Sony Xperia Tablet Z review: Stepping up

Stepping up

GSMArena team, 29 May 2013.

Average 8MP camera

The Sony Xperia Tablet Z packs an 8MP main camera that can capture photos with a maximum resolution of 3248 x 2432 and a 2.2MP front-facing camera.

Sony put on a custom camera interface similar to that of the Xperia Z phone. One thing we don't like about it is how controls are placed on the left and right column - that may be okay on a phone, but on a 10.1" screen it is a pain to use.

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z
The camera interface could have been better

As for the features, you get standard options like switching between the front and back camera, digital zoom, geo-tagging, exposure compensation and white balance. There's also a sweep panorama mode. Other things you can adjust are white balance, ISO, metering and exposure compensation.

Autofocus can be set to touch focus, single or multi autofocus, face detection (with optional smile shutter) and object tracking, which keeps the focus on the subject even if it moves. You can pick between several scene presets and color effects.

If you're not familiar with these technical terms, you can just enable Superior Auto, which automatically recognizes the type of shot you're doing and picks the best settings. It displays its guess so you can make sure it is correct. Superior Auto supports anything from landscape photos to pics of newborns.

There's also an HDR mode and a Burst shot mode. Both Superior Auto and HDR reduce the maximum resolution to 7MP, while Burst shots go only as high as 5.4MP (or lower, depending on the burst speed).

Photos can be auto-uploaded to PlayMemories with settings to do it only over Wi-Fi and only while charging.

The image quality of the 8MP camera is not the best, but it's close to the Xperia SP camera. There's heavy noise reduction, which kills a lot of the fine detail and there's still noise left over in the images. Colors are not very accurate and depending on the scene, Superior Auto can produce oversaturated colors.

Also note that Superior Auto sometimes (but not always) reduces the maximum resolution to 7MP.

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z camera samples - Superior Auto

Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Sony Xperia Tablet Z camera samples - Normal mode

Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Superior Auto Normal HDR

Still, considering this is a tablet, the camera is probably too good than most people would need, so we won't hold the less than perfect image quality against the Tablet Z.

There's an HDR mode, too (which always reduces the max resolution down to 7MP). Its effect is subtle and brings out some more detail in the highlights.

Image quality comparison

The 8MP camera of the Sony Xperia Tablet Z gets into the fray in our Photo Quality Compare tool, which is mostly populated by phones rather than tablets.

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Sony Xperia Tablet Z in our Photo Compare Tool

1080p video camera

The both cameras on the Xperia Tablet Z can record FullHD videos.

The interface is identical to that of the still camera and you have access to most of the same features- touch focus is gone (but tracking autofocus is still available), scenes and geo-tagging, and manual image settings.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z Sony Xperia Tablet Z
The camcorder UI is the same

The videos are stored in MP4 files with around 17Mbps bitrate for the 1080p clips (almost the same bitrate as the one that Xperia phones use). Audio is stereo at 48kHz and 128Kbps.

Quality is not stellar but pretty good overall. There's enough fine detail and no visible noise or other image artifacts. Colors are once again not accurate and the contrast is low. On the up side, the camera hits a solid 30fps framerate.

You can also grab this untouched video sample - 1080p@30fps (7s, 16.2MB).

Video quality comparison

The Sony Xperia Tablet Z can shoot 1080p videos, putting it on par with the best that mobile phone cameras has to offer.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
Sony Xperia Tablet Z in our Video Compare tool

Reader comments

  • vikram karthik

Very good product sony product

  • Lionsauvaga

Hi, someone can help me by telling me if the apps can be transfer to SD? Because I am hesitating by getting the 32Gb or the 16Gb LTE, but I am not sure if 16Gb will be enough. I would surely go for the 16Gb/LTE if some of the apps can be transfer to ...

  • AnonD-209109

this tablet was the one for me, but the lack of a stylus support (even in just hardware, not software) was a deal breaker as the functionality is too useful to be ignored in a new tablet, i could go for a samsung note 10.1, but i will to see sony's n...