Battery Life, Closing Thoughts
Inside the Xperia Z2 Tablet we find a 22.8 Wh (6,000 mAh at 3.8 V) battery, which is a reasonable size for a tablet this thin and light, but not hugely amazing. Windows 8.1 tablets I’ve reviewed in the past, such as the Asus Transformer Book T100, managed to pack a 30+ Wh battery into their 10-inch frame, although the ARM components inside the Z2 Tablet should be more power efficient than their Intel counterparts.
The Snapdragon 801 is especially important to battery life as it’s one of Qualcomm’s most power efficient chips to date. Standby battery life is extremely good from the Xperia Z2 Tablet, as the Snapdragon 801 SoC power gates cores and runs at low frequencies to conserve energy. Every time I picked up the tablet, the remaining battery had hardly decreased, which is great to see.
Battery life isn’t as impressive when you’re actually using the tablet. Especially when gaming and performing other intensive tasks, you’ll witness a fairly high level of battery drain, although it’s not as bad when just using the tablet for web browsing or light app usage. I feel like a battery life/thinness tradeoff has occurred, and although the tablet looks fantastic, I would have sacrificed a few more millimetres for a beefier battery.
Above you’ll see the results from our usual video playback battery test, which is a low intensity benchmark that shows the energy efficiency of the SoC and the display. Decoding 720p is hardware accelerated on all Android devices these days, although the 75% brightness requirement can strain the more wasteful panels.
There are many things that Sony has done right with the Xperia Z2 Tablet. For one, the design is absolutely incredible: a slim and light body is complemented by great materials, IP58 water resistance, and a solid construction, making the tablet look and feel futuristic. The bezels are a little too large, but after a week of using the device it’s easy to look past this flaw.
Internally, the Snapdragon 801 SoC is extremely powerful, making the Xperia Z2 Tablet one of the fastest ARM-based tablets available. The display used is also fantastic, fixing the issues of Sony’s past panels while producing vivid colors and great clarity thanks to its WUXGA resolution. Battery life isn’t as good as it could be, but at the same time it’s not overly terrible.
The only aspect of the Z2 Tablet’s hardware that’s subpar is the camera, which may be a Sony Exmor RS sensor, but generally produces poor results. Luckily the camera on a tablet isn’t that important, so it’s unlikely it’ll affect anyone’s purchasing decision.
But the good hardware of the Xperia Z2 Tablet is let down by poor software. Android on a 10-inch tablet just isn’t all that special, lacking when it comes to both applications and features, where iOS and Windows 8.1 succeed respectively. There’s nothing that’s especially terrible about tablet Android, but it’s still behind its competitors and there has been little improvement since the last time I used it.
The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is available for $499 in a 16 GB Wi-Fi only configuration, or $639 for the LTE option, placing it in a head-to-head battle with the iPad Air. At this price point it’s hard to recommend the Z2 Tablet over the fantastic and well-rounded iPad Air; although if you’re not keen on iOS and specifically after a high-end Android option, what Sony has produced may be the best choice for you.
Pros: Fantastically thin, light and waterproof design. Snapdragon 801 provides more than enough power. Great display caps of a generally solid hardware offering.
Cons: Android is lacklustre on 10-inch tablets compared to iOS or Windows. Camera isn’t that good. Bezels are a little too large.