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(Pocket-lint) - Sony announced the Xperia Z4 Tablet at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, delivering what the Japanese company claims is the world's slimmest and lightest 10-inch tablet.

It lands in a market with some stiff competition, from the HTC-designed Nexus 9 to the sleek and slender Samsung Tab S 10.1 and then you have the popular Apple iPad Air 2. So how does Sony's new model compare?

Apple iPad Air 2 is smaller but Sony Xperia Z4 is lighter and waterproof

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet measures 254 x 167 x 6.1mm,while the Apple iPad Air 2 is 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm, so Apple's model has a slightly smaller footprint overall.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet hits the scales at 389g for the Wi-Fi only model and 393g for the Wi-Fi and LTE option, both of which are lighter than the iPad Air 2's 437g and 444g respective weights.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet and the iPad Air 2 both feature beautiful designs and they both opt for lovely rounded edges. An aluminium frame is present on both, but the iPad Air 2 brings the aluminium finish all the way around the rear, while Sony opts for a tactile matte finish on the back. The iPad Air 2 also has Touch ID so you get fingerprint scanning on Apple's model while Sony doesn't have any kind of features like that.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet is IP65 and IP68 water and dust proof, whereas the iPad Air 2 won't appreciate being dropped in the bath one little bit, but the colour finishes are a little more premium-looking on the iPad Air 2. Apple's tablet comes in silver, gold and space grey options compared to the black and white offering from Sony.

Lastly when it comes to design, the Apple iPad Air 2's speakers are next to the Lightning connector port, while the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet opts for front-facing stereo speakers that sit on the edge of the display's bezel. Sony has introduced 3D Surround Sound technology, along with Clear Audio+ sound improvement software but Apple's option also delivers decent sound.

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet has a larger and sharper display  

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet has a 10.1-inch display that offers a resolution of 2560 x 1600, while the Apple iPad Air 2 offers a 9.7-inch display with a 2048 x 1536 resolution. If you boil that down to pixel density, the Xperia Z4 Tablet has a 299ppi compared to the iPad Air 2's 264ppi.

In theory, this means the Xperia Z4 Tablet has a sharper and crisper display than the iPad Air 2 and Sony also claims it is the brightest 2K display of its competition.

We thought the iPad Air 2 had a great display when we reviewed it, and the anti-glare coating helps limits reflections, but we were also impressed with the Xperia Z4 Tablet during our time with it at MWC 2015.

Same rear camera, but Sony Xperia Z4 has a better front snapper

The Sony Xperia Z4 pulls it out of the bag when it comes to the cameras, offering an 8.1-megapixel rear camera and a 5.1-megapixel front camera, compared to the Apple iPad Air 2's 8-megapixel rear snapper and 1.2-megapixel front shooter.

Both the iPad Air 2 and the Xperia Z4 Tablet support 1080p HD video recording and both companies offer their own software features, but Sony delivers a few more in this area compared to Apple.

With the Xperia Z4 Tablet, you get the same suite of camera apps as the company's flagship Xperia Z3 smartphone on both the front and rear cameras including Superior Auto, AR Fun and Timeshift Video, among plenty of others. The iPad Air 2 on the other hand, offers Burst Mode, excellent Slo-Mo video and features such as Timer Mode.

More app storage on the iPad Air 2 but more movie time on the Xperia Z4 Tablet

Both the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Apple iPad Air 2 come with 64-bit processors under their hoods. The Xperia Z4 Tablet has a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset and Adreno 430 graphics, while Apple's iPad Air 2 has the company's latest A8X chip, and both will be speedy devices.

In terms of storage, the Xperia Z4 Tablet only has 32GB of internal memory in comparison to the iPad Air 2's 16GB, 64GB and 128GB options. The storage on the Sony is expandable via microSD up to 128GB however, while the iPad Air 2 isn't, but microSD will only help when it comes to videos and photos for example, rather than apps.

In terms of battery, the Xperia Z4 Tablet has a 6000mAh capacity, compared to the iPad Air 2's 27.3 watt-hour capacity. Sony promises up to 17 hours of video playback, while Apple offers up to just 10 hours so you can watch a couple more films on the Xperia Z4 Tablet.

Android or iOS

The software is where Sony and Apple head in very different directions. The iPad Air 2 runs on iOS 8, while the Xperia Z4 Tablet has Android 5.0 Lollipop on board. Ultimately, it depends on which interface you're either used to or which you prefer.

If you have an iPhone, you'll probably opt for the iPad Air 2 because not only is it familiar, but everything will sync seamlessly across your devices. The same goes if you have an Android phone - the Xperia Z4 Tablet is likely to be the better option.

Both come with their own strengths but the Xperia Z4 Tablet users will automatically become Xperia Lounge Gold members, which offers you exclusive content and the Z4 Tablet also comes with the company's Remote Play function, which allows you to play your PlayStation 4 remotely.

The iPad Air 2 has Siri as well as things like AirDrop and AirPlay, which are both handy if you have other Apple products, and there are more iPad specific apps than Android tablet apps.


The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Apple iPad Air 2 are two lovely-looking devices, but it is the Sony that wins if you ignore design and look at the specs on their own.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet is lighter, waterproof, offers a larger and crisper display, plus it is said to last almost twice as long when it comes to video playback. There is a better front-facing camera and there is storage expansion via microSD to store all youyr content. Additionally, PlayStation 4 owners also get the benefit of being able to play their console games remotely and the Xperia Z4 is likely to be significantly cheaper, even compared to the 16GB iPad Air 2.

The iPad Air 2 on the other hand has a smaller footprint, a more premium design, touch ID and if you opt for the highest storage option, you could download more apps than you would be able to on the Sony. The biggest storage capacity comes at a price though and at £559 for the Wi-Fi only model, it's likely to cost around £200 more than Sony's offering. Then you have the expansive app ecosystem that's often half a step ahead of Android.

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is probably as close to an iPad as you'll get in the Android world, so you're likely to be happy no matter which you choose. At the end of the day, the specs don't mean all that much if you prefer the design of over the other.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 5 March 2015.