Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet full review
At MWC a couple of weeks ago, Sony showed off the new Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet. When paired with its keyboard, this Android tablet becomes a decent productivity device and a cheaper option than the good-but-expensive Microsoft Surface Pro 3. But which should you buy? We'll help you choose. Also see: Best new tablets coming in 2016.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet vs Surface Pro 3: Price
The Xperia Z4 costs £499, and that includes the keyboard dock. It's not yet on sale, but should be within the next month or two in the UK.
Even the base model of the Surface Pro 3, reviewed, is more expensive, starting at £639. The keyboard - the Type Cover - costs £109, making the comparable cost £748: £250 more than the Sony.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet vs Surface Pro 3: Windows vs Android
Both tablets can run Microsoft Office, but neither comes with it pre-installed. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are free apps in the Google Play store, offering the "core experience" without paying a penny. You can unlock the full features of the apps by buying an Office 365 subscription.
The Surface Pro 3 - oddly - doesn't come with Office. A subscription to Office 365 Personal will cost you £60, meaning you get Word, Excel and PowerPoint for a year.
Of course, the real benefit of the Surface Pro 3 is that it can also run all Windows programs, so you can edit video in Premiere Pro on the move or use any other software you'd otherwise need a PC or fully fledged laptop to run.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet vs Surface Pro 3: Design
Another key difference is screen size. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12in screen with a resolution of 2160x1440.
The Z4 tablet has a 10.1in screen with 2560x1600 pixels. While a higher pixel density is usually nicer to have, we'd far rather have a larger screen to get real work done: 10.1in is too small to be practical for most people, and it also means the keyboard is smaller.
The Surface Pro 3's larger screen and keyboard will make long sessions easier to bear, and this will make it worth the extra money for many people.
The Sony tablet is smaller and lighter at 392g: half the mass of the Microsoft tablet. The combos are heavier with their keyboards, but the Surface Pro is going to weigh you down more than the Xperia.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet vs Surface Pro 3: Performance
With a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, the Z4 is about as good as it gets for Android tablets at the moment.
The base model of the Surface Pro 3 has a 4th-generation Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Unfortunately, we were sent the i5 version to test, so can't say whether the i3 model is much faster than the Z4 tablet in our benchmarks.
In terms of responsiveness, the Xperia might actually feel quicker than the base Surface Pro 3, particularly as the 810 can run Lollipop very smoothly indeed.
When it comes to demanding tasks such as video editing, the Xperia (or Android) isn't going to be the best choice. Then again, neither is the base-model Surface Pro 3. We'd recommend at least the i5 version.
Ultimately, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is marketed as an entertainment device, with some productivity capabilities on the side. The Surface Pro 3 is designed to be a workhorse first and foremost.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet vs Surface Pro 3: Battery life
Sony says the Z4 Tablet can play video for an amazing 17 hours, while the Surface Pro 3 can muster only around nine. However, in practice you'll rarely be away from mains power for that long, so it shouldn't be the deciding factor.
It might mean you can take the Z4 on a two-day business trip without having to carry a charger, but you wouldn't risk it with the Surface Pro 3.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet vs Surface Pro 3: conclusion
It's hard to give a definitive verdict on which you should buy, because it will depend on your priorities. Those wanting a keyboard for typing documents should be well served by the Xperia Z4 Tablet. It also outshines the Surface Pro 3 for entertainment, because the Google Play store has a far better selection of apps and games than the Windows Store.
If you need to run Windows programs that go beyond Office, your only option here is the Surface Pro 3. It's more expensive, bigger and heavier than the Sony tablet, but the 12in screen is more comfortable to look at if you'll be working long hours with it.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: Specs
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 10.1in IPS Triluminos screen, 2560x1600, 300ppi, 500cd/m2
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 64-bit
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage, microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
- 8.1Mp rear camera with Exmor RS
- 5.1Mp wide angle front camera
- MHL 3.0
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Nano-SIM (LTE model)
- 6000 mAh battery
- 392g (Wi-Fi), 396g (LTE)
- Black, white