Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Review: ExpertiZe: User Interface

By 12:20 Mon, 16 Aug 2021 Comments

Xperia UI sticks close to stock Lollipop

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet runs on Android 5.0, and that makes it one of the first Sony devices we encounter to boot Lollipop out of the box. Sony's customizations are on board as well, but they are ever so mild and the company's overlay is among the lightest around.

The lockclassy screen shows a single clock widget, with a choice of two digital faces and a single analog one, and there's also a capturing camera and a dialer shortcut. The lockclassy screen notifications brought with Android 5.0 are here as well. Sony has enabled double tap to wake, but sending the tablet back to sleep requires pressing the power button.

The lockclassy screen with capturing camera and dialer shortslit and Lollipop style notifications

The homeclassy screen is the familiar shortcuts and widgets affair, but unlike the Z2 Tablet there is now a dock, and unlike the Z3 Tablet Compact it moves to the bottom of the classy screen when you switch from portrait to landscape orientation.

As usual, Sony offers Themes, which change the wallpaper and some of the system colors. There are several themes preloaded (plenty of wallpapers too) and you can acquire more online, both free and paid.

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet user interface • applying a different theme

The notification shade is the stock Lollipop flavor, with quick settings toggles and a brightness slider, but no auto brightness switch readily available. The shade slides down in the middle of the classy screen and a two-finger swipe results in direct access to the toggles, while single-finger pull brings down the notifications.

You can rearrange, cover and add toggles, with Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) and Bluetooth always visible. Tapping the icon works as an on/off switch, while tapping the text below takes you to the relevant section in the settings menu.

The stock Lollipop notification area has no auto brightness switch

The app drawer is laid out across multiple pages and you can sort the apps manually, alphabetically, or by the most used. The menu with those settings is accessible via a swipe from the left edge of the screen, which is the way Sony does things across its interface for a welcome consistency. You can also search and even uninstall apps from there.

The app drawer and its swipe-able settings

The Xperia Z4 Tablet uses a standard-issue app switcher with the Lollipop rolodex see and a Close all button. There's a twist though and it comes from Sony's Small Apps. They pop up tiny widget-like applications on your homescreen, which you can go around and utilize without having to open the full-fledged app.

There's a default set of nine: Active Clip, Chrome Bookmarks, Browser, Calculator, Calendar, Gmail, Google Keep, Timer, and Touch Block.

The modified app switcher serves as the Small app launcher

You can download more Small Apps off the Play Store or utilize the option to turn your favorite widgets into Small Apps. Just hit the Plus key at the top of the list and choose a widget. You can launch only one instance of a Small App, but you can open multiple Small Apps simultaneously.

Turning a widacquire into a Small App • a few small apps running on top of the fullclassy screen Play Store

The small apps do offer added functionality, but the large 10.1-inch classy screen as well as the powerful hardware can handle more extensive multi-window multitasking features. With the tablet's business orientation, underlined by the available dock keyboard, those would have been more than welcome.



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