Sony took the wraps off its stunning flagship, the Xperia Z3, along with the 8-inch Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact at last year's IFA tech show. One thing was missing however: a replacement to its top-end 10-inch Z2 Tablet.
That gap has been well and truly plugged, however, with the launch of the Xperia Z4 Tablet, a 10-inch slate with an octa-core processor and 2K screen stuffed inside a waterproof tablet that's so skinny it looks almost dangerous.
Up close with Sony's impossibly skinny, waterproof Xperia Z4 Tablet (pictures)See all photos
There's no word on exactly how much the Z4 tab will cost yet, but you can bet it won't come cheap. Sony says it'll go on sale globally in "spring," so expect to hear more about pricing and local availability in the next couple of months.
The Z4 Tablet doesn't look a whole load different from its predecessor, the Z2 Tablet. It has a 10-inch display, with no physical buttons on the front and a plain matte-plastic back, with the typical minimalist Sony branding.
At only 6.1mm thick (approximately 0.25-inch), the Z4 Tablet really is ludicrously skinny. Through whatever devilry it has at its disposal, Sony has actually managed to make the slate feel fairly sturdy in my hands -- it doesn't flex too easily just by bending it. How it fares when it's accidentally sat on by a robust bottom remains to be seen. It also weighs only 392g (just less than 14 ounces), which Sony claims is the world's lightest 10-inch tablet.
Like much of Sony's Xperia range, the Z4 tab is completely waterproof. It'll not only shrug off accidentally spilled drinks, but you can also read ebooks or browse the Web in the bath, safe in the knowledge that it'll survive being dropped in the soapy water. Even better, Sony has performed some tricks on the USB charging port, meaning it no longer has to be covered by an awkward flap in order to keep the water out.
The tablet's 10-inch display has a hearty 2,560x1,600-pixel resolution, which in my hands on time, made icons and small text look satisfyingly crisp. Sony also boasts that it's the brightest 2K display available right now. I couldn't really verify this as I was looking at the tablet in a fairly dim room, where even the most dull displays will shine like a star going supernova. I'm certainly looking forward to putting it side-by-side against its rivals.
Inside the tablet is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 -- one of the latest generation of chips, that has eight processing cores, along with 3GB of RAM. That should at least make it powerful enough to fly through your social networking and Netflix watching without any trouble at all. How it handles high-definition gaming remains to be seen.
It will arrive running the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop software, over which Sony has slapped its own skin. The tablet also features a 13-megapixel camera on the back, along with a 5-megapixel camera on the front for video calling or taking amazing selfies. With a bright, high-resolution screen and an octa-core processor to power, the battery will have a pretty hard time of things. Sony actually reckons you can get two days of use, which is an impressive claim. Naturally though, your own times will vary on how demanding you are.
As an optional accessory, Sony has made a Bluetooth keyboard, into which the tablet can slot. It has a trackpad too, allowing you to use the two together just as you would a laptop. If you're after a tablet for work use, this keyboard accessory may be an excellent purchase, although Sony hasn't said exactly how much it will cost.
With its razor-thin design, waterproof body, sharp screen and potentially potent processor, the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet has a hell of a lot going for it. How it really stacks up against the iPad Air and other 10-inch rivals will depend on how big a price tag Sony sticks on it, and of course how its battery copes.