We've previously stacked two of our top 10 tablets, the Apple iPad Air and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) against each other in a showdown, but how does Sony's new contender measure up? We've crunched the numbers and sifted through the specs to find out.
Build: Slimline slates
Let’s talk vital stats. At 6.4mm thin, the svelte Xperia Z2 Tablet makes both the 7.9mm Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) and even the 7.5mm iPad Air look like chunky monkeys. Argue all you want about volume versus dimensions; the Xperia Z2 Tablet also wins the weightwatchers war at just 439g while the 478g iPad Air and 547g Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) prove to be heavyweights - in a bad way.
All three tablets are gorgeous in their own right, with their slimmed down bezels, clean lines, and glass-slabbed fronts. But close-up, the differences between them immediately become apparent, and what looks good from afar might not always translate to the best experience in hand. The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) immediately loses favour with its plastic and faux-leather clothing combination. Surprisingly, the Note's plastic build does nothing for its weight, even when compared to the iPad and the Xperia's metal-and-glass builds.
READ MORE: Apple iPad Air reviewThe iPad Air looks gorgeous, with its premium looks and smooth curves. But the equally classy-looking Xperia Z2 Tablet has one more killer skill - IP58 water and dust resistance, making it that bit more practical than its rivals.
Winner: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Display: packing in the pixels
The Xperia Z2 Tablet's 1920 x 1200 Triluminos Display with IPS technology looks impressive on paper. But our brief hands-on time with the device means that a full test of its skills will have to wait until we have an extended session with a review unit under more varied lighting conditions.
As for the other two, the 9.7in iPad Air packs 2048x1536 resolution and racks up an admirable 264ppi, but it's outdone by the 10.1in Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)’s 2560x1600 resolution and its resulting 299ppi.
But that’s just a numbers game. Unless you have eyes powerful enough to pick out pixels, it’s the overall experience that counts. Anyone who’s been treated to a view of the iPad Air will be hard-pressed to find fault with its Retina display, and the Note's multiple screen modes, while versatile, don't match up to the all-round experience of the iPad's screen.
Winner: undeclared for now
Camera: In your sights
While we rightly shun anyone who whips out their tablet to take a photo at a concert, we understand that your slate's snapper might come in handy on the rare occasion. Both the Xperia Z2 Tablet and the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) sport 8MP rear cameras while the iPad Air stumbles with just a 5MP shooter.
When it comes to tablets, it’s the front-facing cameras that matter for all those Skype sessions you’re planning. Once again, the iPad Air falls short with its 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera against both the Android tablets’ 2MP cameras, while the Xperia Z2 Tablet bests the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) with a fractionally more impressive 2.2MP offering.
Winner: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet