Sony Xperia Z2 tablet vs Apple iPad Air: Spec comparison

Sony has made some serious waves at this year's mobile world conference with its release of the Xperia Z2 tablet and smartphone. While its smartphone equivalent has met with a positive reception, what really impressed the pundits (including our own James Laird) was the Xperia Z2 tablet.

Some commentators are even calling Sony's new tablet a serious competitor to Apple's recent iPad Air. But how does the Xperia Z2 compare to Apple's machine?

Let's break down the spec differences and take a look.

Display

What really impressed ITProPortal's journalists was the display of the Xperia Z2. It's longer and thinner chassis allows Sony to fit in a stunning 10.1in display with a crisp resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. This just so turns out to be exactly the amount of pixels-per-inch as Apple's iPad Air - something we think might not have been so much of a coincidence. Our testers found the screen nice and bright in the flesh, featuring sharp text and well-defined colours.

CPU, GPU and RAM

The processor under the slim hood of the Xperia Z2 packs an impressive punch, too - the sharp-shooting Snapdragon 801 and a whopping 3GB of RAM make the Xperia Z2 a pretty smooth operator, and have prompted Sony to brag that the Z2 is "the world's most powerful tablet". Compared to the iPad Air, you should certainly see better performance from the Xperia on the more heavyweight apps, although the 64-bit architecture of the iPad Air could make up for the discrepancy in some instances.

The Xperia Z2 also whoops the iPad Air when it comes to clock speed, scoring a stunning 2.3GHz compared to Apple's 1.4GHz. Impressive stuff!

Size and weight

This is where the Sony Xperia Z2 really shines. We were frankly stunned by the lightweight design of Sony's new tablet offering. At 6.4mm, the Xperia Z2 is a whole 3mm slimmer than the iPad Air, and actually 2mm slimmer than any smartphone out there. That's frankly amazing.

The Xperia has also out-Aired the iPad Air, coming in at an astonishing 43g lighter than Apple's lightest tablet ever. When we picked up the Z2, the feel of it is actually pretty surreal.

The tablet is a little more rectangular than the iPad Air, making a neat oblong.

Battery

Both Sony and Apple claim that their lightweight tablets pack 10 hours of video viewing time. That means that the Xperia Z2 is eking a little more juice out of its 6,000mAh battery than Apple can get from its 8,827mAh. That could just be the secret of the missing 43g.

Cameras

The Xperia Z2 has also solidly outdone the iPad Air when it comes to the cameras on both front and rear, as well as its ability to shoot high-definition video.

The numbers speak for themselves: the Xperia's 8.1-megapixel camera against the iPad Air's 5-megapixel; the front camera of Sony's tablet at 2.2-megapixel compared to Apple's 1.2-megapixels.

Ports and sensors

The big difference here is that Sony lets you upgrade your own device with up to 64GB of expandable microSD, whereas Apple asks you to buy larger models of its iPad Air. Since the Xperia is fully waterproofed, all of its ports come with airtight coverings, which will also be helpful in protecting against dust and sand.

Network connectivity

Both the iPad Air and the Xperia Z2 come with Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE cellular connectivity. Not much between them here, except for a couple of extra Wi-Fi bands available on the Xperia Z2.

Price

The price is perhaps the real clincher here. An Xperia Z2 with LTE connectivity and 32GB of storage will set you back £499, and if you throw in the price of a 64GB microSD, you'll probably be looking at £540 or so. Compare that to the 128GB iPad Air, which will set you back a hefty £739.

Mind made up yet?

Conclusion

For my money, the Xperia is currently the best value tablet in the world right now. It beats the iPad Air at everything that makes the Air great. The only people who will continue to choose the iPad Air over the Xperia Z2 are those who prefer iOS 7 over the Android-Sony hybrid going on in the Xperia Z2. While it may not be the slickest UI, that isn't quite enough to tip the balance for us, and we're weighing in favour of the Xperia Z2.

A serious competitor to the iPad Air? We think it's a little more than that.

More from MWC 2014

For all the latest news, photos and analysis from MWC 2014, check out our live coverage of the event.

If you're curious about how Samsung's new release, the Samsung Galaxy S5 fares against Sony's new arrival, the Xperia Z2 smartphone, check out our Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2 spec comparison.

We've also got a full spec comparisons pitting the Galaxy S5 against Apple's flagship iPhone 5S, as well as its superseded predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Google's Nexus 5.

Xperia Z2 iPad Air

Display

Screen size 10.1in 9.7in
Resolution 1,920 x 1,200 pixels 2,048 x 1,536 pixels
Pixel density 264 ppi 264 ppi
Type IPS LCD IPS LCD

Processor and battery

Family Snapdragon 801 Apple A7
CPU Krait 400
Cores Quad-core Dual-core
Clock speed 2.3GHz 1.4GHz
GPU Adreno 320
Battery 6,000mAh 8,827mAh
Battery time 10 hours 10 hours

Storage and memory

RAM 3GB 1GB
Internal storage 16GB / 32GB 16GB / 32GB / 64GB / 128GB
microSD Up to 64GB No

Camera

Rear 8.1-megapixel 5-megapixel
Video 1080p 720p
Front 2.2-megapixel 1.2-megapixel

Wireless

Standard Wi-Fi only / 4G LTE Wi-Fi only / 4G LTE
Wi-Fi WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n
NFC Yes No
Bluetooth v. 4.0 v. 4.0
Integrated wireless charging Yes (with accessories) No

Dimensions

Size 266 x 172 x 6.4mm 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm
Weight 426g 469g
Operating System Customised Android 4.4 KitKat iOS 7
Price (SIM-free)

£399 (16GB WiFi only)

£449 (32GB WiFi only)

£499 (LTE)

£399 (16GB)

£479 (32GB)

£559 (64GB)

£639 (128GB)

(+£100 for 4G LTE)

Availability March 2014 October 2013