Sony Xperia Z vs Sony Xperia S Specs Comparison

Written by B Johnson January 22, 2015
Sony Xperia Z vs Sony Xperia S Specs Comparison
Hi guys, welcome back!

Earlier, i’ve just showed you my tablet comparison review between Sony Xperia Z2 and Sony Xperia Z Tablet.

According to what i’ve seen on these 2 devices in that review, i’ve got to say that Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet can be considered as the ‘perfect’ version of Sony Xperia Z Tablet in the whole aspect.

(Sony Xperia Z vs Sony Xperia S Specs Comparison)

The biggest improvement made by Sony on the successor model is definitely on the screen department. In fact, this is the sector that Sony really puts its priority the most on the second-gen model.

Now the screen of Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet looks really vibrant, the colors look popping out and realistic with better saturation, the viewing angle is great (far better than predecessor) and pretty much it’s just a huge departure from the display of Sony Xperia Z tablet – which looks really washed out with bad viewing angle, plus mediocre sound quality.

Sony Xperia Z vs Sony Xperia S benchmarks and gaming performance

Today, i want to keep the momentum going – especially about these Sony Xperia tablets – by giving you more of my tablet comparison review.

However, the models that i’m really interested to put in this battle here are actually the predecessor tablets from Sony - Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia S Tablet.

I know that these models are way too old to discuss especially given that they both are old-gen devices and you’ll probably have a hard time to find any of these devices lying around the tablet store right now.

But i think the comparison review between these 2 devices could be pretty interesting to see because they both are powered by 2 entirely different processors from 2 different chip manufacturers – Qualcomm and NVIDIA.

So there should be some significant difference between these 2 tablets especially on their gaming performance and of course, gaming experience as a whole.

The other thing that i also want to focus in this comparison review is their designs, simply because they run in 2 entirely different design approaches from the manufacturer, the one with rear shoulder on top, while the other one is really flat when it comes to design.

Well, if you’re also interested to know more about my exploration (my exploration, really?) of these 2 tablets, especially my take on their gaming performance, then here you go, my comparison review between Sony Xperia Z vs Sony Xperia S Tablet.


On the first-gen Sony Xperia S Tablet, i think Sony did a great job especially with the design of this device.

I totally still remembered of how this tablet had that unique thick shoulder on its back, which looked attractive and in fact, had its own characteristic than most of other regular Android tablets on the market back then.

Sony Xperia Tablet S also looks really premium and in fact, on par with iPad when it comes to design and build quality.

And this was really impressive because in 2012, it’s still quite rare to find tablets that exactly match iPad in terms of design.

Besides its impressive design, this device also has Tegra 3 processor handling all of its performance sector, which means, it’s going to be fast, smooth and of course, powerful for playing even the most graphics intense games back in the days of 2012.

So long story short, for a 2012-released tablet, i think what Sony Xperia Tablet S has to offer to users can be considered as really good.

Last year, Sony made a comeback to tablet market by bringing the next-generation of its Xperia tablet.

It’s called Sony Xperia Tablet Z and actually, it is the tablet version of Sony’s flagship smartphone - Sony Xperia Z.

Unfortunately, despite being the first flagship tablet released early in 2012, this Sony Xperia Z Tablet gained some significant and consistent review around the tech world.

Many tech reviewers and tech sites were really disappointed mostly on its display, which had bad viewing angle and the colors often look washed out.

Weirdly, the same thing happened also on the smartphone model - Sony Xperia Z -, with the same exact issues.

Even so, as a flagship tablet, Sony Xperia Z Tablet still deserves the recognition around the tablet market especially for its fast performance and of course, its IP57 certification – which allows this device to swim inside the water and protect its internals from any dust.

But the questions remain, with all of the strengths and weaknesses found on both tablets,

which one between Sony Xperia Z Tablet and Sony Xperia S Tablet that deserves to take the crown as the best gaming tablet in this review?

which one that is a much better tablet in the whole aspect?

Is it worth it to upgrade to Sony Xperia Z Tablet especially if you currently own Sony Xperia S Tablet?

At the end of this review, you'll find out more about the answers of these questions. So be sure to keep reading!


One of the things that always impresses me a lot with Sony Xperia tablets is definitely their designs. And these Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia S Tablets are no different.

The previous-gen Sony Xperia S Tablet is not made out of aluminum just like iPad, but impressively, its overall design and build quality, not to mention, its unique shoulder on its back, really elevate the entire design of this device and make it an up to par with even the iPad.

Meanwhile, Sony Xperia Z Tablet still continues that tradition very well. Using the same sharp-looking cutting-edge design approach of its predecessor, Sony Xperia Z Tablet looks really elegant and premium as a flagship device.

Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia S
Sony Xperia S

The front side of this tablet really blends perfectly with the black screen and dark-themed UI that comes pre-installed in default.

