Confirmed for UK: Sony Xperia Tablet Z pictures and hands-on

Sony has confirmed that the Sony Xperia Tablet Z will be coming to the UK, following the launch in Japan at the end of January.

We sat down with Daniel Sandblom, product marketing manager at Sony Mobile, to have a look at the premium Sony tablet in the flesh.

Sandblom described the Xperia Tablet Z as "intentionally premium" and the design fits that of the Zperia Z smartphone. It uses the same high-quality finish and materials, fusing everything together in a glassfibre frame.

Like the Xperia Z phone, it’s incredibly thin at 6.9mm. With a display measuring 10.1-inches on the diagonal, topped with tempered glass, but weighing only 495g, it’s surprisingly light in the hand.

It has the same design touches as its smartphone sibling too, with the use of an aluminium standby button and a similar volume rocker, giving a family feel to these devices.

The display is impressive, with wonderful rich colours coming from the 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution panel. That gives you a pixel density of 224, which is pretty sharp, but it doesn’t quite hit the high marks of the iPad with Retina display or the even sharper 300ppi Nexus 10.

But its being 200g lighter than either of those devices is a real boon if you’re looking for a portable tablet, or plan to spend time holding the tablet while watching movies in bed, for example.

Lying at the heart of the Xperia Tablet Z is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, clocked at 1.5GHz, with 2GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of internal storage, with an SD card slot for expansion.

The Tablet Z also has another trick up it’s sleeve when it comes to connectivity. There’s the option for integrated 4G LTE, which can be added on top of the standard Wi-Fi a/b/g/n version. Bluetooth 4.0 is also in place, along with IR, so you’ll be able to control your TV.

Entertainment is high on the agenda, and as you’ll find on Sony devices across the board, there’s access to a variety of Sony services, such as Music Unlimited, as well as things like the Walkman music player.

There are four speakers on the Tablet Z, with several sound modes on offer, aiming to give you a good audio experience whether you’re using the speakers or headphones. In addition, the Tablet Z is NFC enabled, so you’ll be able to quickly transfer your music to NFC speakers and headphones, for example.

But this isn’t just a tablet that has set its sights on your sofa. With IPX5/7 certification, the Tablet Z is also water resistant, as long as the port covers are all in place. That means you’ll be able to relax in the bath watching House of Cards on Netflix and it doesn’t matter if you drop it.

As this is an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet you’ll get access to all the goodies of Google Play. Sony has made a few alterations to the UI but, as with most tablets, they are minimal. You’ll basically get additional shortcuts to dive into the main features, like the camera and Chrome browser.

Talking of cameras, there’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. These are both Sony Exmor R for mobile backside illuminated sensors and, although we don’t often use cameras in tablets, they should be able to deliver the goods.

There’s a 6000mAh battery to power this svelte Android tablet, which sounds typical. We’ll be putting it all to the test when we get one for a full review as soon as we can.

The Sony Tablet Xperia Z will cost £399 for the Wi-Fi version, £499 for the LTE. Dates are still to be confirmed.