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Sony Xperia Z Tablet and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 compared

Sterling Keys (translation)
5

This year, Sony has released a chic, slim and water-resistant tablet in the likes of its Xperia Tablet Z. Samsung also recently released the third generation in their Tab series, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, which although is priced a league under the Sony tablet, does have its rewarding qualities. Here’s a comparison between the two tablets.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 1
© AndroidPIT

Design

The tablet Z is a gem. It is as thin as a cutting board and follows Sony’s “Omnibalance” design line. The front is uniformly black, so that the wide border around the display are barely noticeable and the back is made of a matte plastic that almost feels like a thick paper.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 4
Xperia Z tablet (top) and Galaxy Tab 3 (bottom)./ © AndroidPIT

The elegant and minimalistic design of the Samsung series follows the Tab 3. The familiar high-gloss look, the wide chrome frame, among other staples of the Galaxy S4 series are found implemented into the Tab 3. The workmanship is great for both tablets, the Galaxy Tab 3, however, is slightly thicker and heavier than the Xperia Z tablet.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 6
The narrower and lighter Xperia Z tablet follows the Omnibalance design (below) while Galaxy Tab 3 mimics the rounded Galaxy line. / © AndroidPIT

In terms of “look and feel” the Sony Tablet is exemplary and definitely something to take note of.

Display

Both tablets have a display of 10.1 inches. But the aspect ratios make a difference here. While Sony focuses on the wide-screen ratio of 16:10 for the Z tablet, the Galaxy Tab 3 uses a 2:3 format. The resolution on the Xperia Z tablet is considerably higher, which is apparent when comparing between the two. Even at a normal viewing distance, you can make our single pixels and blurring line profiles on the Galaxy Tab 3.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 7
The Galaxy Tab 3(right) leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to its resolution. / © AndroidPIT

The brightness is very similar in both tablet, although the Galaxy Tab 3 makes colors more pure and neutral than that Xperia Tablet Z, which is surprising because the Tab 3 display technology is a little dated. The viewing angle stability is good for both tablets, as colors and contrast stay relatively constant even at very oblique angles.

Hardware

Within the hardware is the biggest difference between the two tablets: the Xperia Z tablet is equipped with a Snapdragon S4 Pro with a quad-core chipset and 1.5 GHz clock speed and 2 GB of memory. That’s enough to handle even the most demanding tasks, including multi-tasking and gaming. The Galaxy Tab 3 is a little weaker on this aspect toting a 1.6 GHz clock speed and using two cores and a 1 GB of memory. In everyday use, to surf on the Internet or watch online videos, this is more than sufficient but it’s definitely not a hard hitter.

When the two were compared for browsing the Internet there was no noticeable difference between the two tablets.

Software

The Xperia Tablet Z was shipped with an older Android 4.1.2 with the Galaxy Tab 3 shipping with Android 4.2. Each tablet, of course, comes preloaded with Sony’s and Samsung’s unique ROMS.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 9
The typical Xperia look, but with a different arrangement of buttons.  / © AndroidPIT

For both tablets, the user interface is similar to their corresponding smartphone UIs. The tablet buttons on the Xperia Z tablet is a bit different and takes some getting used to if you’re switching from the Xperia Z smartphone to tablet. With the update to Android 4.2.2, the user interface is more adapted to the smartphone version, but as of now, it seems this has only been rolled out to the LTE version of the device.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 10
The all familiar interface of most Samsung devices. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung has remained much closer to the structure of its smartphones in the Galaxy line. Convenient features, such as the quick settings in the notification bar remain the same. Even the look of the user interface is similar: Samsung’s TouchWiz has a brighter, more colorful, and playful look compared to Sony’s dark colors and simple elegance.

Additional functions: Cameras and infrared

Whether you’re using your tablet to take photos is often a contentious question. The fact is, both tablets have the ability, so why not look at them? The Xperia Z tablet has a 8-megapixel camera built in but the quality of photos still leave a lot to be desired. The Galaxy Tab 3 has a 3-megapixel camera and accordingly, the photo quality isn’t that great. However, in a pinch, you’d be better pressed (surprisingly) to rely on the Galaxy Tab 3 for your photo needs.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 8
Surprisingly enough, the Galaxy Tab 3 (picture above) provides a better image with a less impressive sensor. / © AndroidPIT

Both tablets also have incorporated an infrared sensor built within. The Xperia Z tablet has an excellent interface for a remote control that can be  used as an universal remote for the entire household. The Galaxy Tab 3 tablet functionality is pretty limited compared to the Xperia Z tablet: the “Smart Remote” app can control a television and that’s about it.

galaxy tab 3 tablet z 3
The infrared sensors for both tablets.  / © AndroidPIT

Price

The price is one of the bigger differences between the two tablets we’ve compared today. For the Sony Xperia Z tablet, you’re looking at around $450 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version and $ 520 for the 32GB version. For the LTE versions, expect to be dishing out $700.

For the Samsung Tab 3, there’s a few options available depending on your region and the price ranges from $380 dollars for the 16GB Wi-Fi version to upwards of $600 for an LTE version.

Battery

The battery has always been a weak point in most of Sony’s devices and even here, it seems to be the crux again. The Xperia Z tablet has a 6000 mAh battery under the hood and during some tests we did, it lasted about four hours while playing games and video. Sony has listed that for the Wi-Fi models, the duration for video playback should be near 10 hours and that music playback should be near 110 hours.

The Galaxy Tab 3 has a 6800 mAh battery inside and in conjunction with a lower resolution display, it leads to better battery times for the device. Samsung has listed the official time for video playback being upwards of 9 hours and music playback of upwards to 140 hours.

Technical Specs

  Sony Xperia Tablet Z Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1
System Android 4.1.2, Xperia UI Android 4.2, TouchWiz UI
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-Core, 1.5 GHz Dual-Core, 1.6 GHz
Memory 2 GB 1 GB
Display 10.1-inches, 1920 x 1200 Pixel, 224 ppi 10.1-inches, 1280 x 800 Pixel, 150 ppi
Internal Storage 16/32 GB (expandable with microSD) 16/32 GB (expandable with microSD)
Camera 8.1 MP (Rear), 2 MP (Front) 3 MP (Rear), 1.3 MP (Front)
Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE optional  WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G optional
Dimensions 172 x 266 x 6,9 mm 243.1 x 176.1 x 7.95 mm
Weight 495 g 510 g (WiFi)
Battery 6000 mAh 6800 mAh

Conclusion

The Xperia Z and Galaxy Tab 3 tablets both play in different leagues and this is especially evident in the design process. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z has some gratifying features, including its unique design and water-resistant nature. When you show both tablets side by side, the Xperia Z tablet has a sharper resolution, but when at maximum brightness, the Galaxy Tab 3 shines. Furthermore, the Galaxy Tab 3 battery lasts longer and surprisingly takes better photos with a less impressive sensor.

Overall, we find that the Xperia Z tablet is much better device but is also tied in with a higher price. If you’re looking for an elegant and sophisticated tablet, the Xperia Z tablet is definitely for you. If you’re looking for something simple and a device that will get the job done, the Galaxy Tab 3 is the winner.  And worst case scenario, if you don’t like either, there is still the Nexus 10 (although still made by Samsung) which is cheaper and definitely more powerful than the Galaxy Tab 3.

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