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Sony's 8-inch tablet is perfect for movies in the bath

This latest effort from Sony, unveiled at IFA, is an 8-inch tablet that lets you play PS4 games in the bath.

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Andrew Lanxon
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Andrew Lanxon

Lead Editor, CNET Advice, Europe; Lead Photographer, Europe

Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.

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Sony has a whole raft of new devices to excite you, sitting under the Xperia Z3 series banner. There's the flagship 5.2-inch Z3 smartphone, the 4.6-inch Z3 Compact and now the 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact. An 8-inch device is a first for Sony and will come as a welcome addition if you loved the sleek, waterproof 10-inch Xperia Z2 Tablet, but want something a little more portable for your commute.

The Z3 Tablet Compact, mouthful of a name aside, has a razor-thin design like its bigger brother and is also completely waterproof. Its display has a full HD resolution, it runs the latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat software, it has a 2.5GHz quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact shows off its waterproof body (pictures)

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There's no word yet on exactly how much the tablet will cost -- or where in the world it's going to be released -- but we should hear more over the coming weeks, as it's due to go on sale in October.

Design

The Z3 Tablet Compact isn't a bad looking piece of kit at all. Its crisp white design is neat and very skinny, making it lightweight and easy to hold. The back panel is a matte, rubberised affair, rather than the glass back of the Z3 phones. It's similar to the Z2 Tablet, but its smaller size makes it comfortable to hold in one hand and it's possible even to squeeze it into an inside jacket pocket.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning it's quite a bit longer than it is wide. By comparison, the iPad Mini has a 4:3 ratio, making it a little more square. Sony's size makes it a little better for watching movies in landscape orientation, as you won't see those awful black bars.

Like the rest of the Z3 range -- and indeed the Z2 Tablet -- the Z3 tablet is completely waterproof. It won't conk out if you accidentally spill your drink over it, and you can even watch Netflix shows while bathing in the tub without the fear of dropping it in the water.

The 8-inch display is full HD (1,920x1,080 pixels) which, although high, is less than you'd find on both the iPad Mini's Retina display or on the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Although in my hands-on time the screen seemed perfectly crisp -- not to mention extremely bright and bold -- it would be better placed to do battle against the other tablet big boys if Sony had chucked in a few more pixels.

Features

The latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat runs the show, over which Sony has pasted the same user interface you'll find on most of its phones. It's simple enough to use and has some handy tweaks like a menu next to the app tray that lets you reorganise the apps with a tap.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

A cool feature on all the Z3 range is the ability to use the tablet as a display for your PlayStation 4. Your console still does the processing of the games of course, but it can stream the content to your tablet -- hooked up to a PS4 controller over Bluetooth -- letting you play the games on your tablet's screen. The idea is that you can carry on playing your game even when your partner demands the TV. Of course it also means that you can play PS4 games on the toilet. It's the holy grail of gaming.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Inside is a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, which should be more than enough power for any task you're likely to throw at it -- it certainly seemed very capable in my hands-on time. The 8-megapixel camera on the back is a big step down from the 20.7-megapixel camera you'll find on the Z3 phones, but having a phenomenal camera on a tablet is much less important.

Outlook

On paper, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact may not have the sky-high screen resolution to compete with the iPad Mini, Galaxy Tab S, or the rest of this year's best tablets, but it keeps pace in most other ways. Its processor should make most tasks a breeze; it's attractive, portable and, most importantly, waterproof. The PS4 second screen feature, too, should come as an exciting addition for gamers.