Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review: Rain or shine

Rain or shine

GSMArena team, 22 October 2014.

Display

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact features an 8" Triluminos display with 1,920 x 1,200px resolution (aka WUXGA). The Triluminos tech promises a wider color gamut than conventional LCD screens, especially better reds and aqua green/emerald colors.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
The Triluminos display offers stunning colors but is a bit low on pixels

The colors are indeed impressive - the default live wallpaper cycles between different colors to show off the screen and it works, the impressive reds in particular are something to see. A white balance setting lets you tweak the screen though we would have liked a saturation slider here as well.

Viewing angles are as wide as is practically necessary, though contrast varies noticeably depending on the angle of view so shaking the plane of the screen a bit has the potential of getting you dizzy. The screen does not use an IPS panel, but when you view it head on it looks really good.

Putting the brightness slider at its top position confirms Sony's claims that this is its brightest LCD yet. For inside use we kept the slider at 80% or less as there was no need for the extra brightness. While not the brightest LCD in general, it's one of the brightest tablet screens around.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact - - - 0.45 631 1416
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet - - - 0.45 484 1076
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 0 221 0 398
Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9 0.13 126 974 0.53 502 955
Apple iPad mini 2 0.2 167 835 0.56 450 804


Outside with the sun reflecting off the screen there's definitely more use for the highest settings of the brightness slider. The glass is on the reflective side though, which hurts sunlight legibility.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Note that there's an ambient light sensor so the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact can change the brightness automatically. Also, Smart backlight control will prevent the screen from sleeping while you are looking at it.

We mentioned colors, but the other half of the image quality equation is sharpness. The 8" display has 283 pixels per inch, compared to 324ppi for a Retina-packing iPad mini and 359ppi for the Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Close to 300ppi is generally quite enough for tablet use (you hold the bigger screen further away) though it's possible to notice some imperfection in sloping curves of on-screen icons.

If your eyesight has gone the other way and it's no longer good enough to spot such tiny pixels, you can use the Font size setting to make text bigger.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Two other helpful options in the Screen settings are Glove mode (which boosts sensitivity) and the double tap to wake option (so you don't have to reach for the Power key).

Connectivity

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a rich set of connectivity features. There's a Wi-Fi only version but if you need Internet access on the go you can grab the LTE-enabled variant.

It starts off with 2G GSM connectivity goes through 42Mbps HSPA and offers Cat. 4 LTE for up to 150Mbps of download speed and up to 50Mbps for uploads. There's a variant with TD-LTE for the Chinese market. There's voice call support on the LTE version, while on the Wi-Fi only tablet you'll have to rely on VoIP solutions (Skype, Viber, you name it).

If you don't buy an LTE-enabled tablet, you can use Xperia Link to share your Xperia phone's Internet connection with the tablet via Bluetooth (instead of the more power-hungry Wi-Fi hotspot).

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Xperia Link for Internet sharing over Bluetooth

In terms of local connectivity, the Z3 Tablet Compact has dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac to lean on with DLNA and Miracast functionality. There's also Bluetooth 4.0 LE complete with the aptX audio codec. ANT+ is also available though the chances of using sports accessories with a tablet are pretty slim.

For easy pairing (part of Sony's One-touch connectivity) there is NFC - you can pair with Sony devices like smartwatches, headphones and even TV remotes.

Besides Miracast, there's MHL 3 available on the microUSB port. It can stream 2160p video at 30fps with 7.1 surround sound so if you pair the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact with a high-end TV you can have quite the viewing experience.

Sony's Smart Connect app comes pre-installed. It allows you to set your device to do a variety of things - like launch an app or set an alarm - whenever you connect an accessory like a headset or a charger. You can also set events to occur during a time interval (e.g. mute alarms at night).

As for NFC compatibility, the Smart Connect app doesn't work with ordinary NFC tags, but only Sony's Smart tags, which is kinda disappointing. However, one of our readers duly pointed out, you can purchase cheap generic NFC tags, which are programmed as SmartTags so the app can recognize them just fine.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Smart Connect

If you're experiencing connectivity issues over Wi-Fi you can use the Wi-Fi checker tool, which is similar to the tool on Windows (and like it, it probably can only confirm there's an error, the rest you have to take up with your router and Internet provider).

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review
Wi-Fi Checker tool

Battery life

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a 4,500mAh battery - not bad considering how thin it is, but the 6.6mm thick Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has a 4,900mAh battery and there have been 6" phablets with 4,000mAh batteries. Still, Sony has demonstrated great battery life from the other two Xperia Z3 devices.

The web browsing score is particularly impressive, lasting over 18 hours. The video playback time is less - about 13 and a half hours, somewhat below the official 15 hours Sony gives it. Keep in mind we test the video players until the battery hits 10% as we've had issues with players automatically quitting when the battery gets this low and we need to keep things level.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review

You can read about how we perform the battery test if you want to learn more.

Reader comments

  • copper iv

pls Gsmarena what's d total endurance rating of this device and can the tablet make call like normal phone using 2G or 3G

  • AnonD-338467

Looking forward for a new Sony Xperia Z3 10.1 Compact, or I'll purchase other brand full size tablet.

  • thoughts

Just ordered one lte white