Sony Xperia Tablet Z 4G Tablet Now in U.S. for $649

The Sony Xperia Tablet Z is dust- and water-resistant, the thinnest and lightest LTE tablet in the world, and now available in the United States.

Sony is now selling an unlocked version of its Xperia Tablet Z 4G LTE in the United States, it announced Sept. 4. The 16GB model, which is compatible with the T-Mobile and AT&T networks, can be purchased in Sony's retail and online stores for $629—the same price as the WiFi- and cellular-equipped 16GB Apple iPad.

Sony first introduced the Tablet Z in January for the Japanese market.

According to Sony, it's the "world's thinnest and lightest LTE tablet" and has the "most vivid HD tablet display ever."

The Xperia Tablet Z measures 6.8 by 10.47 by 0.24 inches and weighs 1.09 pounds.

Like its companion Xperia Z smartphone, it's a looker. The 10.1-inch TFT display has a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels and a second-generation Mobile Bravia Engine, which Sony says can "analyze content type and adjust the image accordingly."

It also features OptiContrast. Sony explains, "We've eliminated a layer of air in the construction of the Xperia Tablet Z, bringing the touch panel closer to the display. This OptiContrast panel makes for less reflection and clearer viewing—even in bright sunlight—as well as creating a seamlessly black surface when the HD tablet is turned off."

Integrating the sensor on the lens, Sony adds, also increases the responsiveness of the screen.

The blackness of the surface is part of what's so striking about the tablet, along with its lithe physique and the other materials used. It has a tempered-glass front panel, reflective surfaces on all sides, an aluminum power button and what Sony calls a "skeleton frame."

Then there's the fact that it—like its sleek-and-glassy smartphone counterpart—can take a dip into water. According to Sony, the Tablet Z has the "highest level of water resistance of any tablet."

As the Daily Mail reported in June, you can cook with it beside you at the stove, and if it gets greasy, rinse it off under the tap. Even more useful, you can drop it facedown in a way that might sound Taps for the iPad but be able to pick it up and keep going.

The Tablet Z runs Android 4.2, has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, and includes Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) connectivity technology. It also has an 8.1-megapixel rear-facing camera—with an Exmor R sensor that Sony says takes "exceptional photographs" even by candlelight—and a 2.2-megapixel camera up front.

In addition, it features One-Touch Connection, which lets users connect to other devices—Android smartphones, TVs, speakers and more—with what Sony promises is a single tap. "No wires, cables or fiddling with settings necessary."

And while the Tablet Z can be used as a universal remote for an entertainment system, those who own Bravia televisions can tap the tablet to their remote to have the tablet's display mirrored on the larger screen.

While the Xperia Tablet Z 4G LTE is of course LTE-capable, to connect via more than WiFi you'll need to contact AT&T or T-Mobile to activate it.