You may not realize it but with our phones and tablets, we tend to live our life around them rather than get devices that let you live the way you want to live. What I mean by that is for the most part a lot of us continue to want faster, thinner, and a bigger screen but we tend to completely forget a few things when shopping for a phone. For starters, what good is a phone or tablet if the battery is dead before you know it. Additionally we are careful with our phones and tablets around dust, dirt, and water because generally all of those things will ruin your fancy new phone/tablet. Remember when you could push someone in the pool without worrying, now you have to be concerned that they don’t have their phone on them. Well Sony has been pushing a lot of their product lines towards focusing on people with an active lifestyle and that means they now have a few devices that are waterproof and dust resistant. Well today I’m going to take a look at their Xperia Z2 tablet and Xperia Z3v phone to find out if having a waterproof phone/tablet is a big advantage.

Product Name: Verizon Sony Xperia Z2 and Z3v

Review Sample Provided by: Verizon

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Z2 Tablet Specifications

Standby Time - Up To:

1176 hrs.

Usage Time- Up To:

14 hrs.

CPU

2.3 GHz Qualcomm MSM8974AB Quad-core

Adreno 330

Weight

15.49 oz.

Width

6.77 in.

Height

10.47 in.

Screen

10.1" WUXGA TRILUMINOS™ display for mobile with X-Reality for mobile (1920x1200)

Battery

Non-removable (6000 mAh)

Operating System

Android 4.4 Kitkat

Colors

Black or White (Subject to availability)

Storage

16GB and up to 128 GB microSD

Hearing Aid Compatibility

M4/T3 for CDMA/LTE/GSM/UMTS air interfaces

NETWORK

LTE Band 13/4 (700/1700 MHz), CDMA/1xEVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz); Global - EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)), HSPA/UMTS(850/900/1900/2100 MHz)

Camera

Rear: 8.1 MP
Front: 2.2 MP

Z3v Phone Specifications

Standby Time - Up To:

336 hrs.

Usage Time- Up To:

26 hrs.

CPU

Snapdragon 801 2.5 GHz

Weight

6.02 oz.

Width

2.89 in.

Height

5.85 in.

Screen

5.2” 1080p Full HD IPS display with exclusive Live Color LED technology and X-Reality™ for mobile with 500cd brightness

Battery

3200 mAh non-removable Li-Ion

Operating System

Android 4.4 Kitkat

Colors

Black or White (Subject to availability)

Storage

32GB and up to 128 GB microSD

HEARING AID COMPATIBILITY

M4/T3 for CDMA/LTE/GSM/UMTS air interfaces

NETWORK

Network: LTE Band 13/4 (700/1700 MHz), CDMA/1xRTT/EVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz); Global Network: EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)), HSPA/UMTS(850/900/1900/2100 MHz)

Camera

Rear: 20.7 MP
Front: 2.2 MP

 


Packaging

The packaging for the Xperia Z2 Tablet is about the same size as the tablet itself only thicker. The front of the box is simple with a photo of the tablet as well as the Verizon logo. On the back everything is in Verizon red and beyond all of the required legal stuff down in the bottom left corner all that is on the back is a list of what to expect inside the box. Inside typically you would find a starting guide as well as a book from Verizon but for our sample it has been used a little and that wasn’t included. In fact the tablet was packed into the box with a case that obviously doesn’t ship with it typically. Along with documentation you also get an AC power adapter and a USB charging cord. The Sony adapter looks a little large but they were careful to put the plug horizontally. This means that even though the adapter is wide, it won’t block you from using any other plugs when plugging into a power strip.

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z2 1

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The Xperia Z3v phone’s box was actually closer to the Z2 tablets box than a standard phone. The box is about twice as wide as most phones. On the cover you have a partial photo of the phone as well as the branding and the Verizon logo. The back of the box actually has more information on the device including a whole bunch of small icons that highlight different features. They also slipped in a package contains listing as well a photos of both the white and black Z3v.

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z3v 2

Inside the phone sits in a tray that can be opened up on the right. Under the tray they included all of the standard phone and Verizon documentation. You also get an AC power to USB adapter and a USB charging cord just like the Z2 Tablet. In fact the adapter is the exact same so like the Z2 you won’t have to worry about fitment on power strips.

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Xperia Z2 Tablet Photos and Features

With the Z2 Tablet screen turned off I love how the screen and bezel blend together into a clean and classy looking device. The Z2 Tablet accomplishes this with a glass screen that runs up to the edge. The edge all around the Z2 however is a rubber piece that is just slightly thicker than the glass to help protect the screen on drops and keep it from getting scratched up. The front of the Z2 Tablet really just has two things going on beyond that. There is the Sony logo up in the top left corner and there is the front facing camera in the top middle. For a front facing camera Sony slipped in a standard 2.2MP camera like nearly every other device.

