Editor’s Note: Please check out our recent series comparing the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One: Part 1 and Part 2.
The iPad has dominated the tablet market for many years. Many would argue that Android products in the past never seemed to offer a viable alternative. Honeycomb was sluggish and the app selection seemed lacking. Nevertheless, the situation has definitely changed as Android tablets are beginning to come of age. Improvements have been made both to the hardware and software-side, and although the Android platform still doesn’t offer the same app support for tablets as iOS does, the gap has certainly narrowed.
With the above said, those who are looking to buy a new tablet in the near future have plenty of choices at their disposal. Today, we’ll focus on two main contenders: the Apple iPad with Retina display (aka iPad 4) and the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, which will be released next month.
iPad 4 vs. Sony Xperia Tablet Z – Specs
First off, the iPad with Retina packs a 9.7 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD display featuring a resolution of 1536 x 2048 and a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch, a dual-core Apple A6X processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, a PowerVR SGX554MP4 graphics chip and 1 GB of RAM. The slate is offered with 16/32/64/128 GB of internal storage, a 5 MP rear-facing camera, a secondary 1.2 MP front-facing sensor, a 11,560 mAh battery and iOS 6 (upgradeable to version iOS 6.1.3).
On the other side, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z packs a 10.1 inch LED-backlit LCD display with a resolution of 1200 x 1920 and 224 ppi, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064) quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz, an Adreno 320 GPU, 2 GB of RAM, 16/32 GB of storage and a microSD card slot that gives the user the possibility to expand the storage by up to an additional 64 GB. The Xperia Tablet Z also boasts an 8.1 MP camera on the back complemented by a 2.2 MP front-facing shooter, a 6,000 mAh battery and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, alongside the promise that version 4.2 will arrive sometime in the future.
iPad 4 vs. Sony Xperia Tablet Z – Software and Ecosystem
In terms of software, it seems both tablets deliver a mixed bag of features. On one side we have the Tablet Z with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, while on the other side there’s the oh so familiar iOS platform.
Both of these operating systems function well, but the approach each uses is rather different. Where Jelly Bean delivers tons of customization options -from widgets to the ability to install new launchers (such as Facebook Home)- iOS is rather stuck in its ways. It doesn’t offer nearly as much eye-candy as the Android platform and there are very few customization options (no widgets, no live wallpapers and the list goes on). Nevertheless, this simplicity makes the OS much lighter and friendlier to newcomers.
But, a friendly learning curve is not necessarily iOS’ strongest point against the competition. After all, you don’t need a diploma in engineering in order to figure out the Android user interface. However, where iOS comes out on top, again, is its ecosystem.
The Apple store is an enormous database of apps, and there are far more applications that have been optimized for tablets on iOS than on Android and its Google Play Store.
iPad 4 vs Sony Xperia Tablet Z – Design
Up until recently, Apple held the crown when it came to the build quality of its products. In recent months, however, the Android platform has caught up both on the smartphone and tablet market segments.
Although the iPad delivers a slick design and high quality materials, the Tablet Z is definitely not a dud. Sony’s tablet has been built with high quality materials, it’s both dust and waterproof and it’s one of the lightest and thinnest tablets ever created. The Tablet Z measures 6.9 mm (0.27 inch) in thickness and weighs 495 grams (1.09 lb). In contrast, the iPad with Retina measure 9.4 mm (0.37 inch) in thickness and weighs 652 grams (1.44 lb).
Sony Xperia Tablet Z Release Date
In the end, it’s up to you to decide which one of these two devices best fits your needs. One thing to keep in mind though, is that the Tablet Z is not yet available for purchase. Sony has previously announced that the gadget will go on sale sometime near the end of May, with certain regions receiving it even later.
Are you planning on buying a new tablet? If so, which one of these two gadgets would you choose? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Vlad Andrici is editor for gforgames.com and writes about technology issues.