Sony's calling it the "slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet" out there, but even with that monsoon-shrugging IP65/68 certification distinction removed, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact would be one of the most-svelte slates out there regardless.
Weighing 270g and just 6.4mm thick, the 8-inch tablet again features the angular, minimalist Omnibalance design that's come to characterise Sony's mobile line-up over the past few years. Here, paired with the size and weight of the tablet, it adds to the featherlight feel — placed flat on an open palm, it's hard to believe there's anything other than just a shell of a tablet being held.
But, taking its cues from the Xperia Z3 smartphone that leads Sony's IFA offering this year, its guts are equally impressive. A 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor powers the full HD display, with the tablet's 4,500mAh battery said to be good for a solid 13 hours of video playback.
As in the smartphone, Sony is using new battery-saving display technology in the tablet which tweaks the screen's refresh rate dependent upon your usage to eke out a few more precious minutes from a single charge. It also shares the "Contrast Enhancement" technology seen in the smartphone, boosting the contrast levels of darker areas of a screen on a pixel-by-pixel basis based on ambient lighting. This should help make the screen far more readable in direct sunlight, and (based on a slightly crude flashlight test) seems to work well.
Should you wish to break the "Thou Shall Not Take Photos With a Tablet" commandment, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has an 8MP rear sensor, which should be capable enough for a quick snap if you've nothing less cumbersome to hand. Sony's usual raft of camera applications will come pre-installed as part of its skinned Android 4.4.4 offering, with augmented reality features now including a simulated Ice Bucket challenge.
And, again like the Xperia Z3 smartphone, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will be particularly attractive to PlayStation 4 owners. Through the second-screen PlayStation App, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact can Remote Play stream PS4 games over a local Wi-Fi network, just the same as how the feature works on Sony's PS Vita handheld. You'll need a DualShock 4 controller handy for it to work (and Sony will also be pushing a suction-cup wielding controller/tablet cradle too), but it'll give you 8-inches of screen to play WatchDogs on the toilet with.
Sony's keeping quiet on the pricing for now, but states that the slate will be in stores by the Autumn.
The decision to release the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact of course suggests that a full-sized version of the slate may be on the way soon too, a standard (say, 10-inch) Xperia Z3 Tablet...period. Sony's not prepared to share one way or the other what other sizes may be in the pipeline. But a gut feeling here suggests that, should you want a larger Xperia Z3-generation tablet from Sony, one may not be that far away.