Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Review: Beauty, Brains and a Beach Body

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It’s an oft-repeated maxim of gadget design that the overall experience should be so engaging that the device itself should “disappear.” Sony appears to have taken that advice literally with the Xperia Z2 tablet — probably the lightest and thinnest full-size tablet you can buy.

When I picked up the Xperia Z2 (which goes on sale May 4 for $499.99 for 16GB and $599.99 for 32GB), I had almost the same reaction as when I first held the Google Nexus 5 smartphone: The battery must be removed. I simply couldn’t comprehend how I could be holding a fully functional mobile device that weighs significantly less than its peers.

Even the iPad Air — the reigning champ in terms of lightweight tablet design — is a muffin top compared to the Xperia Z2. The iPad Air is exactly 1 pound (1.05 pounds for the LTE model) while the Xperia Z2 is 15.5 ounces. Thicknesses are 0.29 inch and 0.24 inch — neither’s quite “air,” but there’s a clear winner, and it’s Sony.

However, the Xperia does have a bigger footprint. Not only does it have a 10.1-inch display (the iPad’s is 9.7 inches), but the bezel is thick by today’s standards — perhaps Sony needed the extra space to stuff the components that would normally be behind the display.

In look and feel, the Z2 mirrors the aesthetic that all of Sony’s mobile phones and tablets have brandished since the original Xperia Z — rigidly rectangular with jewel-like edges, colored black with hints of silver on the sides. My favorite ornament of the design is the round, silver on/off switch, which is both beautiful and consistent across all Sony devices, including TVs, speakers and laptops.

Liquid asset

Did I mention it’s waterproof? I almost don’t need to, considering Sony has grabbed and held onto waterproofing its gadgets as a differentiator for almost two years. The Z2 carries on the tradition, but with the improved IP58 spec that it shares with the Xperia Z1S smartphone.

In real-world terms, that means the tablet will survive immersion in up to 5 feet of fresh water for up to 30 minutes, so you can take your tablet into the tub, the shower or the next raging rainstorm and be confident it will endure.

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