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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has announced the Xperia Z4 Tablet at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which it claims is not only "made for entertainment", but also carries the tag of the "world's lightest and slimmest 10-inch tablet".

It may wipe the floor with its predecessor, the Xperia Z2 Tablet that launched at MWC 2014, but how does it compare to some of its newer competition including the Nexus 9 and the Apple iPad Air 2?

In this feature, we have put the Xperia Z4 Tablet up against Google's Nexus 9 to see how they compare in terms of specs, what the differences are and which device theoretically comes out on top.

Xperia Z4 Tablet is slimmer and lighter

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet measures 254 x 167 x 6.1mm, while the HTC-designed Google Nexus 9 compares at 228.3 x 153.7 x 7.95mm. In terms of weight, the Xperia Z4 Tablet hits the scales at a mere 393g, while the Nexus 9 comes in at 436g. 

All these numbers mean Sony's new flagship tablet is significantly slimmer and exactly 40 grams lighter than the Nexus 9, but the HTC tablet has a smaller footprint overall, helped by its smaller display.

They are both premium looking devices with metal frames and soft-grip backs and they both opt for front-facing speakers, but the Nexus 9 has the added benefit of HTC's BoomSound technology, while Sony looks towards digital noise cancelling and High-Res Audio upscaling. The Xperia Z4 Tablet also adds IP55 and IP58 waterproof and dustproof ratings to its spec sheet, which means Netflix in the bath.

Both the Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Nexus 9 come in white or black colour options, but the Nexus 9 32GB version is also available in a 'sand' colour. They are also both available with separately-sold keyboards to turn them into mini laptops but Sony has also enhanced its software to help here.

Smaller but shaper display on the Nexus 9

The Xperia Z4 Tablet comes with a 10.1-inch display, offering a resolution of 2560 x 1600 that results in a pixel density of 299ppi. The Nexus 9 on the other hand, has a smaller 8.9-inch display that has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 and therefore a pixel density of 324ppi.

In theory, this means the Nexus 9 will have a sharper, crisper display than the Xperia Z4 Tablet as more pixels are packed in per inch. Sony has claimed that the Xperia Z4 Tablet offers the brightest 2K display around though but we can't verify this so you'll have to take its word for it.

Better selfies on the Xperia Z4 Tablet

Cameras on tablets aren't usually as talked about as cameras on smartphones but for those that are partial to taking a snap with their slab, it's still a feature worth comparing.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet has an 8-megapixel rear camera, which the Nexus 9 also has, but the two devices differ when it comes to the front-facing snapper. The Xperia Z4 Tablet bumps the selfie camera up to 5-megapixels and adds a wide-angle lens, while the Nexus 9 opts for a below-average 1.6-megaixel front-facing shooter.

Sony has also introduced software developments to the front-facing camera of the Xperia Z4 Tablet, introducing the Xperia Z3 smartphone's camera features such as Superior Auto and AR Fun but it also adds Portrait ReTouch for redefining finishes to your selfie snaps. The camera apps were originally only available on the rear camera but bringing them to the front means Superior Auto will automatically alter the camera's settings to give you the best possible selfie, for example while AR Fun allows you to add the odd dinosaur into your shots for good measure.

Better storage on Xperia Z4 Tablet but Nexus 9 wins for battery capacity  

Getting down to the nitty gritty details, the Xperia Z4 Tablet features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, which is an 64-bit octa-core CPU with Adreno 430 GPU, while the Nexus 9 goes with the Nvidia Tegra K1 chip set, which is a 64-bit quad-core CPU and features the Nvidia Kepler GPU.

Numbers and tech-overload aside, it should mean you get a great experience with both as they are both powerful processors. The Nexus 9 has the potential to be a fantastic gaming tablet as the Tegra K1 is built on the same architecture as gaming PCs but the Xperia Z4 Tablet has something unique for PlayStation gamers in its software (more on that in a minute).

Storage wise, the Xperia Z4 Tablet has 32GB of flash memory that is expandable via microSD while the Nexus 9 is available in 16GB or 32GB models but without microSD support. The Xperia Z4 Tablet also comes with 3GB of RAM compared to the Nexus 9's 2GB.

In terms of battery life, the Xperia Z4 Tablet offers a 6000mAh capacity in comparison to the Nexus 9's 6700mAh battery capacity so in theory, the Nexus 9 should see you through some more playback time.


Software is one of the main differentiators between these two devices, despite them both running on Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet features Sony's software overlay on top of Android, which means you get all of Sony's services in your face including Sony Music, Entertainment, Xperia Lounge and PlayStation, while the Nexus 9 runs fuss-free raw Android.

It will depend on your personal preference as to which device will suit you better here, but if you have a PlayStation 4, the Xperia Z4 Tablet offers something the Nexus 9 can't touch - the ability to remotely play your PS4 on your tablet. For those without a PlayStation, the Remote Play feature will mean nothing to you, but for those that do have Sony's next-gen console, it could be just the thing that makes the decision between these two tablets that little bit easier.

As mentioned previously, Sony has also introduced a software feature that launches when the specially-designed BKB50 keyboard is attached. You can read more about it in our hands-on if you are looking for a tablet for working on the move.

Similar price

Sony hasn't announced a price for the Xperia Z4 Tablet yet, but as the previous model currently sits at £369, we wouldn't expect the new device to be any less.

The Nexus 9 on the other hand is available from £319, but that is for the 16GB model. For the 32GB option, you are looking at £399, which is likely to put the Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Nexus 9 near enough on par.


The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Google Nexus 9 both bring their own strengths to the party. The Xperia Z4 Tablet is slimmer, lighter, waterproof and features a bigger display while the Nexus 9 has a smaller footprint overall, along with a sharper screen and a sand colour offering if you don't fancy black or white.

Both have an 8-megapixel rear camera so there shouldn't be too much difference here, but the Xperia Z4 Tablet ups the ante when it comes to the front-facing snapper in terms of megapixels and software.

Looking at hardware, both have powerful processors on board, but the Xperia Z4 Tablet offers more RAM support and microSD support to expand the 32GB internal memory, while the Nexus 9 gives you a maximum of 32GB and once it is full, it's full. The HTC-designed device will last a little longer though, with a 700mAh bigger battery capacity than the Xperia Z4 Tablet.

They are near enough neck-in-neck and your decision will more than likely boil down to what is most important to you. Both have a nice design but the Sony is waterproof, which is always handy if you do fancy playing a game or watching a movie in the bath and there are some software benefits with the Sony, including the PS4 Remote Play. Battery life is theoretically better on the Nexus 9, as is the slightly smaller display but for the selfie taker - the Xperia Z4 Tablet is probably the winner. Overall, we suspect you'll be happy with either.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 25 February 2015.