iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

Which full sized tablet will reign supreme?

iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8 9

Forget the iPad 5, it's called the iPad Air and it's been shoved out of the rumor mill and onto the mainstage. Apple has shaved millimeters off its 10-inch tablet's frame, dropped its weight, given it some new free apps and styled it in space grey like an iPhone 5S. Most importantly, its given it a 64-bit processor described as "eight times faster" than last gen's chip.

So it blows away the iPad from 2010, but how does it stack up next to its biggest competitors? It's a battle of the 10-inchers as we give you the blow-by-blow and spec-by-spec of the iPad Air against the Nexus 10, Xperia Tablet Z and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.

iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8 9

Designed by Google, built by Samsung, the Nexus 10 may be a stock Android golden child, but it has the disadvantage of being the oldest tablet on this list. Released in November 2012, it's practically ancient in tablet terms. Google fans in need of a 10-incher may want to wait for the refresh.

The Xperia Tablet Z is Sony's offering. While it's a bit lower res than the other guys, it has two aces up its sleeve: microSD and a waterproof build. That's right, spill away on this slate.

Finally, the Kindle Fire HDX is Amazon's portal to its world of stuff. It'll hook you into one-click purchases, music and photos in the cloud plus a library of streaming videos and free ebooks for Prime members.

Remember, this is just an early view. Keep checking back for our exhaustive review of the iPad Air, as well as the iPad Mini with Retina Display, coming soon.

iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8 9

iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: display

A tablet has to have a gorgeous screen, right? You're going to stare at it for movies, fill it with your pictures, poke at it for games and web browsing, and then wipe off those smudgy fingerprints. Goodness, what grease.

Surprise, surprise, the iPad Air has a Retina display. Retina still seems to be Apple's standard. It didn't give any specific during the announcement, so we're assuming it's the same 2048 × 1536 resolution as the last iPad, with a pixel density of 264 ppi.

iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8 9

While it's hard for the human eye to actually tell, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and Nexus 10 are both Retina beating on paper, each with a lovely resolution of 2560 x 1600, with a ppi of 339 and 300, respectively.

The loser here is the Tablet Z, which comes in at 1920 x 1200, 224 ppi. Do remember that while the HDX is most dense display, it's also the smallest, 8.9-inches while the other guys are both 10.1.

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iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: storage

How many pictures, games, movies and apps can you cram on the new iPad? 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or even 128GB worth, depending on how much cash you'll part with.

This is where the Xperia Tablet Z review needs to be highlighted. While you can get it in either 16GB or 32GB, you can add up to 64GB with microSD. Of the four compared here, only Sony chose to include microSD in its tablet.

iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8 9

Meanwhile, the pure Android Nexus 10 comes in 16 or 32GB, and Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX goes from 16GB to 32GB, all the way 64GB.

Don't forget about formatted storage. Your tablet's operating system will take up several gigabytes of space, so that 16GB you're eyeing could get pretty slim. Check for the formatted (available) storage before you buy, and consider sizing up to a 32GB if you can.

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iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Xperia Tablet Z vs Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: dimensions and weight

Like a MacBook Air, an iPad Air is super svelte Apple product. It weighs just one pound, and measure a skinny 9.4 inches x 6.6 inches x 0.29 inch (240 mm x 169.5 mm x 7.5 mm). It's not the thinnest tablet out there though.

That title belongs to the Xperia Tablet Z, which measures 10.47 x 6.77 x 0.27 inches (266 x 172 x 6.9 mm). It beats the Air only by a hair's breadth, but it's probably why Apple didn't claim to be the thinnest tablet on the market. It is a tiny bit heavier though, weighing 1.09 lbs.