Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - Sony has announced a number of additions to its Xperia range of mobile devices, one of which is a compact version of its Xperia Z2 Tablet that was announced earlier this year.

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is an 8-inch device that couples many of the Xperia Z2 Tablet specs with some of the new Xperia Z3 smartphone features. But how does it compare to the Apple iPad mini with Retina display? Read on to see what the differences are and how the two model stack up against each other.

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is slimmer, lighter and waterproof

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact might not have the catchiest name but it does have a catchy design. The company claims it is the lightest and slimmest waterproof tablet on the market and slim and light is exactly what it is.

Following a similar design to the other Xperia Z devices, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has rounded corners and curved edges but rather than a tempered glass rear, it offers a matte finish.

The Apple iPad mini also excels in the design department, offering a more rounded shape than the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact but while the Sony device is IP65/68 rated and is therefore waterproof, the Apple iPad mini won't survive a dunk.

In terms of numbers, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact measures 213.4 x 123.6 x 6.4mm and weighs 270g, while the Apple iPad mini has a 200 x 134.7 x 7.5mm build and a 331g weight.

This means the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is slimmer, lighter and narrower but a little taller than the Apple iPad mini.

Apple iPad mini has a slightly smaller but sharper display

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact features an 8-inch display while the Apple iPad mini offers a 7.9-inch screen, so the Sony is just slightly larger.

Apple tops Sony when it comes to the resolution though, with the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact packing in a 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution that offers a 275ppi, compared to the 2048 x 1536 resolution and 326ppi on the Apple iPad mini.

This means the Apple iPad mini will be sharper and more detailed than Sony's Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, but Sony claims it wouldn't be noticeable to the human eye on a device of this size. We'd argue otherwise.

Apple iPad mini chip is future proof

Under the hood of the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact you will find a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor along with 3GB of RAM to support it, so you should get a pretty speedy response whatever task you throw at it.

The Apple iPad mini on the other hand, comes with Apple's latest 64-bit A7 chipset and M7 motion coprocessor so again, there should be no lag when playing games, watching movies or whatever you decide to do on the tablet.

While it is difficult to say which will be faster based on the numbers alone, it's worth noting that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor is 32-bit architecture so Apple's chip is more future friendly.

The Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet has a better camera

Sony puts a lot of focus on the camera element of its flagship Xperia Z products. You'll find an 8.1-megapixel rear camera, along with a 2.2-megapixel front-facing snapper for selfies and video calls and the rear camera can shoot video in 1080p.

The Apple iPad mini comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera that is also capable of 1080p video recording and there is a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera on the front.

Both devices offer their own camera features with Apple offering face detection and the ability to control exposure while Sony offers fun applications such as Face-in and Multi-Camera like the Xperia Z3 smartphone.

Android or iOS

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact runs on the latest version of Android 4.4 KitKat, while the Apple iPad mini features the latest version of iOS so here it will all come down to which software experience you prefer.

Sony overlays its own skin on top of Android that pushes its own services including Walkman and Entertainment, while Apple does the same through iOS with services such as iTunes.

There is one advantage the Sony tablet has over Apple's iPad mini though and that will be the ability to play PlayStation 4 console games on it. 

Both devices offer the usual connectivity features and sensors including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact also adds NFC to the mix whereas Apple steers clear of NFC.

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will last longer and has microSD

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a 4500mAh battery powering it, which Sony claims will offer up to 170 hours of music listening time or up to 15 hours of video playback time.

The Apple iPad mini comes with a 23.8-watt battery that Apple says will allow for up to 10 hours of video playback so you'll be able to watch an extra film, perhaps even two with Sony's device.

Sony also pips Apple to the post when it comes to storage. The iPad mini is available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models but you pay the price for the extra storage while the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact features 16GB of internal storage plus a microSD slot for further expansion up to 128GB.


The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact certainly gives the Apple iPad mini a run for its money.

Sony's 8-inch device is not only waterproof, but slimmer and lighter than the iPad mini, plus there is a better camera on board, microSD support and a better battery life.

The Apple iPad mini wins a few points back when it comes to the display resolution and processor architecture though.

They are both powerful devices that offer a good, stylish designs and they sit pretty much neck-in-neck when it comes to specs so ultimately, the one you pick will depend on whether you sit in the iOS camp or the Android camp.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 3 September 2014.