When it comes to mobile, Apple is always the manufacturer to beat. We can agree or disagree on the winner, but there is no denying the industry looks at Apple as a standard. And with an 8-inch iPad Mini 2 in the market, a whole crowd of tablets is bound to try and take down the Apple from its tree.
Among the most important 8-inch competitors we can find the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, a device that is leading the batch of Android tablets of its size. Can it go up against the almighty iPad Mini 3? Let us tell you right now it can definitely hold its own.
iPad Mini 2 specs
- iOS 8
- 7.9-inch Retina Display (2048×1536)
- A7 processor
- 1 GB of RAM
- 16/64 GB of internal storage
- 5 MP rear-facing camera
- 1.2 MP front-facing camera
- 6471 mAh battery
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact specs
- Android 4.4
- 8-inch 1080p display
- 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
- 3 GB of RAM
- 16 GB of internal storage
- 8.1 MP rear-facing camera
- 2.2 MP front-facing camera
- 4500 mAh battery
Design, Form and Function – Sony is the Complete Package
Some will say there is no way to compare the iPad Mini 2 against the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact in terms of design. Apple is known for its great looks and I will have to agree that I do prefer the design of the iPad Mini 2. That is not to say the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is bad looking, though.
Both look great, they are just different. The iPad Mini 2 will offer that slim and now-classic Apple look so many of you love. The aluminum body also gives it a very sleek and solid feel. Meanwhile, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is made of mostly plastic, but it’s good plastic.
The back of the Z3 Tablet Compact is much better for keeping away fingerprints, for example. Furthermore, that matte finish does look very good. There is one thing Apple jsut won’t be able to beat Sony on, though – resistance.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a mouth-full, but it is lighter, slimmer and it is waterproof. Sony wants you to take your tablet with you everywhere, just like the rest of their Xperia Z line-up. They realize devices have to be rugged, stylish and usable in a world where stuff happens. You might not be the kind of person to take your tablet in the pool, but if you get caught in a rain storm you can be sure that your device won’t care.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact comes with IP67/68 certification, making it water and dust resistant. You can literally take this tablet for a swim. Apple simply can’t match that. In fact, many of us would agree that Apple’s products tend to be pretty delicate to the elements.
Hardware – A Story of Two Tanks
|TABLET||APPLE IPAD MINI 2||SONY XPERIA Z3 TABLET COMPACT|
|Screen||7.9-inch IPS LCD (324ppi)||8-inch TFT LCD (283ppi)|
|Processor||Apple A7||Snapdragon 801|
|Storage||16/32/64/128 GB||16/32GB + microSD memory card|
|SIM?||Yes, 4G||Yes, 4G|
In terms of numbers, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact measures 213.4 x 123.6 x 6.4mm and weighs 270g, while the Apple iPad mini has a 200 x 134.7 x 7.5mm build and a 331g weight.
Display – Trying to Keep Up with Retina
The one thing that Apple does better than everyone else is packing their devices with top notch displays. The iPad Mini 3 definitely tops Sony in terms of resolution. The Retina name comes packing a 2048x1536p resolution, while Sony has opted for Full HD, or 1920x1200p resolution.
There is no two ways around it – the iPad has a much sharper and vibrant display. Sony boasts Triluminus display technology, but though it is a good display that allows you to customize the termperature, it just isn’t as good. It’s not far off and if you didn’t have them side by side, humming and hawing about which one was best, you’d be perfectly happy. But facts are facts and Apple has yet to be knocked down when it comes to display quality.
Performance and software
Top of the range specs are found in each device. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact sports a quad-core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with a generous 3GB of RAM. It’s fast and responsive.
The Apple iPad mini has a 64-bit A7 chipset and M7 motion coprocessor which is also very fast, if you are just surfing the web. Opening apps and consuming media is fast in both tablets, though. Which is faster in hand? ……………………
If you want to look at benchmarks to determine speed.
|TABLET||APPLE IPAD MINI 2||SONY XPERIA Z3 TABLET COMPACT|
|3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited||14,361|
|GXFBench 2.7 T-Rex HD Offscreen||25fps||27.7fps|
|Basemark X (onscreen / offscreen)||13.2/15.6|
There is no doubt that the Apple A7 processor is better, but you do have to ask your self what you are doing. If you are video editing, using iMovie, or rocking out with Garage Band, Apple has the lead in terms of apps that are optimized for the hardware. This type of usability doesn’t even compete with anything that’s currently available on Android. In gaming, however, Sony believes in the platform so much that they offer Remote Play from Playstation.
