Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 vs iPad Air Specs Comparison

Posted by B. Johnson
Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 vs iPad Air Specs Comparison
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When Sony debuted Sony Xperia Z to the market, it sadly gained some mixed reviews here and there around the tech sites, mostly negative ones.

The prominent aspect of this tablet that received so many bad reviews was mostly its display.

(Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 vs iPad Air Specs Comparison)

Many said that the display of this tablet looked really washed out, the viewing angle was really bad and it was not on par with other flagship rivals on the market back then.

Not to mention, most people were also really disappointed with its sound quality, probably due to its IP57 certification (water and dust resistance).

Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 vs Apple iPad Air benchmarks and gaming performance

However, Sony then answered those negative reviews with the successor of that tablet - Sony Xperia Z2.

And impressively, this Japanese-based manufacturer really addressed some of the issues and flaws with the display on predecessor.

So as a result, the screen of Sony Xperia Z2 is so much even better than before.

The colors look popping out, the viewing angle is great and the display looks more vibrant and crisp. And more impressively, this tablet has a much improved IP58 certification (but we’ll talk more on this later).

Sony Xperia Z2 is definitely the answer of Sony for the challenge shot by Apple with its iPad.

I’m not saying that Apple straightly challenges Sony tablets with its iPad – why would it need to, Apple is already popular than Sony on smartphone and tablet market.

However, i think it’s still pretty rare to find a device that could really compete with iPad Air in the entire aspect – especially on the design department.

And this is what Sony manages to bring to the table with its Sony Xperia Z2. Not only is this device powerful in specs and display, but it also has that “premium” feel just like the iPad Air.

That’s why today, i really want to make another comparison review between this Sony Xperia Z2 and iPad Air (i’ll probably compare Sony Xperia Z3 vs iPad Air 2 next time in my next comparison review).

I believe there is a lot to explore between these 2 tablets – especially in terms of gaming experience as a whole (including gaming performance as well).

Well, if you are also interested as I am to learn more about every aspect of these 2 tablets, including their gaming experience, then here you go, my comparison review between Sony Xperia Z2 vs iPad Air.


Sony - with its Xperia series tablets - has been trying for years to separate itself from the competition, even from the first-ever-generation Sony Xperia Tablet S.

And one of many efforts to do that is for example, by making its tablets look unique in design and has their own characteristic compared to many rivals out there on the market, including the iPad.

And Sony still continues that tradition even on its latest-gen Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (actually, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is the latest-generation tablet from this company).

And impressively, even with its own unique design, Sony Xperia Z2 still looks really great and elegant, plus premium, even as premium as the iPad Air.

However, design is not the only thing that sets this device apart from the competition.

Sony Xperia Z2 also comes with IP58 certification, which is the improvement of previous IP57 certification on Sony Xperia Z, but focused mostly on improving the water resistance of this tablet.

Samsung may also have the similar IP67 on its latest-gen flagship devices (like Samsung GALAXY S5, etc), however, Sony is definitely the pioneer around the tablet market.

This also goes the same with iPad Air. Despite not having any water and dust resistance certification, everyone knows that iPad Air is probably the best all-around tablet on the market today.

It may not have the super-sharp 2.5K display or great amazing stylus just like on Samsung’s flagship tablets, however, in the whole aspect, iPad Air is probably still better than most of flagship devices out there right now, especially in terms of design.

Besides superior on the sector of design, iPad Air also has many things to brag in front of rivals – including Sony Xperia Z2 -, like its smooth performance, strong battery life, huge game/app catalog well-optimized specifically for iPad Air, sharp-taking cameras, great display, amazing gaming experience and many more.

But the questions still remain, with all the strengths found on both devices,

which one between Sony Xperia Z2 and iPad Air that is a much better gaming tablet, especially in performance?

Which one between these 2 tablets that deserves to take the crown here as the best tablet in the whole aspect?

Is any of these slates worth to buy, especially as a gaming device?

I will answer each of these questions at the end of this review, so be sure to stick around.


Similar just like Apple, one thing that has always been really impressive from Sony – especially as a smartphone and tablet manufacturer – is, this company always puts design as its top priority when making devices.

And more amazingly is, this company never tries to copy or duplicate other competing rivals that are currently leading the market – for example like Samsung or Xiaomi that tried to ‘copy’ Apple in order to gain popularity and sales, or LG that took “inspirations” from Samsung devices for the same reason.
Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2
iPad Air
iPad Air

But that’s a total exception with Sony. This company has a really strong principal when making its devices that always look different and have their own identity compared to anything else on the market.

And this Japanese-based manufacturer still continues that honor tradition on its latest-gen Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

Not only does this tablet look unique and have its own characteristic, but it’s also really premium with its sharp cutting-edge design.

