The Sony Tablet S is a 9.4 inch Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) tablet powered by a dual
core 1000 MHz processor. It has an NVIDIA Tagra 2 graphics chip and is packed with 16 or 32 Gigabytes of internal storage with support for external SD Cards. Sony has released only a WiFi version of the tablet, but another 3G version is expected later in 2012.
The first thing we noticed about the S is the unique body shape with a nice curve on the top side to simulate a folded magazine. Sony claims that this ergonomically corrected shape makes the tablet easier to carry around and we have to agree. However, the S cannot be shipped into standard protective sleeves or covers as the thickness of the tablet varies from 10.1mm on one side (bottom) to 20.6 mm on the other(top), making it thicker than any other tablet on the market.
The screen is a beautiful-800 x 1280 pixels and 9.4 inches of vibrant colours that gave us beautifully sharp images even in broad daylight, thanks to Sony’s True Black technology contrast.
The S comes with a 5 MP camera on the back with no flash, and a 1.3 MP camera on the front. Both cameras are slightly disappointing as they don’t have any of the CyberShot features, as you would expect, and the photo quality isn’t that great. Sony could have used the thickness of the tablet to fit better cameras.
Sony is marketing the S as the ultimate entertainment tablet, and ships it with software and hardware features to support this purpose.
The tablet is PlayStation certified, which we thought would mean that we could download our favourite games from the PS Store. Unfortunately though the store has only has a few PlayStation games for this tablet so far. (You’ll need a PlayStation Network ID). You can still download more interesting 3D titles from the Android market; we tried playing Asphalt 6 and this is where the Tagra graphics chip really paid off.
Being PlayStation certified, we were told that you can connect your PlayStation Sixaxis or DualShock controllers as input devices, but we weren’t able to connect any of those neither by cable nor Bluetooth without having to root the device.
The stereo speakers on the tablet were clear and passable. We really liked the fact that you can connect the tablet via WiFi to any DLNA-enabled TV to view movies or pictures, and even play games on the big screen. The built in programmable remote control can be used to control any Infrared enabled device. It comes pre-programmed with the controls for many devices from different manufacturers, but you can still add other new devices and the software will learn the commands directly from the original remote control – process that is time consuming but pretty straightforward. Big plus there!
Sony has included a few other software features with the tablet. But we felt they hardly worth the wait,
Apart from that, there’s your standard were Honeycomb software capabilities, with a customised (slightly faster) browser, and a customised gallery with a Picasa-like interface.
The Li-Ion battery gave a pretty good performance compared to other tablets on the market, with up to 300 hours of standby, which is great considering the size of the charger unit they’ve included with the tablet.
The charger is bigger than any other mobile device charger we’ve seen and has a weirdly shaped charging/docking plug. This is a big letdown for us considering that the device already has a micro-usb connector that could have easily been used to charge the tablet using any of the units you probably have lying around your house.
VERDICT: Aye. If you want a tablet on your coffee table, with the convenience of
controlling your devices, playing movies and classic PlayStation titles on, this tablet
is for you. If you are a corporate user or someone constantly on the move, we suggest you look elsewhere.
This review was done by Fahed Sabbagh – proud geek and passionate blogger. You can catch him wax poetic on all things geeky at www.nerdyface.com.