Sony Tablet S Review, What’s Good, What’s Not

Sony Tablet S is a “love it” or “hate it” kind of tablet (in terms of the unique wedge shape design). According to Sony, the wedge design is for a better grip in Portrait mode. Do you like it? I have asked around. Some like it a lot, some just hate it.

Introduction

The market is saturated with tablets of all shape and sizes. Sony Tablet S defers itself with its unique wedge shape. It comes in 16GB and 32GB with SD card slot. The tablet was launched in Singapore in September and available in the local market from October. It is strange that Sony did not manufacture a 3G version. At this moment, Tablet S is connected to the Internet via WiFi.

The Shape and Screen

As mentioned earlier, love it or hate it. I have to say that the wedge design does make it comfortable for you to use in portrait mode.

From the side. The wedge design is helping you to grip the tablet nicely in your hand.

However, in my opinion, Android Honeycomb seems to be designed in such a way that it looks more comfortable (or normal) in horizontal mode.

For me, I would prefer a traditional shape (means same thickness throughout). The reason is simple. It is easier to store. I have some hard time to store this tablet due to its unique shape.

The Tablet S comes with 9.4-inch IPS screen. Unfortunately, it is a fingerprint magnet. Within 5 minutes, the screen is smudged with my fingerprint and super reflective.

If you see the pictures later, you might understand why I took some of them in awkward angle.

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Here are some views of the Sony Tablet S

Back

Close up of the 5-MegaPixel camera.

Wedge side

The front side

Did you notice the connector port? Here is a close up.

The sides

If you notice, there is a speaker (on each side). Here is a close up.

Here is a picture with the compartment opened. It has a Micro USB port and the SD card slot.

The other side.

There are no buttons on the  display side. The buttons are located on this side. Here is a close up.

BTW, there is a front facing camera.

 

Usage

I will not talk too much on Android Honeycomb (Android 3.2) as it looks similar in many tablets. As for the sensitivity of the screen, I must say that the tablet is very responsive to touch. The scrolling and swiping are smooth. One of the features on Sony Tablet S is the incorporation of Infrared sensor into it.You can now control appliances using the remote control app.

Remote Control App

 

I had found configuring the remote control app to control my Sony Bravia TV and my cable box quite easy. There are two mode. One is “Easy Registration” and the other is “Learn from a remote”.

You can find many familiar brands inside it. Once you selected, you can use the tablet as a remote immediately. It even has gestures for some functions.

For the “Learn from a remote”, you can configure the tablet to understand various keys of the remote.

I taught the app to understand my cable box remote. It took a while as I had some difficulty to let it “learn” from the remote. Once I understand the concept, it is easy to configure them. I realized the easiest way is to keep pressing the button until is is registered as learned.

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Once configured, it is really nice. Imagine, surfing the Internet and changing the channel and activating appliances from the tablet. BTW, this tablet has DLNA. So DLNA compatible devices can communicate with this tablet.

Camera

I love the main camera on this tablet. The camera is just 5 MegaPixels but the pictures are very sharp. I suspect that Sony has done a lot of contrast and sharpening on the pictures.

Here are some samples. Shot at 5-MegaPixel and resized to fit the post.

SD Card Slot

The inclusion of a SD card slot is a great move. Many compact cameras and entry level DSLR are using SD card. It will be a bliss to transfer files to the tablet.

Charger and the Charging Port

I really hope that Sony can improve on the charging connector. It looks flimsy (although not) and it actually does not compliment the overall look of the tablet. I don’t know if you agree with me but I don’t like it. Here is how the connector looks like.

Games

I am not a gamer. This Sony Tablet S is PlayStation Certified tablet. Based on my understanding, it means that it is able to play original PlayStation games.

Summary

I do think that Sony is trying to be different from other tablets currently in the market. With its unique design and simple thoughts (infrared sensor), this tablet can sit comfortably at home for various usage.

If you are a heavy Internet user and always on the move, the tablet without a SIM card slot might be a problem. Overall, the built is good.

In my opinion, this tablet will be a great device for home use. However, people that I know mentioned that they brought it out for any occasion. It has DLNA that allows you to view pictures, videos on big screen (provided that the devices are DLNA compatible). It has a great remote app to control multiple appliances.

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“Sony Tablet” S is available in both 16GB and 32GB version for $668 and $798 respectively and is available in Singapore from end-October 2011.

Thank you Sony for sending the review unit.
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