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z2 7

Once I took the Xperia Z2 out of the case that Verizon sent it in, I was completely blown away at just how thin it was. We have a whole stack of tablets and phones in our household and not one of them is thinner than this tablet. That isn’t to say that this is the thinnest tablet you can get, there are a select few that are thinner. The Z2 comes in at 6.4mm and the Apple iPad Air 2 is 6.1 and Dell also has a tablet that is 6mm. Even so, that is thin. To put it in perspective an old CD jewel case is 10.4mm thick. Starting on the bottom of the Z2 we have a standard microphone/headset plug on the bottom left. The only other thing along the bottom is a small charging dock contact patch. Sony makes a magnetic tablet dock that works with both the Z2 and Z3 tablets using this port.

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Right along the edge on both the left and right side Sony slipped in these tiny gaps. These are actually front facing speakers, they may not take up much room or are in your face but it is great to see that Sony was able to still do front facing speakers without sacrificing the thin design.

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The top edge is really where everything is going on. We have a small microphone packed in right next to the built in IR Blaster. I don’t think I can talk enough about how nice it is to have an IR Blaster on your mobile devices, at least when you have the software to support it. Being able to change the channels on any TV in the house with something you might carry around with you is a nice feature. Next we have two sealed doors that you can pull out. One handles the micro USB power/data connection while the other gives us access to the sim card and the Micro SD card slot.

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The sides of the Z2 Tablet are basic and to the point. The right side of the tablet has nothing at all going on. The left side has both the power and volume controls. Both controls are machined completely out of aluminum to match the brushed aluminum on all four sides of the Z2 Tablet. 

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In our photos below the back of the Z2 Tablet has a bit of a leather look to it but it is actually a slightly rubber finish all across the back with a weird pattern from the felt on the inside of the case I had just taken off. The back of the tablet has the Verizon logos in the middle along with a small Xperia logo down at the bottom. Beyond that there was a small NFC logo below the camera to show the NFC sensor location. Then of course there is the rear facing camera. It is a basic 8.1 MP camera that doesn’t even have an LED flash.

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When powered on the 10.1" “WUXGA TRILUMINOS” display fired up. The screen runs at a resolution of 1080p and because of that shows the tablets age slightly. A lot of mobile devices are jumping up to higher resolutions. It does look great though, lots of backlighting to make Kingdom Rush still very visible, even in the day with our photo lights on. There is a big bezel around the sides of the screen, about one inch on the sides and ¾ inch on the top and bottom. I guess that is to be expected given how thin the tablet is though.

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z2 20

 


Xperia Z3v Phone Photos and Features

The all-white Z3v shares a lot of the same styling from the Z2. It has an all glass front that reaches all the way to the edge. The glass runs into a plastic frame that sits slightly higher than the glass to keep it protected as well as provide a little flexibility in the corners to absorb a little impact on drops. On the top and bottom edge of the Z3v Sony tucked in small slits. Here they hide the microphone, speaker, speakerphone and even a multicolor LED for notifications. The black screen contrasts with the white phone so even with the screen off we can see the bezel thickness right away. On the sides, the bezel is very thin and on the top and bottom have a little over an inch bezel. Down on the bottom there is just the Sony logo. Up top we have the Verizon logo with the proximity and light sensors on the left and on the right the 2.2MP front facing camera.

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z3v 7

The top of the Z3v has the standard microphone/headphone port as well as a small external microphone hole. The bottom edge of the phone has nothing at all going on.

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z3v 11

On the left side of the Z3v there isn’t too much going on. Here we do get a great look at the aluminum strip that runs down all four sides. There are also two pop out waterproof “doors” that give us access to the Micro USB charging port as well as the SIM card slot. To open them up you have to slip in a nail to the small slot they give you and then pull them out. When closing them up you have to be especially careful that they are sealed to keep the Z3v waterproof.

z3v 10

z3v 16

The right side of the Z3v has a lot going on. For starters there is a waterproof door that gives you access to the Micro SD card slot. Just below it we get into all of the phones buttons. The round button is the power button and just below it the volume up and down toggle. I love that the power button is distinguished and easy to find. This makes unlocking the phone easier as well as it makes it easy to avoid accidentally locking the phone when you are using it. Down a little farther Sony also included a camera button. The camera button is in the perfect place for you to push like a standard point and shoot camera. All of the buttons are machined out of aluminum to match the aluminum trim that runs across all four sides of the phone.

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z3v 12

The back of the Z3v is a lot different than the Z2 Tablet. Sony went with a glass backpanel, similar to the Nexus 4 and the iPhone 4. Just like with both of those phones the glass back panel really steps up the quality feeling when you hold the phone but you are risking additional damage if the phone is dropped. On top of that a glass back panel doesn’t really help you grip the phone as well, it can get a little slippery. For branding on the back the Xperia logo  is down at the bottom and the Verizon 4G logo is in the middle. Both are under the glass and in a silver. Depending on the angle you look at the back they sometimes stand out and at other angles they almost blend into the white. For the rear camera you get a 20.7MP camera as well as a LED flash. The camera lens sits slightly lower than the back glass, keeping it slightly protected. 