The corners of this device are not fully rounded, however, making it look really solid and even stand out than most of rivals out there, including Samsung old-gen tablets that are really prominent with their chubby rectangular design approach.

Between Sony Xperia Z and its predecessor - Sony Xperia S Tablet. I think both devices look really great in design and feel really premium in high-class tablet market.

I’m actually always impressed with the design of all Sony Xperia tablets, even the flippable Sony Xperia Tablet P.

But i hope this company keeps striving for excellence on its future Xperia tablets for the next years to come – for example, like making a much thinner tablet or much lighter in weight, similar just like Apple with its iPad.

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z LTESony Tablet S
Released May 2013
IP57 certified - dust proof and water resistant
10.1 inch LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen 1200 x 1920 pixels (~224 ppi pixel density) 16M colors
Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2
Quad-core 1.5 GHz KraitQualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 Chipset
Adreno 320 GPU
microSD card slot for up to 64 GB
16 GB Internal storage
8.1 MP rear-facing camera
2.2 MP front-camera (1080p@30fps video recording)
Android OS planned upgrade to KitKat
Stereo FM radio with RDS
Java MIDP emulator
Non-removable Li-Po 6000 mAh battery
Released September 2012
IPX-4 certified - splash proof
570 g (Weight )
9.4 inch LED-backlit LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~161 ppi pixel density) 16M colors
Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine
Chipset Nvidia Tegra 3
CPU Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A9
SD Memory Card slot , up to 32 GB
16/32/64 GB Internal storage
8 MP rear-facing camera, 3264x2448 pixels
1 MP front-facing camera 720p video
Android OS 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, upgradable to 4.1 Jelly Bean
No Radio
Java MIDP emulator
Non-removable Li-Ion 6000 mAh battery
Up to 12 hours for Talk time (multimedia)

From the first time Sony entered to the tablet market, this company already showed its intention very clearly, which was to make high-end tablets.

And that’s shown on 2 generations of its Xperia devices - Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia S Tablets.

As 2 flagship tablets in 2 different year, of course, the spec sheet of these 2 tablets are considered as high-grade quality specs in each time frame.

Sony Xperia S looked superior for a 2012-released tablet, while Sony Xperia Z tablet also deserved to sit alongside iPad and other flagship members on tablet market.

Sony Xperia S Tablet comes with a 9.4-inch display sporting an HD resolution (1280x800 pixels), a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 12-core of GeForce ULP GPU, 1GB of RAM, 8MP rear-facing camera, 1MP front-facing camera, microSD card slot for up to 32Gb, a pretty huge 6000mAh battery and some other more.

Not to mention, there is iPX-4 certification embedded on this device, which prevents the splash of water to enter the internals inside this device, but it's not water proof device though.

Meanwhile, as the next-gen model, it’s no-brainer to guess that Sony Xperia Z Tablet brings some huge improvements over the predecessor.

It’s now packing a much sharper 1080p (1200x1920 pixels) resolution on a larger 10.1-inch screen, a more powerful Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, Adreno 320 GPU, 8.1MP rear-facing camera, 2.2MP front-facing camera, microSD card for up to 64GB, newer Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and still the pretty huge 6000mAh battery.


When it comes to sharpness of display, there’s no doubt that Sony Xperia Z Tablet is the clear winner here against its predecessor because – on paper-, it has a lot more pixels than the previous-gen Sony Xperia S Tablet – 1920x1200 pixels VS 1280x800 pixels.

And that’s true because the display of Sony Xperia Z is certainly much sharper than Sony Xperia S Tablet.

However, in the real world quality, the screen of Sony Xperia Z Tablet apparently is not as perfect as it seems on its spec sheet.

According to many tech reviewers on YouTube and some famous tech sites, the display of Sony Xperia Z Tablet appears to be mediocre in the whole quality.

It may have the sharpness, but the overall quality of its screen is just not to par with the price that Sony is asking for this device (if i’m not mistaken, this tablet along with the smartphone were priced insanely high, just like Apple premium devices).

Many reviewers were really disappointed with the viewing angle of this device – which is not that good -, not to mention, the colors on its display also look washed out.

And all of these issues just cannot be tolerated especially given that Sony Xperia Z Tablet had sky high price tag when it firstly launched to the market.

Meanwhile, the predecessor – despite having lower-resolution screen -, this tablet managed to gain some positive review on its HD 720p display, although not on the same level with the display of Sony Xperia Z Tablet (especially on the sharpness).

So between these 2 tablets, i think both devices are really good on screen department.

However, as for Sony Xperia Z Tablet, the mediocre quality of its display just cannot be accepted especially because its price was really high when it made its debut to the market.

User Interface

Sony has always made its own customized UI for all of its Xperia devices – either smartphones or tablets. And it still continues doing that on Sony Xperia Z Tablet and Sony Xperia S Tablet.

