A new wave of Android tablets are on the horizon, offering super-high-res screens and more processing oomph than you can shake a Google-powered stick at.
We’ll be testing two of them – the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and the Samsung Galaxy TabPro 10.1 – very soon, but before we do so, here’s how they stack up against each in pure spec terms.
Both the Sony and the Samsung are built around a 10.1in screen, but the Galaxy TabPro 10.1 lands an early blow with a resolution of 2560×1600 to the Xperia Z2 Tablet’s 1920×1080. That gives the Samsung a pixel density of 299ppi, whereas the Sony lags behind with a ppi of 224. Or, to put it another way, the Samsung squeezes in 77.7% more pixels than its rival.
Of course there’s more to a screen than just pixels alone, and the Xperia Z2 Tablet aims to make up for its slight resolution deficit with a raft of display-enhancing tricks: you get ‘Live Colour LED’ for (supposedly) rich colours, IPS tech for improved viewing angles, ‘Triluminos’ for better lighting and ‘X-Reality’ for sharper images. Frankly, it should also win an award for stupidly named technologies.
In our hands-on time with it we were fairly impressed by it though, so while the Galaxy TabPro 10.1 is the clear winner on the numbers alone, we’ll have to reserve judgement on the real-world performance until we’ve tried them both side-by-side.
Sony: 10.1in, 1920×1200 pixels (224ppi)
Samsung: 10.1in, 2560×1600 pixels (299ppi)
Winner: Undeclared for now
This is an interesting one. The Sony and Samsung tablets each have a very desireable processor but they’re quite different in their approaches. The Xperia Z2 Tablet is driven by a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor running at a rate of 2.3GHz, assisted by Adreno 330 graphics hardware. The Galaxy TabP 10.1 uses an Exynos 5 Octa processor, which is made up of two quad-core sections, one running at 1.9GHz and the other at 1.3GHz.
To simplify that, the Sony has fewer cores but higher processing speeds. Higher processing speeds would be evident in situations where the device was working mainly on a single, intensive job, such as photo editing, or some hardcore music or video processing. However, the Samsung’s additional cores should see improved performance where a number of tasks are being carried out simultaneously (perhaps when there are various apps and widgets open at the same time). Different cores can pick up different tasks and deal with them independently without creating bottlenecks with other jobs in hand – something that will come in very useful for the TabPro’s ‘Magazine UX’ interface (see below).
There are other factors that will affect the overall performance of the two tablets, one of which is the operating system and the tweaks that have been made it by Sony and Samsung for their own tablets. This isn’t a category we can call on numbers alone, so for the time being we’ll have to sit on the fence and give you an update as soon as we can run full back-to-back tests.
Sony 2.3 GHz Qualcomm 801 quad-core with Adreno 330 graphics
Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (1.9GHz quad-core + 1.3 GHz quad-core)
Winner: Undeclared for now
This would appear to be almost a dead heat but as we know, there’s more to a camera than its megapixel rating. The Sony adds 0.1 to the megapixel count of the Samsung’s rear camera, both of which are capable of shooting 1080p video. However unfashionable that might be, it’s a real asset when you need it.
Around the front there’s a 2.2MP snapper on the Sony and a 2MP camera on the Samsung. Exactly how bloated and spotty these make you look during video calls remains to be seen, so for now we’ll call this one a tentative draw with an update to follow once we’ve tested them both for real.
Sony 8.1MP (rear), 2.2MP (front)
Samsung 8MP (rear), 2MP (front)
OS, APPS AND INTERFACE
Yes, they’re both running Android 4.4 KitKat, but in use the Sony and Samsung are likely to be rather different. For a start, the Xperia Z2 Tablet is waterproof, so you’ll be able to immerse yourself in console-style 3D gaming or a good ebook as you immerse yourself in a deep bath. The Sony also hooks up neatly with a wireless PlayStation controller for hardcore gaming potential.
The TabPro 10.1 doesn’t take well to the wet stuff, but it comes with Samsung’s own OS mods and apps, including an interesting ‘Magazine UX’ which carves up the home screen into a number of windows and widgets. You’ll also be able to take advantage of features such as split-screen multi-tasking.
However, the TabPro lacks the stylus that you get with Samsung’s Note phablets and tablets, which is a shame as far as we’re concerned. Overall, we’re going to give this round to the Sony by a wafer-thin margain.
Winner: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Each of these tablets has a lot going for it. The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet throbs with the power of the latest Snapdragon 801 processor, and won’t miss a step if you take it in the shower with you. Er, not that there’s any reason for you to do so.
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro 10.1, meanwhile, has a pin-sharp 299ppi screen and multi-tasking-friendly octa-core innards.
All in all, it’s one of the closest weigh-ins we’ve ever presided over. And that’s why we’ll be reviewing them both in the near future.