The front side looks really elegant as it blends perfectly with the black display plus dark-themed UI.

The corners of this tablet are not fully rounded, making it look really premium compared to other counterparts out there.

It goes the same Apple iPad Air. Similar just like the predecessor, on iPad Air, Apple doesn’t do a lot of changes on its entire design simply because it doesn’t need to, the previous-gen iPad already looks really elegant and premium, even compared to other Android flagship tablets out there.

However, there is one part that Apple tweaks on the design of iPad Air.

It’s actually the thing that Apple has always been trying to improve over and over again on every generation of iPad. And that is the thickness of this device.

Now iPad Air is much thinner than the previous-gen iPad, making it really light in weight.

And that means, even with a large 9.7-inch footprint, iPad Air still feels really comfortable to hold, even with one hand.

However, given that this device is now adopting the 4:3 aspect ratio of its sibling – iPad mini -, now iPad Air is much wider horizontally and probably not ideal as one-handed device.

Between Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air, i think both devices look really elegant and premium.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet may not use the same aluminum material just like the iPad Air, however, the design approach of Sony on this device really manages to make this tablet still look premium even in high-end market.

Meanwhile, iPad Air undoubtedly looks solid and premium especially with its aluminum material all over the place.

I think it’s still really hard to find the equal contenders for these 2 devices when it comes to design department.

I know Google Nexus 9 – manufactured by HTC – looks really premium.

However, given its mediocre rear cover – which is prone to catch finger prints or human grease -, this really holds back this Google’s tablet from being a premium device, although its hardware is no doubt more powerful tablet than iPad Air 2.

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Sony Xperia Z2iPad Air
4G LTE (Micro-SIM)
Released March 2014
10.1 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, 1200 x 1920 pixels, (~224 ppi pixel density). 16M colors
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801 Chipset
Adreno 330 GPU
Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat
microSD of Memory Card slot for up to 64 GB
16 GB of Internal storage
8.1 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus
2.2 MP front-facing camera
3D surround sound enhancement
ANT+ supportch
*IP58 certified: dust proof and water resistant over 1 meter and 30 minutes
*Triluminos display
*X-Reality Engine
*Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass Protection
Non-removable Li-Po 6000 mAh battery
Talk time (multimedia): for up to 13 hours
Music play: for up to 188 hours
    Released November 2013
    9.7 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
    1536 x 2048 pixels (~264 ppi pixel density) 16M colors
    iOS 7 (upgradable to iOS 8)
    Apple A7 Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone ARM v8-based Chipset
    1 GB RAM DDR3
    PowerVR G6430 quad-core GPU
    No micro card slot
    16/32/64/128 GB Internal storage
    5 MP
    1.2 MP, 720p@30fps
    Wi-Fi 802.11
    Bluetooth v4.0
    No Radio
    USB v2.0
    Safari Browser (HTML5)
    No Java
    Non-removable Li-Po 8600 mAh battery (32.4 Wh)
    Up to 10 hours (multimedia) for Talk time

    Both Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air are the latest-generation of Sony and Apple’s devices respectively (of course with Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet and iPad Air 2 being the newest one this year).

    And they're also the flagship tablets from these 2 companies. So there’s no doubt that Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air are really well prepared in terms of hardware specs.

    Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is actually a huge departure from its predecessor when it comes to specs, - Sony Xperia Z Tablet.

    It may still use the same full HD 1080p resolution on its 10.1-inch display, but other parts of this device get revamped by Sony – from its Snapdragon 801 processor, Adreno 330 GPU, 3GB of RAM, IP58 certification (water and dust resistance), much improved display with Sony X-Reality Engine, Android 4.4.2 KitKat and some other more.

    However, the rest of its specs still remain the same like predecessor – from its 8MP rear-facing camera, 2.2MP front-facing camera, microSD card slot for up to 64GB, 6000mAh battery and many more. So Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet can be considered as the ‘perfect’ version of Sony Xperia Z Tablet, especially on the display department (but we’ll get more on that later.

    The same thing happens on iPad Air.

    Even though it still inherits some of the internals found on the previous-gen iPad, this iPad Air is now more powerful in performance but amazingly still efficient in battery life, despite using thinner design (again, we’ll get more on this later).

    There are some new goodies found inside this device – like a 64-bit Apple A7 processor, PowerVR G6430 GPU, 1GB of RAM, iOS 7 out of the box, bigger battery and more improved 5MP iSight camera.

    There are also some new productivity-related apps that Apple releases for the new iPads, including iPad mini 2 of course.

    Between Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air, again i have to say these 2 devices are really great equally.

    Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet may not have the same sharper Retina Display of iPad Air (1200x1920 pixels VS 1536x2048 pixels), or iPad Air may not have the same huge 3GB of RAM just like Sony’s tablet, however, they both are still equally great with their own spec sheet.


    The previous-gen Sony Xperia Z Tablet has been hugely criticized by many tech reviewers and sites across the net and YouTube for its mediocre quality display, which weirdly also happened to Sony Xperia Z smartphone.

    Many said that the display of Sony Xperia Z Tablet looked really washed out and the viewing angle of this tablet is really bad.

    Not to mention, the sound quality of this tablet is really mediocre.

    And this cannot be accepted especially because Sony put a really sky high price tags on its Sony Xperia Z lineup – the smartphone and tablet (if i’m not mistaken, both cost around $900 in their first debuts).

    The good news is, Sony really listens to what people’s complains and manages to address some of the flaws found on those devices.

    So as a result, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet – along with Xperia Z2 smartphone – now has a more improved display, better viewing angle and sound quality, plus its water and dust resistance is now much improved further with IP58 certification (which puts focus mostly on its water protection, 30 minutes in the depth of 1 meter).

    Meanwhile, Apple with its iPads has always been really superior when it comes to display. And Apple always tries to improve this sector on some generations of iPads (not every release though).

    Its so called “Retina Display” has been the trademark of this company’s devices.

    But the term “Retina Display” actually is not tied to a specific screen resolution. And this is why the screen of iPhone – which has lower-resolution than iPad -, is still called as “Retina Display”.

    However, given that iPad uses a way larger 9.7-inch screen as opposed to the 4-inch display of iPhone, then the term of “Retina Display” requires at least higher than full HD 1080p resolution.

    And this is what exactly happens on iPad Air.

    This tablet is sporting 1536x2048 pixel resolution on its 9.7-inch display (which is higher than full HD 1200x1920 pixel display).

    Between iPad Air and Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, there’s no doubt that iPad Air is a clear winner here, in terms of sharpness.

    And more impressively is, the 9.7-inch screen of iPad Air is smaller than the 10.1-inch display of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, but it has much higher resolution than Sony’s tablet.

    But even so, thanks to the huge improvements made by Sony on the screen of this tablet, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is still really superior on the screen department.

    User Interface

    The UIs of both Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air can be considered as Mars and Venus. They totally run on entirely different paths.

    Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is much heavier with its full-featured UI, not to mention, some advanced visual presentations all over the software.

    Meanwhile, the iOS 7 of iPad Air is still prominent with its simple-to-use straight-forward UI. However, both UIs of these tablets are still great equally.

    In my opinion, i think Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has a slightly better UI than iPad Air simply because it comes with many useful features that cannot be found on Apple’s device – like multi-window mode, much improved homescreen, etc.

    But at the end of the day, this will come down to user preference.

    So if they love the simple-to-use UI of Apple devices, then iPad Air is still a great choice.

    The same applies to Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. If you’re a big fan of Android UI and its features, then Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet can also be a great choice for you.

    In fact, i'm actually one of the huge fans of Sony Xperia dark-themed UI. It's just better than any UI of other Android tablets out there.

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    The gaming performance of both Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air is actually on par one to another. I mean, these 2 tablets are more than adequate to handle even the latest graphics intense games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5 or GTA San Andreas in buttery smooth performance, even in full highest graphics. And that’s thanks to their high-grade processors and GPUs.

    iPad Air is powered by Apple’s A7 SoC (system-on-chip) that is made with 64-bit architecture, coupled with PowerVR G6430 GPU and 1GB of RAM.

    Meanwhile, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is packing Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 801 processor, accompanied with Adreno 330 GPU and a huge 3GB of RAM. So as a result, both devices are extremely powerful in performance and both have an equal smooth experience when operating the UI.

    So basically, for doing any basic daily tasks – like watching HD movies, browsing the web, editing documents, multitasking many apps at once or even playing games -, these 2 devices are more than happier to execute all of these tasks with no lag whatsoever.

    And that’s the thing that should be expected on flagship devices like Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air.

    However, when it comes to gaming experience as a whole, the iPad Air is definitely more superior compared to Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. And that’s because this Apple’s device has all the elements that make it an ideal machine for gaming.

    First of all, it has a powerful gaming performance. And then, it also has much bigger game catalog well-optimized specifically for this iPad Air.

    Not to mention, thanks to the Metal API that is supported now on the iOS 8 (which has arrived on this iPad Air), now game developers have much bigger workspace to improve their games without any limitation anymore.

    So thanks to this Metal API, these game developers will have much easier way to access and maximize ‘every inch’ potential of graphical capability on A7/A8 chipset to the limit, in order to better their games significantly, in terms of graphics and visual effects.

