Sony stepped in to the tablet market with their recent launch of two new tablets called Sony Tablet S and Tablet P. The tablet war has been going on ever since Apple launched the iPad, which has led so many companies to launch their own tablet devices. People love to use tablet devices, because it accomplishes almost all the normal tasks that otherwise needs a desktop computer or a laptop. We got our hands on one such Android tablet and here’s our complete Sony Tablet S review.
There are plenty of Android tablets available in the market, but there’s more than one thing common in them. For example, almost all the tablets out there have the similar rectangular slate design, similar processors, storage, memory etc. Even though the Sony Tablet S has all those ingredients, it does differ from any other Android tablet. Sony has gone thought radical and given their tablet a completely new and never before used design. Of course it’s still rectangular in shape and runs Android Honeycomb 3.2.1, but the design makes it stand out.
Sony Tablet S Review
The Tablet S was called S1 when it was first launched by Sony, then went on to be known as just Tablet S. When we first recieved the tablet, we reckoned it would be as all regular tablets are, but turning it on it’s back changed that. The company is known for making beautiful devices, take the Xperia Arc for example, a total beauty! Similarly, the Tablet S feels different when held, it’s also lighter than an Apple iPad and the touch just feels very touchy.
Sony Tablet S hands on Review: ShoutMeTech
Specifications and Features
The Sony Tablet S is pretty impressive from the inside, the hardware I mean. It’s powered by a Nvidia Tegra 2 processor running at 1 GHz that is supposed make the tablet run fast and smooth. It also has 1 GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The display is beautiful to look at, at 9.4 inches and with a resolution of 1280 x 800 it serves it’s purpose. However, the brightness isn’t that high, things may not be visible when you’re out in the sun.
A front facing VGA camera and a 5 Megapixel rear camera take care of pictures and videos. Other things like WiFi, Gyro, Digital Compass, BlueTooth 2.1 + EDR, Accelerometer etc, that all tablets have are indeed present.
Design and Build Quality
Like I mentioned before, the design of this tablet is very unique and it just works. It’s easy to be held, when in landscape mode and it feels very ergonomic. However, the design also has some flaws. Since it’s rounded on one side and slim on the other, when you hold it in portrait orientation, the tablet feels weird in your hand. I would say that if you had a weak hand, you’d probably drop it too.
The build quality isn’t something Sony thought much about, perhaps they were in a hurry and made do with plastic. It’s cheap, silvery and not cool, but it does help in reducing the overall weight of the tablet.
Buttons and Ports
Since this is an Android tablet, you will not find any hardware buttons on the screen. There are just the usual touch buttons that come with the Honeycomb UI. The volume rocker is on the right side, just below the power button. The power button also toggles screen lock and unlock.
On the left hand side you’ll find the standard 3.5 mm audio port and a microUSB and SD card slot that’s hidden beneath a plastic hideout. For charging the device, a separate port is provided on the bottom.
Display, Camera and Video
The display is crisp and colorful, but not very bright. Videos, photos, web-pages all look great on the display, but it would’ve been better if it were brighter. The touch sensitivity is amazing, on par with the Apple iPad if I must say and it’s super accurate and sensitive. Taking photos with the front camera is not a good idea, whereas the rear 5 megapixel camera is quite good. It comes with the Exmor Lens, which provides backlighting in dark environments.
But, otherwise, the photos and also the videos don’t come out that good. Also, the camera app is really slow, it takes about 3 seconds to snap a photo, what’s up with that? The video quality is average, but enough for a tablet!
Android, Apps and Performance
The Tablet S runs on Android Honeycomb 3.2, which looks impressive on first glance, but after an hour of use, starts acting out. While reviewing the tablet, I experienced at least 3 app crashes and a lot of lag. An update to the software, probably Android 4.0, will get rid of most of the problems.
The perfomance is good when gaming, watching videos or listening to music, but as soon as you turn the browser on, launch the Android market and other such apps, things get a little slow. I reckon it’s probably the software, because the hardware is great. The YouTube app is extremely slow to respond and takes a long time to stream and play videos. Wi-Fi keeps disconnecting for no reason, even when close to the router, and the browsing experience is sluggish.
Yes, since this is a Sony Tablet, it is PlayStation Certified. You can look and download games from the PlayStation Games app and the gaming experience turned out to be pretty good. I enjoyed gaming on the device, but it did take some time since it had to download some content for the game to work. So, yes, internet connection is a must. There aren’t many titles as of now, but if Sony does let’s is users access any PlayStation games, I’d definitely buy this tablet.
Remote Control and DLNA
This is a very interesting feature that I haven’t come across anywhere else, at least not when you buy a new tablet. The Tablet S has an inbuilt IR sensor and a Remote control app that lets you control your T.V, Home Theatre and other things that can be controlled via IR. It also has DLNA technology, using this you can stream your photos and videos to your DLNA certified TV or Laptop. However, we did not get to test out this feature, but we can confirm that it works and is universal. Out of the box, these small yet useful features do make this tablet different than others.
Practicality, Battery Life
The tablet is useful and handy, and the battery life isn’t bad at all. With minimal use, it lasted over 16 hours on full charge. Heavy usage brings that number down to about 6-7 hours, but that’s with Wi-Fi, gaming, YouTube and plenty more. As size and weight goess, the Tablet S is very much practical as it would easily fit in your bag and it’s easy to carry around. It is also good for daily use, unless you decide to drop it.
Sony tablet S price:
There are two models, a 16GB version and a 32GB one. Pricing was an issue before, as it was a bit overpriced at Rs. 30,000 or $499, but now, Sony has slashed the price by around $100 on both the variants for unknown reasons. And for that price, I would suggest that the Sony Tablet S is definitely worth the buy.
- Sony Tablet S 16GB – $399
- Sony Tablet S 32GB – $499
Here are some of the videos by ShoutMeTech team, which will give you enough idea about this new Android tablet from Sony.
Thus, taking all points, features, usage etc in to consideration, I would say that the Tablet S was a very good first try by Sony. It’s different, looks good and even though the plastic is cheap, it doesn’t feel all that bad in your hand. Some things could’ve been improved, like the brightness, software and perhaps the camera. All in all, a pretty good Android tablet, and that concludes our Sony Tablet S review. Give us your thoughs in the comment section!
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