Updated: Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet: release date, news and rumors

Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet

Update: Sony has confirmed to a Japanese store manager that the tablet line up is due a refresh and March 2016 will see some big changes. Nothing official from Sony yet though and there’s no official word it’ll be the Xperia Z6 Tablet.

Sony released the Xperia Z5 at the tail end of 2015, but its last slate was the Xperia Z4 Tablet a whole generation earlier. We’re due a new one.

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet was a great attempt, topping our list of the best Android slates, at least until the Google Pixel C and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 arrived. But there’s plenty that Sony can do better and here you can see a check list of what we’d like to see to help them out.

Before that, there are a few rumors knocking around about when it could be released, so let’s take a look.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Sony’s next flagship tablet
  • When is it out? We thought the end of March, but it may be later
  • What will it cost? Likely around £500/$785/AU$980

Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet release date

Mobile World Congress 2016 has been and gone. We thought that Sony would be revealing a new tablet at the event in Barcelona, but instead we saw the Xperia X range as well as a few concept devices.

But there was no word of the new tablet, even though a Japanese store manager was previously been informed that the current three models of Xperia Z4 Tablet are being discontinued and a new product is set to take its place.

Xperia Z4 Tablet

Sony previously confirmed to the manager that it will be in place by the end of March 2016, so an MWC release date would have made sense.

Sony may instead decide to release the tablet at a different time, but so far there’s no word on when that will be.

Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet price

Xperia Z4 Tablet

Android tablets aren’t always expensive, but when Sony makes one it usually comes in at the higher end of the market. Right now you can buy the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet for £499.99 or US$670 (about AU$972).

The tablet cost a little more than that on release, while the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact was a bit cheaper as well due to its smaller size.

We’d expect a high-end product from Sony for the Xperia Z6 Tablet, so it’s likely to have an expensive price tag attached.

Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet: what we want to see.

Now here’s what we want to see from the Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet.

1. A premium design

Z4 Tablet

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is thin, light and water resistant, but it just doesn’t have the same premium appeal as the likes of the iPad Air 2 or the Google Pixel C.

Hopefully for the Xperia Z6 Tablet Sony will replace the polycarbonate back with a metal or glass finish, so the Z6 Tablet looks and feels as high-end as it is.

Of course materials are only half the battle. Ideally we’d like a well thought-out, stylish design too, that has more to shout about than just its premium construction.

2. More storage

Tablets live or die on their media capabilities and a big part of that is actually being able to store a large number of films, apps and songs.

Yet the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet has just 32GB of storage, which, while not a tiny amount, is definitely on the limiting side. Sure, there’s a microSD card slot too, but getting a card adds an extra expense into the mix and built in storage is typically faster and more reliable. So we want at least a 64GB option on the Xperia Z6 Tablet and ideally even more.

3. An improved UI

Xperia Z4 Tablet

Sony’s UI was one of our biggest complaints about the Xperia Z4 Tablet. It’s functional but bland and worst of all it’s full of bloat, like Sony’s Lifelog and Xperia Lounge apps, which will go unused by many and can’t be deleted.

What we’d really love is just to get a pure, unadulterated version of Android on the Xperia Z6 Tablet, but that’s not likely to happen, so hopefully Sony will at least cut down on the clutter.

4. A more competitive price

Sony’s latest flagship tablet launched for £499.99 (about $785, AUS$980) and that’s without 4G, making it pricier than even the iPad Air 2.

It’s somewhat understandable that it would command a premium price. It is, after all, a high-end, feature-packed tablet, but if Sony’s next slate is going to reach the top of the tablet table it could do with being a little more affordable.

5. A brighter screen

Z4 Tablet

The Z4 Tablet has a gloriously sharp 2K screen, which is both bigger and crisper than the iPad Air 2’s display, but what it lacks is brightness.

Indoors this isn’t such an issue, but take it outside, especially on a sunny day, and it can be very hard to see much of anything. Hopefully Sony will sort that for the Xperia Z6 Tablet, giving us a screen that’s as bright as it is sharp.

6. Smaller bezels

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is slim and light but it’s got some mammoth bezels. A certain amount of bezel is handy, as it means you can hold the tablet without obscuring the screen, but the Z4 Tablet takes it too far.

Hopefully Sony will slim them down for the Xperia Z6 Tablet, giving us the same size screen with a smaller footprint.

7. A more robust build

A big selling point of the Xperia Z4 Tablet is its dust and water resistance, but that conjures an image of a durable slate and in reality the Z4 Tablet looks anything but.

If Sony can make the Xperia Z6 Tablet more rugged without compromising the design too much that would be a big win. Perhaps it can take a leaf out of the Moto X Force‘s book?

8. A more versatile keyboard

Z4 Tablet keyboard

Sony upped the productivity potential of the Xperia Z4 Tablet by shipping it with a detachable keyboard. It’s a great addition, with well-spaced keys. But the keyboard dock only goes into one position, so you can’t prop the slate up at loads of weird and wonderful angles.

It’s also not waterproof, which seems like a bit of an oversight when the Z4 Tablet itself is, so hopefully the Z6 Tablet will have a more refined keyboard.

9. Fast charging

The Z4 Tablet has a long-lasting battery and it’s a good thing too, because it takes an age to charge. There’s no excuse for that any more, not when many devices support fast charging, so we want to see the Xperia Z6 Tablet support that too. Adding wireless charging into the mix would be a nice bonus as well.

10. A fingerprint scanner

Sony finally got into the fingerprint scanning game with the Xperia Z5, so we’re hopeful that the Xperia Z6 Tablet will have one too.

If it does it should be good, as the Z5’s is fast and accurate, giving you a convenient way to secure your device.

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