    And this means, the next-gen games for iPad Air will have more detailed graphics and more advanced visual effects (as seen on Modern Combat 5 that has been updated with Metal API) that probably cannot be found on other platforms, including Android.

    But that’s not the only thing that makes iPad Air superior in terms of gaming experience.

    According to Marques Brownlee (a famous tech reviewer on YouTube), the battery life of iPad Air is extremely strong. It’s just really strong, even in heavy use.

    And it manages to survive in more than 1 day, again, in heavy use. And this is really impressive because with this long lasting battery life, iPad Air can be an ideal device for gaming in many hours.

    However, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is actually not too shabby at all on the battery department. According to GSMarena, this tablet has a promised of 1200 hours for stand-by mode, 13 hours for talk time (multimedia) and a staggering 188 hours for music play.

    Weirdly, this Sony’s tablet is powered by 6000mAh battery, as opposed to the bigger 8220mAh battery inside the iPad Air. And Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet uses a much larger 10.1-inch display, compared to the smaller 9.7-inch screen on iPad.

    I believe this has something to do with the screen technology and improvements made by Sony on this device. Even with that full HD resolution, this tablet is still really efficient with the use of battery life.

    But even so, when it comes to gaming experience as a while, iPad Air is still slightly more prominent than Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet simply because it has all the elements of a great gaming tablet – like sharper display, light-in-weight convenient-to-hold design, huge support from game developers, Metal API, stronger battery life and a much bigger well-optimized game catalog on App Store specifically for iPad Air.


    Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet comes with an 8.1MP camera on its back and 2.2MP camera on the front. This is actually not very different with the predecessor.

    However, as as next-gen successor device, no doubt that the cameras of this Sony’s tablet definitely brings many improvements here and there on the camera module and software of course.

    And given that Sony has been the camera supplier of many its rivals’ tablets – from Apple, Samsung, etc -, then the cameras found on Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is definitely up ahead than its rivals, especially in terms of sharpness and overall quality.

    Meanwhile, iPad has been known as the tablet with great camera. And it’s no different with this iPad Air.

    With a much improved 5MP iSight camera on this tablet, taking photos and recording videos on iPad Air are definitely a pleasing experience especially because the quality is guaranteed great and sharp, even if you’re not an expert in photography (of course, the quality will be far better if you’re an expert!).

    So if you happen to love taking photos, then you’re in great hands with this iPad Air. It takes great shots and the photos/videos are even worth showing off to the HDTV in your house.

    Battery Life

    As mentioned above, iPad Air with its huge 8220mAh battery just cannot be killed even in heavy use – like for playing games or watching HD movies in longer session. And this according to Marques Brownlee – a famous tech reviewer on YouTube.

    And more impressively – still according to MKBHD -, this device is capable to survive in 2 days even in heavy use.

    This of course is really impressive, especially when knowing that iPad Air is sporting a super-high-resolution screen (higher than full HD display by the way).

    Meanwhile, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet also really excels on this sector.

    Thanks to its pretty huge 6000mAh battery – according to GSMarena -, this device has a promised 1200 hours for stand-by, 13 hours for talk time and even 188 hours for music play.

    I believe this has something to do with the screen technology embedded by Sony on this device, which is really efficient with the use of battery life. So you can totally expect to see this tablet last all day long, especially in moderate use.

    My Personal Opinions

    So in conclusion, i think it’s pretty hard to determine which one between Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air that is a better tablet in the whole aspect.

    Both devices have their own pros and cons. For example, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet may not have the same high-resolution “Retina Display” or premium aluminum material on iPad Air.

    However, iPad Air doesn’t have microSD card slot, which Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet has it.

    Not to mention, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is able to swim inside the water for 30 minutes (thanks to its IP58 certification), while iPad Air – on the other hand - is really 'afraid of water'.

    It goes the same with other parts of these devices. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses one to another.

    However, if pitted side-by-side in terms of gaming experience (including gaming performance), i’ve got to go with iPad Air here simply because – as i mentioned above -, this Apple’s tablet has all the elements that make it an ideal machine for playing games – like longer battery life, sharper display, Metal API, huge support from game/app developers, thinner and light-in-weight design (which will be comfortable to hold for gaming in hours) and of course, powerful processor and GPU.

    But even so, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is still a great gaming tablet as well.

    And that’s thanks to its powerful hardware specs that are more than happier to execute any graphically demanding games in smooth performance and full highest graphics.

    Not to mention, its solid build quality and premium design that feels really comfortable to hold especially for longer gaming session.

    So bottom line, both Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and iPad Air are great equally.

    They are great for watching HD movies, reading books/magazines, browsing the web, editing documents, taking photos/recording videos, listening to music or even playing games.

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