Gadget: Bath-time tablets with Sony Xperia Z, and Surface for NZ

Gadget: Bath-time tablets with Sony Xperia Z, and Surface for NZ

I don't know whether it's the thinness, the beautiful and simple design, or the fact I can use them while taking a bubble bath – but Sony's new Xperia Z Android phone and tablet really ticks my boxes.

Xperia Z smartphone

OS: Android 4.1 at launch (upgrade should be available shortly, according to Sony).

Processor: Quad core 1.5 GHz, 2 GB RAM

Screen: 5-inch LCD (1080 by 1920 pixels)

Camera: 13.1 megapixels

Storage: 16 GB (expandable microSD)

Sony's previous attempts at Android phones have created some of the most beautiful devices available on the operating system, such as the Xperia S. The Xperia Z continues Sony's design aesthetic, which is all about sleek black professionalism.

Unsurprisingly Sony had its demo unit dunked in a bowl of water the whole night. When I had my turn on it I just wiped it dry and went for it on the Android 4.1 device.

There's some Sony bloatware pre-loaded on the Xperia Z, such as Walkman and Video store, but apart from that it's a very smooth Android Jellybean experience. 

The Xperia Z is 4G-capable, across a variety of spectrums including the 1800 MHz announced by Vodafone yesteday. However, Vodafone says it's not quite ready to launch 4G on the phone yet.

I should be getting a review unit of the Xperia Z next week and will have more info about it then. I'm looking forward to seeing how this fares with the likely launch of Samsung's Galaxy S IV this month. Can Sony outdo its Korean rival, the giant amongst the Android food chain?

Xperia Tablet Z

OS: Android 4.1 (upgrade should be available shortly, according to Sony)

Processor: Quad core 1.5 GHz, 2 GB RAM

Screen: 10.1-inch LCD (1200 by 1920 pixels)

Camera: 8.1 megapixels

Storage: 16 or 32 GB (expandable microSD)

I coddle my iPad, treating it like an overprotective mother would a sickly baby. This means I rarely make use of it outdoors, which is a shame. This is why the waterproof and dustproof Xperia Tablet Z intrigues me so much.

Like its tiny smartphone sibling, my first go at the device was straight out of a tank of water. The operating system loaded onto the demo unit was extremely buggy, but I was assured by Sony's reps that it was not the version that will ship with the unit in April / May this year.

The most noticeable thing about the Xperia Tablet is its petiteness. At only 6.9 mm at its thickest point and around 500 grams,  it's possibly the thinnest tablet I've ever used. It's also just as good looking  as the Xperia Z,  has NFC and there's a 4G/LTE version in the works.

Surface tablets coming to New Zealand

Microsoft has finally confirmed New Zealand availability for its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets.

On March 15 you can expect to pick up a Surface RT 32 GB from JB HI FI or Harvey Norman for RRP of $739. An extra $160 will score you the touch cover.

There's no hard date for Surface Pro availability, just the tentative coming soon.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).