The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is a great alternative to the iPad. It's set to breeze into second place in the race for best tablet, and top the league table of best Android tablets.

We liked

It's got a lovely screen, lightweight design, all the Sony elements you'd look for and the right power combination to keep it at the forefront of slate technology for a few years.

The waterproof design is one of the nicest features, and makes it a much more attractive proposition than less robust slates on the market.

The new optional keyboard is potentially a welcome addition, although it's hard to judge whether it'll be worth adding it until we know the price.

The 'under the hood' mechanics are impressive too, and you'll struggle to make them work flat out, while the battery life is better than ever before.

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Review

We disliked

Although the addition of Android Lollipop is welcome, Sony's UI is still a big problem for many; it restricts what you can do with the platform, and, most importantly, how it looks.

The storage options aren't overly generous, and it would be nice if Sony offered a 64GB version; microSD storage is handy, but files on there don't perform as well as on the main memory.

The camera setup won't be good enough for some, with the rear camera in particular disappointing – it's not a big issue for me, but lots of people like to use their slates to take snapshots.

The main issue the Xperia Z4 has to overcome – and there's not a lot Sony can do about this – is that Android still trails iOS for dedicated tablet apps.

The ecosystem for the iPad is such that no matter how much you can do with the Android version, unless there's something very specific you're looking for the Apple tablet is generally the better choice.

Sony Xperia Z4 Review

Verdict

The Xperia Z4 is a great tablet, and it's the one genuine alternative to the iPad. Android is still not the perfect ecosystem for tablets, but with a 2K display on the front and such a nice-looking design this is the best way of implementing it in a tablet yet.

There are still issues with the camera and the UI setup, but overall it's a much more enjoyable experience than we've seen from a Sony tablet before.

Another big problem for some will be the price. If you're opting for the 4G version it's going to cost £579.99 (about $910, AUS$1135), while the Wi-Fi version will cost £499.99 (about $785, AUS$980). Pricing for both the US and Australia has yet to be announced.

It's expensive, but compared to Apple's pricing, which is at a very similar level, it's not all that much of a surprise for a high-end, top-quality tablet experience.

If you want something a little bit different to the iPad, then give the Xperia Z4 Tablet a go. It's the best slate from the company yet, and in my opinion it's the best Android option out there, although you're going to have to part with a bit of cash to experience it.

First reviewed: May 2015