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Slate Showdown: iPad Air vs. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

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Slate Showdown: iPad Air vs. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Can Sony’s latest Xperia tablet compete with the current iteration of Apple’s bestseller?

As pretty much every gadget enthusiast knows, Apple has dominated the tablet market for the past several years. Nevertheless, Android slates have grown better with each passing year, and prospective customers now actually have a choice to make. The tablet market is no longer one-sided, and with great slates such as the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet closing in, picking one platform over the other can be quite a difficult task.

Needless to say, we’re here to discuss and compare two of the most promising and iconic tablets in the world: the iPad Air and the Xperia Z2 Tablet. Can Sony steal the crown from Apple with its latest device? Does the Z2 Tablet have what it takes to compete with the iPad Air? There’s only one way to find out, so join us below for details.

Hardware Specifications

The iPad Air is the first tablet to take advantage of a processor with 64-bit architecture. The ARM v8-based Cyclone A7 SoC features two cores clocked at 1.3 GHz and is accompanied by an M7 motion co-processor and a PowerVR G6430 graphics chip. The slate features 1 GB of RAM and 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 GB of storage.

On the other side of the fence, the Xperia Z2 Tablet packs a quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU clocked at 2.3 GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. Storage-wise, the Sony slate is offered only with 16 or 32 GB on-board, but there is a microSD card slot that can read cards of up to 64 GB.

As for what keeps the lights on, the iPad Air is equipped with a Li-Po 8,820 mAh battery which delivers roughly 10 hours of video playback. The Z2 Tablet on the other hand, features a slightly smaller Li-Po 6,000 mAh unit, but Sony promises that the slate should offer up to 100 hours of music playback, or 10 hours of video playback.

Display Comparison

One of the many reasons why Apple’s smartphones and tablets are popular is the high quality of their screens. The iPad in general boasted a high pixel density and resolution, great viewing angles and top notch color accuracy. As expected, the iPad Air doesn’t fall short, and delivers a beautiful Retina display that measures 9.7 inches, packing a resolution of 2048 x 1536 and a pixel density of 264 ppi.

With the help of features such as Live Color LED – which makes colors appear more vibrant –  the Xperia Z2 Tablet offers a great experience as well, but on-paper, the slate falls a bit short when compared with Apple’s finest. The Tablet packs a 10.1-inch panel which retains the previous model’s resolution of 1920 x 1200. This results in a lower pixel density of 224 ppi.


One of the most iconic features offered by Apple products is great design language and premium build quality. This has been a big problem with the Android market, especially on the tablet side. While there still are plenty of  cheaply built Android tablets and smartphones out there, this is not the case with the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

The device in question looks great thanks to the Omnibalance design language, and it manages to stand out from the crowd due to its slick lines and thin profile. This year, Sony has also opted for a plastic back panel instead of a glass one, and the Z2 retains the same waterproof capabilities as most devices from the Xperia line-up. The Z2 Tablet measures only 6.4 mm in thickness, and weighs only 439 grams.

In contrast, the iPad Air (Wi-Fi Only) is 7.5 mm thick and weighs 469 grams. Apple’s finest also lacks waterproof capabilities, but the device looks great nonetheless. The choice of materials is premium as usual, and since the Air borrows the same design formula as the one introduced on the iPad Mini, it’s also quite a looker.

Camera and Connectivity Features

It’s been said before, and we’re certain that we’re not the only ones sharing this opinion, but a tablet’s camera isn’t the biggest selling point, or a deal breaker. Nevertheless, a tablet’s camera is anything but unimportant, so we should still take a look at what these two tablets have to offer in this department.

Starting off with the iPad Air, the tablet features a 5 MP main camera with 1080p video recording capabilities and a 1.2 MP Facetime HD front-facing sensor with 720p video. The tablet’s main camera is decent enough to get the job done, but it’s really nothing out of the ordinary.

In contrast, Sony put a stronger emphasis on the Xperia Z2 Tablet’s camera setup, as the slate features an 8 MP main camera complemented by a 2.2 MP front-facing shooter. The main camera also takes advantage of an Exmor RS sensor and Superior Auto Mode, resulting in higher quality pictures when shooting in low-light conditions.

Both the iPad Air and the Z2 Tablet offer various sharing features and the option to mirror content on a TV screen. As expected, the iPad Air doesn’t take advantage of NFC, but comes with AirPlay instead. Sony made things a bit easier with the addition of NFC, as it allows the user to connect the tablet with compatible TVs or speakers by simply touching the slate with compatible devices.

Software and Final Words

When it comes to software, there really are no mysteries. Simply put, the iPad Air runs on iOS 7.1, while the Xperia Z2 Tablet takes advantage of Google’s latest OS: Android 4.4 KitKat. In the Z2 Tablet’s case, the Android 4.4 OS is mostly covered by Sony’s proprietary user interface, while for the Apple device, iOS 7 has in store several interesting features. This includes the addition of the iWork and iLife bundles out of the box.

In the end, whether you prefer Apple’s ecosystem or Google’s Play Store remains for you to decide. Regardless, Sony has done a pretty good job at making Android tablets look good and attractive. It might seem safer to go with the iPad Air as it has quite the pedigree, but the Xperia Z2 Tablet might offer what you’re looking for as well. Point is, the possibility is worth exploring, especially given the fact that both tablets sit in the same price-range.

So which one of these tablets would you buy? Is the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet appealing enough to turn down the iPad Air? Or do you think it takes more than whatever Sony has to offer, in order to steal the crown from Apple? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Vlad Andrici is editor for and writes about technology issues. Follow Vlad on Google Plus.