Just like the rest of Xperia devices, both of these tablets still inherit the same dark-themed looking UI with some Sony’s fully-customized icons and live wallpaper here and there all over the software.

So if you’re a big fan of Sony’s customized Android UI – including me actually (in fact, i still love using Sony Xperia live wallpaper on my non-Xperia smartphone. lol) -, then you will feel at home when using these 2 devices.

Besides having that dark-looking theme all over the place, there are also some additions of useful features that Sony has provided on these 2 devices – like multiwindow mode, that interesting widget for your photo collection, etc.

On the previous-gen Sony Xperia S Tablet, there’s also this specific pre-loaded PS emulator app that allows you to play your favorite old-school PS game (like Crash Bandicoot) with some on-screen virtual buttons of PlayStation.

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As the manufacturer that makes Sony PlayStation for gaming console market, there’s no doubt that Sony will also put focus a lot on the gaming experience – especially gaming performance – of both of these tablets.

And it’s not really surprising given that Sony used to also try to bring its PlayStaton experience on smartphone market through its PlayStation phone – Sony Xperia Play -, which sadly didn’t have much to say around the market.

So besides great for watching HD movies, reading books/magazines, browsing the web, listening to music, editing documents, checking out photos, taking pictures or recording videos, both Sony Xperia Tablet Z and Sony Xperia Tablet S can also be amazing devices for playing games.

And that’s mostly thanks to their processors – Tegra 3 on Sony Xperia Tablet S and Snapdragon 600 processor on Sony Xperia Tablet Z -, that are more than happier to execute any games in buttery smooth performance and of course, in full highest graphics.

First of all, let me start the gaming performance of Sony Xperia Tablet S.

As mentioned above, this tablet is powered by NVIDIA’s latest and greatest processor in 2012 – Tegra 3 quad-core processor -, which comes packed with 12-core GeForce ULP GPU, coupled with 1GB of RAM.

So basically, with this type of specs, this device is more than adequate to handle even the latest graphics intense games like Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, ShadowGun DeadZone, Dead Trigger, Need for Speed Most Wanted or Real Racing 3 in smooth performance and in full graphics.

However, for much heavier games like GTA San Andreas, Asphalt 8: Airborne or Modern Combat 5, i’m not really sure if these games will perform as smoothly when played in full highest graphics.

That’s mostly because this Sony Xperia Tablet S – despite using a powerful Tegra 3 processor -, uses a lot of memory/RAM for all of its pre-installed apps and tasks, not to mention many advanced visual presentations all over the place.

And i know that heavy 3D games sometimes really require a much bigger space in memory in order to be able to deploy all the graphic resource, plus visual effects and not to mention, sound effects inside the gameplay.

But this is not so shocking for me simply because Sony Xperia Tablet S is an old-gen device.

So its hardware specs are not prepared for the future next-gen games like GTA San Andreas or Modern Combat 5, which both use some heavy and detailed graphics, plus visual effects in the gameplay.

The story is very different with Sony Xperia Tablet Z. As a device that’s launched in early 2013, no doubt that Sony Xperia Tablet Z is really well-prepared on the sector of performance – especially for handling the latest graphically demanding games in 2013.

This is why Sony decides to cram Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 processor along with Adreno 320 GPU inside this device, as well as bigger 2GB of RAM, in order to provide much bigger “room” for all of its stuff – like pre-loaded apps, tasks and attractive visual presentations all over its software.

And thanks to this type of specs, Sony Xperia Tablet Z is definitely capable to execute games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5, GTA Vice City or NOVA 3 in smooth buttery performance and of course, in full graphics. No doubt about that.

However, similar just like its predecessor, i think this device will still suffer when playing a much heavier game like GTA San Andreas especially in full highest graphics (full graphics, visual effects, shadows, reflection, resolution, etc).

This is actually similar with Google Nexus 7 (2013) that also comes with the same Adreno 320 GPU – although its Snapdragon S4 Pro processor is less powerful than Snapdragon 600 inside Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

This Google-branded tablet also uses the same 1080p resolution and 2GB of RAM just like this Sony’s tablet, and it even comes with a very light-weight stock Android UI – as opposed to Sony’s heavily-customized Android UI.

Anyway, when this device is deployed with GTA San Andreas in full highest graphics, this game runs really laggy, buggy and it’s just not playable for human being.

So the same thing could probably happen also on Sony Xperia Tablet Z – given their same Adreno 320 GPU, 1080p display and 2GB of RAM.

So this is why i’m not really sure if this Rockstar’s game would run great on Sony Xperia Tablet Z. But i could be wrong about that.

The developer of this game probably has well-optimized GTA San Andreas specifically for Nexus 7 and Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

Between Sony Xperia Tablet S and Sony Xperia Tablet Z, i think it’s pretty obvious that the new-gen model is more superior in gaming performance than Sony Xperia Tablet S.

