Sony Tablet S Android Slate Review - HotHardware

Sony Tablet S Android Slate Review

26 thumbs up
Fans of Google's Android platform are proving to be a patient lot. It hasn't been easy pulling for Android in the tablet space, which for a period of time was limited to a few overpriced and underwhelming Gingerbread slates. Things began to change when Honeycomb came out, the first version of Android designed specifically for tablets, but even then it started to feel like if you've seen one Android tablet, you've seen them all. Lately we've found ourselves asking, 'Where's all the innovation that's supposed to be associated with an open source platform, and with so many different manufacturers concentrating on Android, where's the outside-the-box mentality?" Apparently over at Sony, that's where.

Sony's Tablet S looks different than any other Android tablet you've seen before. It feels different, too. Breaking away from the cookie cutter form factor employed by everyone else, Sony took a chance on a unique design intended to mimic what it feels like to hold a folded back magazine. More than a gimmick, Sony says this custom form factor shifts the device's weight closer to your palm, making it feel lighter and more comfortable while you read an eBook or watch a Netflix video. It also allows the tablet to sit slightly raised on a table, providing a more natural angle for typing, a task that's historically been poorly replicated on tablets with on-screen keyboards.

Kudos to Sony for trying something new and different instead of releasing another "me-too" tablet, but is a wedge-shaped design enough to stand out in an increasingly crowded Android market? We're going to tackle that question on the following pages.  That said, this is a $500 tablet that's slightly smaller than the iPad, though significantly larger than Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet, a pair of low(er)-cost slates that are finding their way into millions of homes. Where does the Sony Tablet S stand in relation to these devices? We'll try to size that up for you as well here.

Sony Tablet S Specifications
Android 3.2.1 "Honeycomb"
  • Android 3.2.1 "Honeycomb"
  • Nvidia Tegra 2 processor (dual-core, 1GHz)
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 9.4-inch display
  • 1280x800 resolution
  • Capacitive multi-touch
  • 0.3MP front-facing camera
  • 5MP rear-facing camera
  • Full-size SD card slot
  • MicroUSB x 1
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Non-replaceable 5000mAh battery
  • Up to 8 hours
  • IR remote control function
  • 9.5 (L) x 6.8 (W) x 0.3 (D) inches
  • 1lb. 5oz
  • $500 (16GB); $600 (32GB)

The Sony Tablet S may look like a magazine or an oversized paperback book, but unlike the Kindle Fire, there's no question whether this is a glorified eBook reader or a dedicated tablet. It's clearly the latter, as evidenced by the 9.4-inch display, Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, built-in cameras, and the various input and expansion slots.

All of this comes wrapped in Honeycomb (Android 3.2.1), though hopefully Sony will unwrap an Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) update in the not-too-distant future.

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informative review. but you're bending over backwards and pulling punches by just not concluding flat-out: by itself it's a mediocre tablet. not a good choice to buy UNLESS you are integrating it with the rest of Sony's emerging ecosystem for its HDTV's, smartphones, game players and other hardware. besides the barely mentioned PlayStation Certified and integrated remotes, there is the new Sony Entertainment Network, Music/Video Unlimited, and more. 

and since product ecosystems are so important nowadays, a full review needs to detail how any product performs as part of a larger setup, not just stand alone. so what can we do with a Tablet S combined with a Bravia HDTV? that's what we need to know.

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Completely agree. Its one of the reasons I bought the original Tab 7 inch, it functions well as a remote too.

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This is overall great, i like that u can connect a playstation controller for play. Only thing i don't like is the design. why making it with that slant in the back? and it can't be flipped as a cover, which i though it could at first :D

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I can't believe how much fun I've had with this little thing. I had no intention of buying any tablet of any sort until I happened upon a review of the Sony and thought some of its features looked interesting. I went to BB and played with a whole slew of tablets and the Sony just plain felt better and easier to hold/carry than the others. Still, the price was high for something I didn't really need to own. A few days later I took a look at the Sony website and they were having a tremendous sale on the tablet that included the cradle, an extra charging cable and a screen protector. I ordered it immediately. A week later the price dropped and I contacted Sony and they credited the difference to my credit card the next day! There is a learning curve with the Sony Tablet, but it's a bit easier if you've had experience with other Android devices. Still, it's a good plan to become familiar with the online manual. It's unfortunate that most manufacturers have stopped supplying written manuals with their devices, but that's the way of business these days.

The tablet itself is really fun to play with. The remote alone is worth it's weight in gold! (Right now you can only control a PS3 with a workaround, but I think Sony will have an update before long to address that issue.) I've also had a good time with the DLNA. It's really fun to pull photos and music from my PC and 'throw' them onto the tablet or my TV. One surprise for me with the Sony is that I keep finding ways to actually use it in my daily life. It's become more than just a 'toy.'

About books: I'm a serious reader and I like the tactility of books. I've never had any desire whatsoever to own a book reader. I've just made some discoveries that may change that slightly. There are wonderful websites with literally millions of free books in the public domain. Many are classics from every genre imaginable. Project Gutenberg seems to be the oldest, but there are others. I've also discovered an amazing free utility called Calibre that helps keep written material organized. I still don't see myself reading a book on the Sony, but I will try out magazine articles and possibly some shorter fiction. I have a few minor quibbles with the tablet ie the whole data storage/transfer business with the SD card is just dumb, but that's another thing I think Sony will be addressing soon with the next software update. All in all, I'm really happy with the Sony Tablet and I would recommend it highly.

*Note: If you're will buy this Sony Tablet S, I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at ->

Hope this helps.

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