Sony Xperia Tablet Z review

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Growing up, I read constantly. I read at the breakfast table, on the bus, in class (though usually not the book I was supposed to be reading), at lunch, at home, and in bed. My parents mostly supported my bibliophilia, save one weird habit: I used to read in the shower. I would stand in there, water running down my back, holding my book out and reading. I’d do this for hours, given the chance — eventually, my mom learned to bang on the bathroom door 10 minutes after I’d started “showering” and yell “Put the book down!” Then she’d smell my hair to make sure I’d put Matt Christopher down long enough to actually use shampoo.

My habits have changed since then, but I miss all the reading time I once had. Which is why, when the waterproof Sony Xperia Tablet Z came into The Verge’s office, I knew exactly how I needed to test the $499 slate. From the shower to the pool and everywhere in between, this light, thin Android tablet seemed like the perfect companion for reading, and even watching movies and listening to music.

Plus, I just started reading Dan Brown’s new book, Inferno, and putting it down is virtually impossible. So, with apologies to my mom and the New York City water supply, I grabbed my Tablet Z and hopped in the shower.

The tablet’s purest form

Like the iPad is “just a big iPod touch,” The Tablet Z is just a big Xperia Z. A slightly better version, maybe, because the tablet’s soft-touch matte black back feels a lot better than the phone’s glass panel. It’s glass on all other sides, though, interrupted only by a tiny rubber bumper around all four edges. Once again, the power button is the most distinctive design touch, a lone silver sphere in a sea of black — it looks and feels good, but it’s way too easy to press, and that meant I often pulled the Tablet Z out of my backpack already turned on and running.

IT’S THE WORLD’S BEST SHOWER RADIO

 In fact, some scary things happened: a stream of water constantly pressed buttons, opened apps, changed settings, and at one point actually deleted Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon from the tablet entirely. The Xperia Tablet Z is not by any stretch a tablet you’ll want to use in the water — it’s just a tablet that can go in the water and not be totally ruined.

Still, there’s something wonderful about using a tablet that’s not afraid of a few drops. Because it’s so unpredictable when it’s soaked it’s not great for reading or anything involving a lot of touching the screen, but for the most part I could start a podcast or a song and let it play — the Tablet Z is a little bit like the world’s best and most expensive shower radio. More often, I just appreciated the peace of mind of knowing that a drop of water from the sink wouldn’t ruin my tablet while I brushed my teeth, and my semi-annual spillage of my drink all over my desk wouldn’t mean I flushed $500 down the toilet. Most of my gadgets are precious objects, to be treated with the utmost care lest a breeze come along and ruin them forever. I loved having one device that I didn’t have to worry about all the time.

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