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z3v 13

z3v 15

When I kick the 5.2” 1080p Full HD IPS display on we can see how well it handles competing for light with our studio lights. It’s a little disappointing to see that Sony went with a 1080p screen over the 1440p that a lot of today’s phones are using. That said the IPS display does look good on initial inspection.

z3v 17

z3v 18

 


Side by Side

Typically, in this section I compare two competing devices. This time around, we are taking a look at two devices from Sony. One is their tablet from last year as well as their latest phone. So with them next to each I was actually most surprised by just how much they have in common. I mean obviously they are both Xperia devices, but the older Z2 Tablet has all of the same styling that the new Z3v has. It’s clear that Sony found what they like and are sticking with it, focusing on performance improvements instead. So what is running inside of each of them? Well the tablet has a Qualcomm MSM8974AB Quad-core running at 2.3 GHz with an Adreno 330 GPU. The Z3v phone has a Snapdragon 801 running at 2.5 GHz. The tablet has a monster 6000 mAh battery and the phone has an equally impressive 3200 MHz battery, both are non-removable.

sidebyside 1

sidebyside 2

While the Z3v phone feels thin in hand, the Z2 really blows it out of the water with its 6.3mm thick design. You can really see it when you put them on top of each other. Of course, the tablet has a lot more room to fit everything because of its overall size. I wouldn’t make the Z3v any thinner if it meant losing any of its battery or CPU performance.

sidebyside 3

Both devices are also completely waterproof. I did some testing when traveling in a pool with the Z3v, you get some crazy looks from people when they see you take your phone with you swimming. Same goes for when you send people a photo from IN the pool. In the pictures below, I put both devices under water in our tub at home. The white tub and clear water actually made it impossible to even tell the Z2 and Z3v were even in the water until I added a little bubble bath into the water.

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sidebyside 5

sidebyside 6

sidebyside 7

z3v inwatrer

 


Performance

I couldn’t very well test the Xperia Z2 and Z3v without running them through our mobile benchmark suite right? I started off by testing both devices in benchmarks focused on game performance. This includes 3DMark as well as two GFXBench tests. I run the GFXBench tests at an offscreen resolution for consistency so for some devices it doesn’t mean you will see the exact same results (like when you have a 1440p screen), that said both the Z2 and the Z3v are running at 1080p so no issues. In both GFXBench tests they came in with the exact same results. Surprisingly in 3DMark though the older Z2 tablet pulled ahead with its dedicated GPU slightly.

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Next I ran them through our browser based tests that test browser and Java performance. In Google Octane the Z3v phone pulled a nice lead on the Z2 and also out performed the LG G3. This put it extremely close to the performance of the Nvidia Shield and the new MotoX/Turbo with their faster CPUs. In SunSpider the Z2 performed poorly but in line with devices from last year. The Z3v was right in between the new MotoX and the Droid Turbo putting it up near the top. In Browsermark the Z2 Tablet out performed the Z3v Phone and came in right below the LG G3.

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My new favorite mobile benchmark is the recently introduced PCMark mobile benchmark. I love that this gives a more rounded test. It takes into account CPU and GPU performance. With that the Z3v Phone came in second just above the Droid Turbo and below the new MotoX. The Z2 Tablet on the other hand was down at the bottom of the charts below the S4. Both are still impressive numbers, especially when you consider that everything tested is one of if not the best phone from that manufacture.

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Last but not least I ran them both through battery testing. Battery testing is always a bit of a pain to do because I need to be awake and around for the results so I can’t just turn it on then go to bed. The day I tested the Z2 and Z3v ended up being a very long night because they went a LOT longer than I had ever expected. The Z3v with its 3200mAh battery stopped first a a little over 7 hours in and the Z2 Tablet with its 6000mAh battery went into the night at 9 and a half hours. Both devices topped the charts, besting extremely great devices in the Turbo and MotoX 2014.

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Software

Both the Z2 and the Z3v are running the same OS revision and they both run the same Sony software so for the most part they are the same. That said they still look a little different because one is a tablet and the other is a phone. A great example of this is the home screen. They have built in navigation down at the bottom as well as a home bar of apps down at the bottom. On the phone that gives you four options unless you turn one or more of the locations into a folder. The table has more due to its size at 8. The app listing button for the phone is a little easier to find though with it being at the middle of the bottom, the Z2’s app listing button is up in the top right.

Z2

z2 home

Z3v

z3v home

The app listing is basic on both. Things are compacted closer together on the Z3v but that is the only exception.

