At a Glance
Overall, both the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and Nexus 7 are brilliant smaller tablets. The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will offer you more in the way of power, connectivity, battery and capacity, but it’ll cost you £100 more, so it really comes down to your budget on this one.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that there are rumours that the Nexus 7 is going to get an update soon, so it might be worth hanging on to find out what Google has up its sleeve before you buy the current version.
At the beginning of September, during 2014’s IFA event in Berlin, Sony unveiled the
Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact – a long-awaited addition to the Xperia Z tablet range. The
Nexus 7 is much older than the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact after launching in summer 2013 but still reigns our tablet chart. Here, we put the new 8in Sony tablet head-to-head with the year-old second-generation Nexus 7 in our Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Nexus 7 comparison review. See also:
The best tablets of 2014
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Nexus 7 comparison review: Price & availability
Sony has revealed that the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet will be launching this autumn with a price tag of £329. That’s more expensive than the Nexus 7, which you’ll find for under £200 if you shop around. Plus, the Nexus 7 is available now so if you want to go out and buy yourself a new 7in tablet tomorrow the Nexus 7 is the one you’ll want.
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Nexus 7 comparison review: Design
Rather than the 10in of the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet, the Compact version has a smaller 8in display. Of course, that means that the Compact is smaller and lighter overall, at an impressive 6.4mm thick and 270g.
The Nexus 7 is thicker, at 8.7mm, and 20g more than the Z3 Tablet Compact. It’s also only available in black, while the Z3 Tablet Compact is available in black and white options.
Both tablets have soft touch plastic rear covers.
A great feature for the clumsy among us is the IP68 rating of the Z3 Tablet Compact, which means it’s dust- and waterproof. This means you can watch a movie in the bath or even take photographs underwater. This is a feature that the Nexus 7 doesn’t boast.
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Nexus 7 comparison review: Display
The Nexus 7 has a 7in IPS display (hence its name) with a pixel density of 323ppi. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact has the same 1920×1200 resolution, but because those pixels are spread out on a larger, 8in display, the Sony tablet’s pixel density is lower at 283ppi.
We found both tablets to be crisp, though, and Sony’s tablet has the advantage of its TV tech such as Triluminos with Live colour LED to make its display look nicer.
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Nexus 7 comparison review: Specs & features
Inside the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz. That’s paired with 3GB RAM to offer smooth and speedy performance.
The Nexus 7, meanwhile, has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core Krait processor clocked at a slower 1.5GHz, paired with 2GB RAM.
One of the Nexus 7’s only downfalls is the storage capacity. It comes with either 16GB or 32GB built-in but there’s no microSD slot for expansion.
Sony only offers a 16GB model of its Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact but, unlike its Nexus 7 rival, it does offer a microSD card slot for adding up to 128GB so that’s a big advantage.
We’ve not yet been able to test the battery life of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, but Sony touts an impressive 15 hours video playback thanks to a 4500mAh battery.
We have put the Nexus 7 through our own battery tests, and found that the 4326mAh battery managed almost nine hours of video playback, so that’s much less than the number touted by Sony.
When it comes to connectivity, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is available with 4G LTE support if you want it. It also offers 11ac WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.
The Nexus 7 is available as a 4G LTE model, too, and also has NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. WiFi is present but isn’t the faster 11.ac standard.
The camera on the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is an impressive one for a tablet, at 8.1Mp. The front-facing camera is also good at 2.2Mp. The Nexus 7, on the other hand, has a reasonable 5Mp rear-facing camera and a 1.2Mp camera on the front.
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact vs Nexus 7 comparison review: Software
Both the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and Nexus 7 run Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The Nexus 7 is a Google-branded device, so is likely to get any future updates before rival Android tablets, which is something that’s worth keeping in mind. We’re expecting an update to Android L to come to both tablets later this year. Also see:
27 best Android tablets.
Sony does offer some additional apps and its slightly tweaked version of Android on its tablet, though. These include the Walkman app, and also support for PS4 Remote Play which means you’ll be able to play PS4 games on the tablet over WiFi with a DualShock 4 controller and optional GCM10 Game Control Mount.