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Sep 23, 2014

Small Tablets Battle: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs. iPad Mini with Retina Display

IFA 2014 came and went but sadly the event proved to be quite disappointing in terms of tablets, with focus going on smartwatches and smartphones instead.

Anyway, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is the exception to the rule. This little, cute slate is portable, slim and comes with a special feat that you will see nowhere else. But how will this newcomer fare against Apple’s reputed iPad mini with Retina Display? Let’s find out in what follows, since we’re going to take the two slates and compare them.

Design, display and build

The 8-inch Xperia Z3 is one of the thinnest tablets on the market today, coming in at only 6.4mm / 0.25 inches and weighing just 270 g / 0.59 lbs. This makes the tablet extremely portable and easy to grip using only one hand. By contrast, the iPad mini with Retina display is a little thicker and heavier, boasting 7.5mm / 0.29 inches in profile and breaking the scale at 331 g / 0.72 lbs. Unlike the Apple tablet, the Xperia Z3 is waterproof (and dust-proof) so users can watch a movie or read a book while having a bath or relaxing at the pool. The Sony slate boasts a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels (like its larger brother the Xperia Tablet Z2) with 283 ppi.

On top of that, the screen takes advantage of Triluminous technology with Live color LED, which is the company’s own TV tech, so users can expect the colors to appear nicely displayed. The iPad mini with Retina display offers a little more in terms of resolution, meaning 2048 x 1536 pixels with outstanding 328ppi. So the Apple tablet wins in this department.

Specs and special feats

The Sony mini tablet relies on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz (which is a tad better than the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet) that works in concert with 3GB of RAM. In contrast, the iPad mini takes advantage of an Apple’s own A7 dual-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz fitted with only 1GB of RAM. By the looks of it, the Sony mini should be faster, but a bunch of benchmarks should be performed for this verdict to be official. Sony offers the 16GB of internal storage option (upgradable to 128GB via microSD). On the other hand, the iPad mini is a little more versatile, offering customers the chance to get 16-, 32-, 64- and 128GB models (they are not expandable, what you see is what you get).

Keeping things running on the Xperia Z3 is a 4500 mAh battery and Sony says it should last up to 15 hours of run time. The Apple one relies on a 6470mAh powerhouse that brings about 10 hours of existence. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact takes advantage of 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. The iPad mini offers the same, with the exception of the latest Wi-Fi standard. In the photo department, the Compact tablet has an impressive 8.1MP snapper in front, while a 2.2MP one resides on the back. As for the Apple mini, it comes with a 5MP shooter in front and a 1.2MP one in the rear.

But what really sets the Xperia Z3 tablet apart is the fact that it offers PlayStation support, which means users can use their TV to pair the tablet with their console and play games on the tab via the DualShock 4 controller


Sony’s mini tablet runs the latest version of Android, namely build 4.4.4 so if you purchase it, you’ll be off the hook with upgrades, at least for the time being. On the other hand, the iPad mini with Retina display can be updated to iOS 8. The debate between Android and iOS has been going on forever, and in the end it all boils down to personal preferences.

How about pricing?
The US availability of the Sony tablet hasn’t been announced yet, but judging by what we saw in Europe, it should be around $329 / €256, while the iPad mini with Retina display pricing starts at $399 / €310.

ConclusionThe Sony tablet is thinner, lighter and has a better camera plus the PlayStation function, but the iPad mini with retina display has a more appealing screen. So you better think about what you intend to use the tablet for before you go out and purchase one of these models.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Ultra takes on the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display


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