IFA 2014: Sony targets the iPad mini with sleek new Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

IFA 2014: Sony targets the iPad mini with sleek new Xperia Z3 Tablet CompactThe third of a trio of Xperia Z3-themed mobile devices Sony has introduced at IFA 2014 in Berlin this week is the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact – an 8in Android slate that takes the Z3 experience (or is that Xperience?) to a larger form factor.

It delivers all the benefits of the newly introduced Xperia Z3 smartphones, but comes in even skinnier at 6.4mm yet ups the display resolution to 1920 x 1200. What's not to like?

That's not quite a match for the iPad mini's 2048 x 1536 display, but Sony's new slate delivers enough positives elsewhere to be far from embarrassed in such lofty company.

Just like the Xperia Z3 Compact smartphone makes an impressive case for being the superior package to the full-size Xperia Z3, so the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact seems a more exciting prospect than a full-size Xperia Z3 Tablet would have been.

Instead, the current Xperia Z2 Tablet will continue to cover the larger tablet sector for Sony, who rightly saw the Z1 Tablet Compact as more in need of a refresh.

At this size, that 6.4mm waistline and 270g weight doesn't make the whole device feel slightly fragile, plus it's more manageable in the hand (or in both) whether in portrait or landscape orientation.

We've already gone into the Xperia Z3 family's basic tech credentials, and it's a similar story here though with a few variations:

Starting with the display, the 8in panel boasts a 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution, which equates to a 275ppi pixel density – good enough but by no means best in class.

A Snapdragon 801 chip sits in the engine room running at 2.5GHz, and there's 3GB of RAM, 8MP/2.2MP cameras which can both record 1080p video and a generous 4500mAh battery, which Sony claims is good for 170 hours of music or 15 hours of video playback between charges.

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact also offers the IP65/68 weather-proofing seen on the other Z3-based arrivals this week, as well as the PS4 compatibility that will enable you to use it as a handheld console for your PS4 games once the final software is released towards the end of the year.

All told you have what Sony calls “the slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet” on the market. We won't argue, and the combination of attractive design, decent components and unique features should make the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact a popular choice for Android tablet buyers provided Sony can keep the price reasonable.

It looks at this early stage to be a worthy adversory for the iPad mini, even though there's no 64-bit processor and the screen resolution is good rather than great.

But then Sony's probably saving those for the full-size Xperia Z4 Tablet we'll hopefully see at MWC 2015 next February.

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