Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review: The tablet of choice for multimedia lovers
A full sized-tablet in 8-inch clothing.
- Powerful hardware
- Water resistant
- PlayStation 4 Remote Play
- Thin and light profile
- Mediocre camera performance
- More expensive than rivals
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The styling of the Z3 Tablet Compact is identifiably Sony. Thick bezels frame the 8-inch screen, the tablet weighs a light 270 grams and is thin at 6 millimetres. A bespoke power button lines one side while charging contacts punctuate the other. Polycarbonate plastic accounts for most of the tablet, though metal corners grant the thin slate much needed rigidity.
The screen spans 8-inches, has a 1920x1200 resolution and a density of 283 pixels-per-inch. It has been designed for use in portrait orientation and, if you have fingers long enough, you’ll be able to hold it in one hand. This is not necessarily comfortable as much as it is possible to do.
Note: The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact reviewed by Good Gear Guide is on loan from Yatango Shopping. GGG will update this article once we receive an Australian loan unit from Sony.
Tablets are typically pigeon-holed as productivity tools; the Z3 Tablet Compact ditches this stereotype for one better suited to multimedia. The screen is of a high calibre, with vibrant colours, a sharp resolution and wide viewing angles. A 16:9 aspect ratio makes it ideal for watching videos and movies, although browsing the web or reading eBooks are tasks more comfortable on the 4:3 Apple iPad Mini 3.
Flanking the screen are inconspicuous stereo speakers. These speakers are barely visible, and yet they produce audio loud enough to cause the chassis to vibrate, much in the same way bass in a car causes the rear-view mirror to quiver.
The Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet runs Android 4.4 KitKat. Sony has differentiated the software with a complementary overlay. The Z3 Tablet Compact ships with many third party applications, though all of them can be uninstalled out of the box. Even some Sony applications can be removed.
Gamers entrenched in the PlayStation ecosystem should give the Z3 Tablet Compact consideration. The tablet supports Sony’s Remote Play feature, which makes it possible to use the Z3 Tablet Compact’s display for PS4 games in lieu of a television’s screen.
Games are streamed smoothly, in real time, at times avoiding stop-start playback by dropping some frames. Remote Play is not some half-baked gimmick, but rather a genuine alternative that lets you set your PS4 up on the best screen in the house, and then still game when that same screen is in use.
The Z3 Tablet Compact proves to be the best product for Sony’s Remote Play as it’s large enough to appreciate the graphics, and yet small enough to comfortably work as a remote control.
Waterproofing the tablet hasn’t taxed its appearance. The Z3 Tablet Compact will work fine in water 1.5 metres deep for a straight thirty minutes. Most won’t encounter such conditions, but the additive serves other purposes.
Wet hands won’t stop you from using the tablet during tasks as varied as cooking, swimming or reading in a tub. One Good Gear Guide staffer could use the perk to stream basketball matches over NBA League Pass while showering.
Some companies have to make concessions on size and weight to accommodate waterproofing; the Z3 Tablet Compact is not one of these products. It offers waterproofing while remaining one of the thinnest and lightest on the market
Sony cameras have a history of making Good Gear Guide staffers swoon. The Z3 Tablet Compact marks one of the rare occasions where we’re not impressed. Both the 8.1 megapixel camera at the back and the 2.1 megapixel camera up front perform well in ideal lighting, but suffer from image noise in conditions where lighting is anything other than ideal. The cameras are adequate but, not surprisingly, a far cry from the standard set by Sony smartphones.
Sony’s introductory tablet is technically its most powerful. Whereas the Z2 Tablet packs a 2.3GHz quad-core CPU, the Z3 Tablet Compact’s quad-core CPU is clocked at 2.5GHz. The rest of the internals are near identical, with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.
Integrated into the tablet is a 4500 milliamp-hour battery. Good Gear Guide used the tablet over a one week period. Our tablet, sourced from online retailer Yatango Shopping, accommodated a 4G compatible SIM card. We used the tablet mostly for emails, web-browsing, reading, playing music and watching videos. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact lasted 3 days and 3 hours under these real-world conditions. Playing a little Real Racing 3 on the tablet and some Assassin’s Creed Unity over PlayStation Remote Play dropped battery life to 2 days and 16 hours.
The Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet from Sony is among the best miniature tablets on the market. Often small tablets are consistently small on hardware, software and features. The Z3 Tablet Compact differs by delivering the same powerful innards and a replete feature-set found in top-tier, full-sized rivals.
Fans of all sorts of multimedia will be well served by this tablet and shouldn’t hesitate to pay Sony’s $499 asking price — it’s worth it.
Others fond of web-browsing or are interested in ‘optimising productivity’ would be wise to consider the year old iPad Mini 2. At $369, the year old tablet is fiercely competitive.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet modules add features but limit functionality
- Apple working on a fix for iPad Pros bricked by iOS 9.3.2
- As tablet sales take a dive, analysts expect smartphone vendors to launch convertibles
- Acer puts liquid cooling in its Switch Alpha 12 tablet
- Display expert: The 9.7-inch iPad Pro's color accuracy is “visually indistinguishable from perfect”
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- TPBI Report Developer - SSRS SSIS SSASNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW
- FTProject SchedulerSA
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- FTInfrastructure ConsultantQLD
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- FTTechnical Account ManagerNSW
- FTPMO Coordinator - Permanent Opportunity!NSW
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- FTManager - Field ServicesVIC
- CCMicrosoft Active Directory ArchitectACT
- CCNetwork Design EngineerACT
- CCService Desk Consultant-Baseline Clearance RequiredNSW
- FTChange AnalystVIC
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantQLD
- TPDigital Business Analyst | AgileQLD
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantNSW
- FTBack End DeveloperNSW
- TPTest ManagerQLD
- FTSoftware EngineerSA
- FTIT Project CoordinatorVIC
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW