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Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review

 Review: January 2015  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: Sony's Z3 Tablet Compact is a stunningly beautiful and powerful device. It's super-slim, super-lightweight and just generally super-everything. It's expensive for an 8 inch tablet, but it's built to last.



The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a stunningly beautiful 8 inch tablet. Like everything in Sony's Xperia Z range, it's drop-dead gorgeous to look at, and very tactile to handle. The front is made from tempered glass, the back from tough, non-slip plastic, and it has a rounded aluminium frame that makes it strong. The familiar chrome button detailing from the Xperia Z range is also here. It's a featherweight too - substantially lighter than Apple's iPad Mini 3, and slimmer as well - just 6.4mm in thickness.

It's available in Black or White and looks beautiful in either colour.

As well as being nice to look at and touch, the tablet is waterproof to a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes. To ensure this, the connection ports are sealed with waterproof covers, although the headphone jack conveniently requires no cover.

The screen measures 8 inches - a welcome improvement over entry-level 7 inch tablets - and is a very fine Opti Contrast IPS display with Sony's Triluminos colour feature. The display is bright, with good contrast levels, vivid colour reproduction and wide viewing angles, and is head and shoulders above cheaper tablets. The resolution is a very high 1920 x 1200 pixels.

There are front-mounted stereo speakers, which produce reasonably rich sound. For best results, you'll want to pair the tablet with Sony's in-ear headphones, to benefit from noise cancelling and top quality audio.

Top rank performance

The beauty of the tablet isn't just skin-deep. Despite its incredible slimness, Sony has packed a tour-de-force of tech inside to keep us entertained. The processor is the very fastest - a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5 GHz. This tablet can run the very latest games with no signs of lag.

Memory options are either 16GB or 32GB, both with an enormous 3GB of RAM. There's also a microSD memory card slot, which will accept cards up to 128GB, for massive amounts of storage.

The tablet runs the latest version of Android - 4.4.4 KitKat - with some additions from Sony. These include some very minor modifications to the user interface, additional camera options, plus some apps, including a battery saver app. The Battery Stamina Mode shuts down non-essential functions when the tablet is not in use, and can extend battery standby times substantially.

There are two cameras. The rear camera uses an 8 megapixel Exmor RS sensor with HDR capability, autofocus and 1080p video recording. The front camera is a lower-rated 2.2 megapixel camera, also using an Exmor RS sensor. Both cameras do their intended jobs very well, although they're not up to the same level as the Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone.


There are two versions of the Z3 Tablet Compact available - one with 4G LTE connectivity for accessing data on the move, and one with Wi-Fi only. We're reviewing the Wi-Fi version here.

The tablet comes with a wealth of options for connecting to other devices. In addition to dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, USB, NFC and a headphone jack, you'll find support for DLNA and MHL. There's no IR remote control, as seen in the Z2 Tablet though.

Battery life

The Z3 Compact is fitted with a reasonable 4500mAh battery. This is typical for a 7-8 inch tablet, although the iPad Mini has a larger capacity. Still, it's good for a day of heavy use - up to 12 hours - and combined with Sony's Stamina Mode, you can probably eke out a weekend if you don't use it continuously.

Conclusion - not cheap, but awesome

One look at the price (around £300 for the basic 16GB Wi-Fi only model) will tell you that this is a premium tablet. But then again, one look at the tablet itself will tell you that. It's a beautiful device - at least as nice as Apple's iPad Mini 3 - lovely to hold, superslim and featherweight. It also packs in every feature you could ask for. It's the ultimate compact Android tablet. It beats any similar tablets from Samsung and although it's expensive, it's high-spec and durable enough to last a good few years.

You want our opinion? We say, buy it!

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact features include:

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Average rating from 3 reviews:

Reviewed by Dami from Greenwich, London on 26th Jan 2016
I have to say that this is one amazing tablet and no other tablet which i have used can touch this tablet in any term. Only the Nexus 7 could touch this and even that cant perform as well as this can. The screen and speed have it all and there is nothing i can say about another tablet which will ever change the fact that this is the greatest tablet which i have ever used. The 2.5GHz Quad core, 3GB RAM, 16GB memory internally and the 1200 by 1920 pixel screen equal to the thin but powerful tablet and also i can actually say that this stands out and beats every other tablet in the market right now. Sony has it all and is at the top of their game. No one can touch the levels they set. Awesome job Sony!

Reviewed by Voja from Serbia on 12th Sep 2015
Got this tablet for two weeks, had samsung galaxy tab 3 8.0!
Great battery life, fast, very good ram memory slot for extra memory, great screen, portable, light! Had ipod mini 2 for a week , must say I was not impressed !

Reviewed by Stanley Chu from HONG KONG on 11th Jul 2015
I've bought it. I love to use it very much. Really a great product! Sound is astounding!

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