tablet to turn off all non-essential services and apps to prolong the standby and useful time on the device. Sony claims up to 17 hours of video playback which should cover you for your entire long haul flight. Kudos to Sony.
Sony Xperia Z4: Non-removable Li-Po 6000 mAh battery. Video playback time: up to 17 hours, fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0) – BETTER POWER MANAGEMENT, LONGER BATTERY LIFE
Apple iPad Air 2: Built-in 27.3-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, Up to 10 hours of surfing, watching video or listening to music, charge via power adapter or USB to computer system
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
Both are equally slim at 6.1mm, and given the size of the screen on the Sony Xperia Z4, the tablet is bound to be bigger but in this case, not very much bigger. It is only 14mm taller and 2.5mm wider than the iPad Air 2. But what really surprised us is the weight of the Z4, eventhough it is bigger and has a bigger screen compared to the iPad Air 2, it is actually lighter both with or without LTE by quite a big margin.
Sony Xperia Z4: 254 x 167 x 6.1 mm (10.0 x 6.57 x 0.24 in) and 389 g (Wi-FI); 393 g (LTE) (13.97 oz) – SLIM & LIGHTER
Apple iPad Air 2: 240 mm (9.4 inches) x 169.5 mm (6.6 inches) x 6.1 mm (0.24 inches) and 437 g (0.96 pounds) WiFi; 444 g (0.98 pounds) WiFi + Cellular – SLIM & SMALLER
We won’t go into a debate on which is the better OS, both Android and iOS has its’ strong points and downsides. When it comes to operating system, it is always a matter of preference. If you are moving from iOS to Android, you will find that the latest version, Android OS 5.0 Lollipop has a much cleaner and clutter free experience. This is not to say that Sony will not add its own custom skin and enhancements. As with Apple, you will get tonnes of add-ons and apps, some you will find useful but others, not so. Again, it is really a matter of preference but feel free to remove or uninstall apps that you think you will never use.
Sony Xperia Z4: Android OS 5.0 Lollipop
Apple iPad Air 2: iOS 8.1, upgradeable to iOS 8.3
Sony Xperia Z4: Display uses TRILUMINOS™ display with Live Colour LED technology and what you get is an unrivalled colour pallet with more vivid reds and natural-looking greens and blues. Powerful high capacity battery and Battery STAMINA Mode lets you use the tablet to watch movies and tv shows for up to 17 hours. IP68 certified – dust and water proof up to 1.5 meter and 30 minutes with capless USB port means you can simply rinse off any dirt or dust without worrying about breaking the tablet. You can even take photos or video while swimming in freshwater but keep it under 1.5 meter deep and submerged for less than 30 minutes High-Res Audio ensures you hear every detail on every track, while digital noise cancelling (DNC) support literally shuts out external noise with DNC headphones. Sony 3D Surround Sound, Clear Audio+, xLoud Experience enhance the sound system further. Available in Black or White. Works with SmartWear from Sony and other Android Wear from Motorola, LG, Asus, Samsung. Sony’s own, the Sony SmartWatch 3 is already a successful and established Android gear with up to 3 days battery life.
Apple iPad Air 2: Apple has its eco system of apps and third party apps from the AppStore as well as content deliver via iTunes, Podcast, Video, Newstand, iBooks and Music all thought out. If you already have an i Devices, chances are you have purchased some content or app and there is no two ways about keeping the access to them. You will need an i Device to do just that. But if you are not too fussed about your content, use mainly streaming for TV shows, movies and music with third party, then it is safe to say that you have the open of staying or moving. Other free apps from Apple include Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, GarageBand and iTunes U. Whether you actually use all these apps on a tablet is a different matter entirely. We like to think that the tablet is still very much a consumption device. If you want to type up your document or prepare your spreadsheet, there is the laptop or desktop for that. The 64-bit A8X chip desktop class processor does pack some punch especially when handling graphic intensive games. This new generation A8X chip is said to be 40% faster than its predecessor. The Touch ID is a bonus, allow not only secure access to the tablet but to secure your purchases on iTunes, iBooks and the App store. At the point of writing, Apple Watch can only be paired with the iPhone, there is no Apple Watch app for iPad.