This latest Xperia tablet has been the stuff of rumors for a few days now — a release from Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo first hinted that the so-called Tablet Z was in fact a real thing earlier this week — but the time for rumors has passed. Now Sony Mobile Japan has officially lifted the veil, and (to my utter surprise) the Tablet Z is both real and rather striking.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Android 4.1-powered Tablet Z is its 10-inch display. It runs at 1920×1200, and is bolstered by Sony’s occasionally eyeball-nuking Mobile Bravia image-enhancement engine. The internals in question are no slouch either, though chances are they won’t knock your socks completely off. Nestled snugly inside the Tablet Z’s dust-and-water resistant chassis is an unspecified 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm chipset, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and an 8-megapixel rear camera complete with backlit sensor. Throw in a (slightly anemic) 6,000mAh battery, a microSD card slot, as well as requisite radios for Wi-Fi, LTE, and NFC, and you’ve got yourself a potential contender.
Really, though, perhaps the biggest draw here is just how slim the Tablet Z is. With its 6.9mm waistline, Sony’s latest tab is just a hair thinner than the iPad mini, and makes both the Nexus 7 and its larger cousin the Nexus 10 look downright chubby by comparison. The spec sheet may not be the strongest you’ll find on the market, but there’s little question that the Tablet Z is one of the sleekest, prettiest mobile computing packages to trickle out of Sony’s Japanese headquarters in a long time — if only the company would come clean with pricing and availability.
Sony’s brief (and completely Japanese) release leaves a fair bit to the imagination, but to call the Tablet Z a breath of fresh air for a company that never really managed to crack the tablet formula in a meaningful way is an understatement. What’s really got me excited here, though, is what devices like the Tab Z mean for Sony going forward. It was only a week or two ago that Xperia product manager Stephen Sneeden noted that the company was considering bailing out of the low-end smartphone market entirely, and a similar shift in the company’s overarching strategy for tablets would only be par for the course. Whether or not Sony can really claw its way into a position alongside superstar players like Samsung and Apple remains to be seen, but with hardware like this hitting the market, it seems clear that Sony is giving it the ol’ college try.