We’ll get into gaming shortly. Architecture-wise, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor offers 32-bit architecture and the A7 offers 64-bit, so Apple’s chip is more future-friendly.
Sony, like Apple, is well known for their awesome cameras. On the Z3 Tablet Compact you’ve got a 8.1 MP rear-facing camera with a 2.2 MP front-facing snapper for selfies and video calls, and the rear camera can shoot video in 1080p.
The Apple iPad Mini has a 5 MP camera on the rear and a 1.2 MP shooter on the front. Like Sony’s device, the main camera is capable of 1080p video recording.
Sony’s camera does not have as many bells and whistles as their smartphones, which are 4K capable, but you do get picture in picture (or Face in), slow motion at 120fps and Multi Camera mode where you can link up a few Xperia devices to show a single scene from a few perspectives.
The iPad camera hasn’t gotten an upgrade since the first generation, it’s still rocking the same the 5MP f/2.4 rear-facing camera. Having said that. Though it has a lower resolution, it seems to have better low-light capabilities and the photos look better in auto. Sony has a better camera that does take better photos, but Intelligent Auto doesn’t seem quite as sharp.
Take a look at some samples right below.
iPad Mini 2 photo samples
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact photo samples
The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Has A Few Things the iPad Doesn’t
The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has a few things that the iPad Series doesn’t have. They are all features that I love having on a tablet, but your average Joe might not find them necessary on a tablet. A microSD card slot allows users the capability of expanding their storage, should they need it at any given time. With the iPad you have to pay for what you think you’re going to need. The cost of storage is dropping every 6 months, if you plan on keeping your tablet for a long time it’s a lot more cost efficient to upgrade by MicroSD card.
It is a bit of a debate whether or not waterproof on a tablet is the way to go. On a smartphone it’s a 100% necessity, but some argue that tablets are in less danger of being dropped in water. A friend of mine argued that if you’re using the tablet at the pool or beach, you should be doing something else.
Personally, I’ve used tablets at the pool and beach. I like reading magazines on the larger screen; plus I’m not using up my smartphone battery. The other scenario is if you’re caught in the rain and your bag gets soaked through. Waterproof is the future. The only downside is that when you seal the device it’s more expensive to open it up, since you need to re-seal it again. But hopefully the fact that it’s waterproof will stop you from having to open it up in the first place.
Sony has added magnetic charging to its Xperia line. Since they’ve covered the ports with a seal, it is a bit of a pain to open them up all the time. Adding this feature is premium, though I do have to wonder why they haven’t gone with wireless charging. (If you want an update on the standards race in Wireless charging, I actually just attended the Wrieless Charging Forum here in Taipei.)
The iPad does have dual speakers, but they aren’t front-facing. They are both around the same volume, the Xperia being a little louder. In terms of quality the iPad comes ahead, the very thin dimensions of the Xperia just don’t allow it to have the same depth as the thicker, metal iPad. Having said that, the sound going in the direction of your face, and not having to turn it over screen down to listen to it is an added bonus.
While the iPad Mini has a much bigger battery, it can seem to squeeze that much more juice compared to the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. In our texts, we usually struggle to get the iPad Mini 2 to last 11 hours. Meanwhile, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact usually lasts 10:15 hours.
In summary, they are comparable, the Mini allowing to sneak in an extra show if you need to, but we have to give it to the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact wins because it has a significantly smaller battery (4,500mAh vs 6471mAh), meaning it’s better at managing it.
Of course, the final decision depends on how you prioritize your features and specs. Those who prefer a simpler interface, metal build quality and more accessory availability will definitely want to side with the iPad Mini 2.
Meanwhile, the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact also has a lot to offer. This includes better battery life, water resistance, the beloved Android OS, an improved camera and much more RAM memory. The design may also be more to your liking.
If you’d like to read of Full Review of the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, we’ve got it right over here.
If you’re thinking of picking up Sony’s waterproof tablet, we have a link to Amazon for you too!