If Android tablets are to have a shot at taking on the iPad, Sony's new challenger is the kind of thing they need.
The tablet market suddenly seems like a very different place since Sony last launched a 10-inch tablet. Where then the Xperia Z2 Tablet was a credible threat to the iPad in a new and exciting market, the Xperia Z4 Tablet has landed in a very different world.
Which is a shame, as it's a very capable device indeed, with excellent design and some thoughtful accessories to push it beyond the usual prison of a few metres around the sofa.
So that design – the first thing you notice when picking up the Xperia Z4 Tablet is the weight. It's lighter than ever before and it's very noticeable coming in at 392g.
The back of the Xperia Z4 isn't as cheap feeling or – looking for that matter - as it has been on previous iterations, this time around it's a high-end polycarbonate material that whilst not feeling as nice as the iPad's brushed metal feel does still look great and also feels easy and comfortable to grip.
Sony has managed to make the slate even thinner this time around with giving it a flimsy feel. It's only 6.1mm thick, the same as the iPad Air 2.
There are flaps once again in play to keep it waterproof and dustproof but those don't protrude as much anymore and are a lot less obvious.
Each has been rounded off for a far better look here. It's one of the most robust tablets on the market by this logic but it does still feel like the display could easily crack if you were to drop it.
Along the left hand side you'll find the power button with the volume rocker just to the side. Once again each is difficult to reach but it's not clear where it'd be easier to put those on a 10-inch slate – you just have to deal with the fact you'll be using two hands whenever changing the volume or turning the screen off.
There's also no dock connector at the bottom anymore – in order to make the slate that little bit thinner Sony has opted for Bluetooth only support on accessories such as the keyboard mentioned later on.
As for the display you're looking at a 10.1-inch cracking 2K display with a pixel resolution of 2560 x 1600. It looks great with really sharp images all around, a real step up compared to the 1080p setup we saw on the Xperia Z2 tablet.
Under the hood is an impressive set up with a top of the range Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor accompanied by 3GB of RAM and a minimum of 32GB internal storage.
On top of that you can then throw in a microSD up to 128GB. That plus a battery capacity of 6000mAh is a tasty set up – according to Sony is lasts for 17 hours of video.
We've yet to test it, wait up for a full review coming soon for that, but it seems if it works Sony will have nailed the long haul flight crew and offered a respectable alternative to the iPad's impressive battery.
Android 5.0 Lollipop is on the slate from day one, which is a lovely touch. Sadly Sony's UI is as prevalent as ever, some love it, some hate it but I personally am quite indifferent to it.
It doesn't really add much to the Android experience and I can how it may confuse new users but Sony won't ever want to drop it, we're stuck with it for at least the foreseeable future.
A big bonus here is PlayStation Remote Play support. Although I doubt you'll be able to clip a controller onto the bottom of this tablet and still hold it up. It's light enough, but might get a little unwieldy.
Still, I can't wait to try some higher-power PS4 games on the 2k screen - it will be interesting to see how the quality holds up over a streamed Wi-Fi signal. Expect some real experiments with that in the full review.
The rear camera on the Xperia Z4 Tablet doesn't seem to be anything special. It has an 8.1MP sensor taking images of 3264 x 2448 pixels but it never seems to really make those specs work.
Admittedly we've only experimented with the camera in a few situations but the slightly zoom and we start to lose a lot of the clarity and a few stages this has just become unbearable.
In the limited time I've been using it though I've been far more impressed with the front facing camera. Coming in at 5.1MP it has a wide angle lens and works great for video calling or just taking that occasional selfie.
High-res audio and noise cancelling technology make for an impressive audio set up as well. I keep finding myself plugging my headphones into the laptop for time with Spotify even though my phone is sat even closer on the desk.
It's just a more enjoyable experience and noise cancelling is a big bonus to cut out the environment around me.
Sony's betting big on another element to its tablet range this year: making it into a laptop rival. Initially I was nonplussed by the idea - after all, the brand made the same device this time lat year, yet didn't actually launch it properly throughout Europe.
This time around things look like they might be a little different though, as the Xperia Z4 Tablet's OS has been imbued with something that, well, basically comes straight from Windows. (The old, good, version of Windows, not the multi-tiled confusion of Windows 8.)
Clip in the Bluetooth keyboard (the dock connector has been removed to help make it thinner, so it's all wireless here) and a taskbar springs up at the bottom of the display, with icons for the open apps making it easy to flip between tasks.
There's even a pop-up menu in the right-hand corner that lets you get to apps, with the most commonly used there too. You might even say it's a good menu to start with. A start menu. Wait...
To make it easier to open said apps (there's nothing worse when typing into a tablet than when you have to stop and tap the screen) there's a trackpad on the keyboard which brings a mouse cursor into the Android mix. However it's not the best in terms of quality feel - it's rough and feels rather plastic.
In fact, the whole keyboard doesn't really scream quality, and while I've not been given a price for either the tablet or the keyboard accessory, there's a worry that it's going to be rather expensive given how much they've been in the past (well over £100).
There's also the issue of balance. When placed on a desk the screen folds up nicely and the keyboard (which has a decent travel on the keys, if a little plastic-built again) is easy to use. But move it to the lap, which is where I use a lot of keyboard-imbued tablets, and the Z4 Tablet's weight causes it to topple backwards.
It's not a terrible accessory, and it's got the nice 'power-user' taskbar and start menu combo to make it really clean to use. Plus dedicated keys, such as directional buttons, a home key and an option to show all open apps really make it quick to use when you work out where everything is positioned.
The Sony Xperia Z4 tablet is a really great swcixw. It's easily going to scream into second place in the race for best tablet, and will be streets ahead in the league table of best Android tablets.
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, which is how long users will have it for.
The issue that it 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 stuff 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.
I like what Sony's doing with the 'business' interface with the keyboard - we need more things that help a slate be a real rival to the laptop. You'll have to download the Google suite of word processing / spreadsheets apps (Apple's office apps are superior and free too though) but that's all you'll need to get working on the go.
As for a release date there's still quite a wait as it won't be launching until June 2015 – but that is a worldwide date so there's not much waiting around in certain markets.
Pricing details are a little harder to come by at the moment but we can expect the Xperia Z4 Tablet to be a little hard on your purse strings.
The original Xperia Z2 Tablet cost £399 for the lowest storage version whilst the Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet came out at £299 for the lowest version. We can expect the price to jump back up to the £400 mark and maybe a little extra this time around but we've got a bit of a wait to officially find out.