MWC 2013 – Sony Xperia Tablet Z review – hands-on

We took Sony's lovely new premium tablet and chucked it in a bowl of water. It's okay, they told us to

We got our hands on the Sony Xperia Tablet Z – and promptly plunged into a bowl of water. But don't worry, like the Sony Xperia Z, this sleek-looking slate is waterproof. But does it live up to the standards set by its smaller sibling – which is sitting pretty atop the Smartphone Top 10?

Sony Xperia Tablet Z hands-on – build and design

The Z-Tab, as we have informally decided to start calling it, is a whisker over half a centimetre thick. Even in the millimetre-shaving world of gadgetry, this is pretty impressive. It's thinner than the iPad Mini. But unlike some ultrabooks, which can feel disconcertingly knifey under the wrists, the Xperia Tablet Z has nice little rubberised bits that soften the edges. It actually feels solidly built, but it's also very light at 495g.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z hands-on – Android Jelly Bean

The Xperia Tablet Z runs Android Jelly Bean with a pleasing Sony skin, and benefits from battery-saving software. Which is just as well, because a tab this light and thin can't afford much space for battery. Sony would like you to buy your films and music from Sony, so the home screen features some nicely made apps for doing just that – but it's not pushed too hard, and you can just replace them with your own choice of media apps if you wish.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z hands-on – waterproof

Like its smaller sibling, you can use the Xperia Tablet Z in the bath, because it's water- and dust-proof. The waterproofing is probably more useful on a phone, simply because you're more likely to get your phone out in the rain – but we did get a kick out of dunking the TabZlet in a bowl of water. Sadly, Sony didn't supply us with a hot bath and a Netflix subscription, but films should look pretty nice on that screen, thanks to Sony's new Bravia 2 video processing.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z hands-on – verdict

This is definitely not an affordable Android like the Nexus 10, but that's a good thing: it's very nicely made, and effectively a larger version of our current favourite smartphone. We'll be back with a full review just as soon as our bath finishes running.

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