Z2

z2 programspage

Z3v

z3v programpage

They both have the same quick settings page that is accessible through the notifications dropdown. The Z2 being a tablet though the quick settings doesn’t take up the entire screen. When you get to the settings pages they are both exactly the same. You get a few quick toggles on the first few options and then from there you have to select what menu you are looking to dig into.

Z2

z2 settings

z2 settings2

 

Z3v

z3v settings1 z3v settings2

Of course the Z2 doesn’t have a phone app because it is a tablet. The Z3v’s phone screen is easy to navigate with options to get to a favorites list, groups, your contacts as well as your recent calls.

z3v phone

It might be silly but I think I had more fun with the AR Effects app that both devices have than anything else on a mobile device in a very long time. You open up the app and move the tablet/phone around a little so it can get an idea of your environment then the effect you selected will start to walk around and interact with what is on the screen. Moving the device around will let you look closer or farther way at whatever the effect is, for example the dinosaur below. 

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The other two apps that really stand out on both devices are the Sony specific Walkman and Playstation apps. The Walkman app is your music hub. Here you can find all of the songs that you uploaded to your device as well as have access to Sonys Music Unlimited service. The app also has Sonys ClearAudio+ technology as well as Digital Noise Cancelling to help cut out background noise when listening to your music. There is also a Movies App that is similar to the Walkman app but focused on movies and video. The PlayStation app though is especially interesting. Here you can sign into your PSN account and have access to all of your account features. This means you can talk to your friends and also see what everyone is playing. You can also access the store and buy new games or even see your trophies. If you own a PS4 you even use it to navigate your PS4 rather than busting out a controller.

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z2 walkman

 


Camera

Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight, the Z2 has an 8.1MP against the 20.7MP of the Z3v. It was no surprise when the Z3v outperformed the Z2 in all of the tests. Sadly when I went to do our outside photo test it was a crappy Ohio day. For starters, it was cloudy and dreary but on top of that we have all of the snow. Because of that, it is kind of hard to compare the Z3v to previous phones. It did a good job of capturing how crappy it is outside though! The no light and light photos inside showed off the Z3v’s camera as well showing that it could focus well on the full object. It did get too much light glare from the LEDs though. All in all the Z3v blew the Z2 out of the water as expected, but more importantly I think the Z3v can hold its own against comparable phones on the market.

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Z2 Outside

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Z3v Outside

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Z2 Light

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Z3v Light

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Z2 No Light

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Z3v No Light

 


Overall and Final Verdict

Now that we have broken down both the Xperia Z2 Tablet and the Z3v Phone I can finally step back and see what we have going on. For starters, the performance numbers for both devices were interesting. I expected the Z3v to outperform the Z2 Tablet but in a few situations, it didn’t. That said for the most part it does come in right below the Droid Turbo and MotoX 2014 with very respectable numbers. The Z2 Tablet was even more impressive, keeping up with the newer devices much more than I expected. What I was even more impressed with on both devices was their battery performance though with both devices topping the chart with impressive numbers.

At first the design of the Z3v felt a little off for me and hard to hold on to. This wasn’t helped with the all glass back that made it harder to grip and more sensitive to drop damage. That said after sending about a month with the phone I really got used to it. Having an easy to find power button helped as well as the physical camera button. The Z2 Tablet on the other hand I loved right out of the hole because of its thin design but I found myself only wanting to use it around the house, its 10.1 inch screen makes it a little hard to take with you unless it is in the car as a passenger.

The best part about both devices without a doubt though is them being waterproof. I’ve seen waterproof devices in the past and typically they are extremely thick and hard to work with. Not having to worry about getting your phone wet can be a little liberating. Stand in the rain and check your phone if you want or take it into the pool for a video or a photo or two. Getting over the initial worry that water and your phone don’t mix is hard to do but it is well worth the looks you will get when people see you taking photos from in the pool, trust me!

Of course, with both devices running on LTE speed wasn’t an issue on that front as well. A few years ago I took a Verizon Nexus 7 tablet with 4G on vacation with us. The drive from Ohio through the mountains had just one small interruption, so in most cases I don’t have to worry too much about going out of a coverage area although currently our house is pushing it until they get the new tower up this year.

So would I get one or both device? Well I think I would pass on the Z2 Tablet both because its size is a little too big for anything I would use it for. Additionally I think the cost is a little much currently, even with a 2 year contract. The Z3v Phone on the other hand would be up at the top of my list. If you are only looking for pure performance I would be looking at the Droid Turbo but the Z3v has even better battery life and being waterproof is a major plus. Of course, you are sacrificing a higher screen resolution, fast charging, and a little performance for that so keep that in mind.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #36264 13 Feb 2015 21:02
Spend a lot of time in the rain? Around water? Check out this phone and tablet

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