Apple’s new tablet, the iPad Air, has hit the market with a bang, improving on the iPad 4 with a slimmer, lighter and more powerful device.
Over in Android land Sony has also released a pretty compelling tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z. It’s also slim, light and powerful. Read on to find out which is the best.
Apple iPad Air vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z – Build quality
The Apple iPad Air ( above ) is incredibly stylish. It has an aluminium back which gives it a high class look and feel, while at just 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm it’s very thin and at 469g it’s a lot lighter than its predecessor too. The end result is a premium device that will be comfortable to hold and carry for long periods.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z fares similarly well here overall. The back is made of polycarbonate, which feels solid enough but won’t raise any eyelids. However at 266 x 172 x 6.9mm it’s actually even slimmer than the iPad Air and at 495g it’s only slightly heavier, plus it’s water and dust resistant.
There’s no denying that the Apple iPad Air looks slightly better, but the Sony Xperia Tablet Z is a little more rugged.
Apple iPad Air vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z - Display
The Apple iPad Air has a 9.7 inch 1536 x 2048 LED IPS display with a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch. It is, in other words, very high resolution. It’s also fantastic quality in other ways, with great, natural images.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z ( above ) has a 10.1 inch 1200 x 1920 LED LCD display with a pixel density of 224 pixels per inch. So it’s not quite as high resolution as the iPad Air’s screen, but it’s still very good and it’s slightly bigger. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z also uses Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, which improves contrast and sharpness. Both screens are sublime, so it really comes down to whether you’d rather have slightly higher resolution as on the Apple iPad Air, or a slightly bigger display like the Sony Xperia Tablet Z has.
Apple iPad Air vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z - Power
The Apple iPad Air has a 1.3 GHz dual-core 64 bit Apple A7 processor and 1GB of RAM. The 64 bit A7 processor is tremendously powerful, despite only being 1.3 GHz and should make for a substantial upgrade over the already pretty slick iPad 4.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z has a 1.5 GHz quad-core 32 bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM, which makes it a very powerful device, but as it’s stuck with a 32 bit chip we’re inclined to give the iPad Air the edge.
Apple iPad Air vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z - Camera
The Apple iPad Air has a 5 megapixel main camera and a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera. It can also shoot 1080p video at 30fps.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z has an 8.1 megapixel main camera and a secondary 2.2 megapixel camera on the front. As with the iPad Air it can shoot 1080p video at 30fps.
Neither tablet’s camera is particularly mind blowing but we’d be inclined to say that the camera on the Sony Xperia Tablet Z is the better of the two, thanks largely to its higher megapixel count.
Apple iPad Air vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z – Battery life, memory and connectivity
Apple hasn’t revealed the size of the battery in the iPad Air, but it has rated it for up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi, or the same amount of time for watching videos or listening to music.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z meanwhile has a 6000 mAh battery capable of standby time of up to 1270 hours, multimedia time of up to 10 hours or music playback time of up to 110 hours. So it sounds like it’s similar for video but possibly better than the iPad Air for other activities.
The iPad Air has a choice of 16, 32, 64 or 128GB of storage, but it doesn’t have a micro SD card slot, while the Sony Xperia Tablet Z has just 16GB of built in storage but it can be further expanded by micro SD card slot. Overall that leaves the iPad Air in a better position storage wise, but only if you’re prepared to shell out a small fortune for a high capacity model.
The iPad Air supports Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE and Bluetooth 4.0, while the Sony Xperia Tablet Z supports all of that as well as NFC and infrared.
Apple iPad Air vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z – Conclusion
Beyond the fact that one runs Android and the other runs iOS, these two tablets are pretty well matched and so they should be since they represent the pinnacle of tablet devices.
However there are some areas where one fares better than the other. The Apple iPad Air looks better, has a higher resolution display, is slightly more powerful and has the potential for more storage. On the other hand the Sony Xperia Tablet Z is more durably built, has a larger screen, a slightly better camera and more connectivity options.
If we had to choose a winner we’d go for the Apple iPad Air as its pro points just seem ever so slightly more compelling and with a starting price of £399 you can get it for around the same outlay as a Sony Xperia Tablet Z.
But ultimately both of these are fantastic devices and if you’re already leaning more towards an Android device than an iOS one then the iPad Air doesn’t do enough extra that it should sway you.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z, while not quite a match for the iPad Air, is finally the tablet that Android needs if it wants to be taken seriously in the 10 inch tablet market.
- Useful reading : Sony Xperia Tablet Z Review
- Useful reading : iPad Air Almost Doubles iPad 4 Performance In Benchmarks
By Kevin Thomas on 04th November, 2013