And this can be clearly seen on its performance when playing Asphalt 8: Airborne in full highest graphics.

Even though the predecessor is also capable to run this game in full graphics, that game doesn’t run as smoothly as on Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

Besides in gaming performance, Sony Xperia Tablet Z also really excels in gaming experience as a whole.

I mean, it has a much sharper display, much improved design, longer battery life, bigger RAM and the latest build of software, which could really help a lot with the compatibility of latest games.

But even so, both Sony Xperia Tablet S and Sony Xperia Tablet Z are really great equally for playing games.

Even some latest graphically demanding games like Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, ShadowGun, Dead Trigger, GTA Vice City or Need for Speed will run smoothly on these 2 devices, even in full graphics.


The camera has always been one of the main priorities of Sony when making smartphones and tablets. And this company still continues that tradition even until today.

With the previous-gen Sony Xperia Tablet S packing an 8MP camera on its back, then the new-gen model will of course receive a much improved 8.1MP camera module and not to mention, better software optimization for its camera.

Interestingly, despite being a new-gen model, the camera quality of Sony Xperia Tablet Z is not nearly as nice looking as on the iPads. And this is probably weird because Sony actually has been Apple’s main supplier of camera part for its iDevices.

This is probably due to Apple’s expertise in optimizing the hardware and software of its devices in order to be able to take much better and sharper photos/videos than any of its rivals out there, including Sony.

But even so, the overall quality of cameras on both Sony Xperia Tablet S and Sony Xperia Tablet Z is still not too shabby at all, especially given that these 2 devices are Sony’s flagship tablets.

So no wonder if this company will put focus a lot on the cameras of these tablets.

Battery Life

From the first-even-generation Sony Xperia Tablet S, this Japanese-based manufacturer used 6000mAh battery capacity to power this device. And it still continues even until the very-last-gen Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 that also still carries the same non-removable 6000mAh battery.

Of course, it goes the same Sony Xperia Tablet Z with its same exact battery capacity just like its siblings.

However, despite using the same exact 6000mAh battery, the battery life of Sony Xperia Tablet Z apparently is slightly less longer than the predecessor.

And it’s shown clearly according to GSMarena that predicts around 10 hours of battery life on Sony Xperia Tablet Z for talk time (multimedia), as opposed to a much longer 12 hours of battery life for the same use on Sony Xperia Tablet S.

I believe this has something to do with the full HD resolution on Sony Xperia Tablet Z that drains a lot of power from its battery.

Not to mention, this device now comes with a more powerful Snapdragon 600 processor (and i know that even the low-end Snapdragon 400 processor can be power hungry especially if it’s clocked higher than its standard frequency).

But even so, both Sony Xperia Tablet S and Sony Xperia Tablet Z are pretty good equally (if not the best) in terms of battery life.

They could deliver an all day long battery life in moderate use, but their battery life could drop drastically to around 4 to 6 hours especially for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen at all – like watching HD movies in marathon or playing games in the row.

So if you’re a power user, you should be aware of this.

My Personal Opinions

So in conclusion, i personally think both devices are really great equally, of course in each class. Sony Xperia Tablet S is a great powerful tablet in 2012, while Sony Xperia Tablet Z is also as great but in the year of 2013, if not the best.

However, if pitted side-by-side against each other, it’s no-brainer that Sony Xperia Tablet Z is just a much better tablet and even gaming tablet than Sony Xperia Tablet S.

And it shows clearly on their gaming performance, especially when handling some latest graphically demanding games in full highest graphics.

Meanwhile, the other sectors like screen sharpness, camera, software, features and build quality, Sony Xperia Tablet Z is also the winner here if compared straightly to its predecessor.

But it doesn’t mean that Sony Xperia Tablet S really sucks compared to its sequel model. Well, that’s SO wrong. Sony Xperia Tablet S is still a decent quality tablet in the whole aspect.

It has:
  • a powerful Tegra 3 quad-core processor along with 12-core GPU (which means, it’s powerful for handling games in 2012),
  • its 720p resolution display is also pretty sharp especially given its smaller 9.4-inch display, 
  • it has longer battery life, 
  • good quality cameras, 
  • good gaming experience (especially with Sony PlayStation emulator, etc) and its design is just gorgeous, thanks to its thick should on the back.
So between these 2 tablets, in my opinion, both Sony Xperia Tablet S and Sony Xperia Tablet Z are still decent quality devices.

They have their own pros and cons against each other. The predecessor may not have more powerful specs on Sony Xperia Tablet Z, but the new-gen tablet is also not very good in terms of display quality (as mentioned above).

It goes the same with their battery life, with Sony Xperia Tablet S impressively could last longer in talk time than Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

This is why in this comparison review, i think both devices are pretty equal in the whole aspect, especially in their own class.

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