Sony Tablet S
• Creative Design
• Ice Cream Sandwich update
• Exclusive PlayStation content
• Cheaper than high-end tablets
• Slow performance against iPad 3 & Asus Transformer Prime
• Lack of applications
• Low camera quality
This isn’t a bad try by the developers at Sony; they’ve created a swell tablet, fitted with the newest Android operating system and added Playstation content. The creative design really works well and for near to £200 less than the iPad 3, I would say it’s worth the money.
I cannot say Sony have had the same pace at bringing out tablets as Apple and Samsung have, in fact, they’ve been quite distant. It seems as Microsoft begins bringing their operating systems onto smartphones and tablets, Sony is ready to face their video-game competitor.
The 9.4-inch display looks wonderful and provides a good amount of colour contrast. The brightness is pretty sharp, although putting it against the Tab 10.1; it again fails to beat it.
When streaming videos on the Tablet S, I found that I was never trying to press my eyes to look at the screen, and I always found the images and videos to be of a reputable quality.
It is now commonplace to just talk about how thin or how much the tablet weighs in this section, but not with the Sony Tablet S. Finally, a tablet has smashed out the oppressive design way that has ruled over most tablets since Apple first designed the iPad.
We were very happy to see this, and even happier to see Sony have pulled this new, innovative design off without any major problems.
What Sony have done is instead of the rectangle tablet design, they’ve thrown that script out the window and went for a wedge shaped tablet, one that has a great holding feature, making the tablet more steady and usable.
We found this is a vast improvement on the latest version of tablets; it makes the tablet sliding off your fingers or hurting your grasp near impossible, because the wedge makes keeping the tablet in place smooth and easy.
Of course, this has made the tablet a bit larger than its competition, but we aren’t complaining. The tablet doesn’t feel overly heavy, nor do I feel half the tablet is about to fall off because of weight issues.
The plastic design that Sony have added could be seen as cheap, but I think with the wedge design, having a steel tablet would’ve just corrupted most of the tablets sleek design.
This is an issue where you will find different views across the web, because we are just writing about this now, you will find that we are saying that the OS is Android’s 4.3 “Ice Cream Sandwich”, while some reviewers that wrote about the tablet a few months back state it is the 3.2 Honeycomb.
Sony recently moved up from Honeycomb, to the newest Android OS system – this was seen as a brilliant move from Sony, although they didn’t really get their timing right and it took a while before ICS was fully integrated with the Tablet S.
The operating system works well on the Sony Tablet S; you have a good amount of home-screens to store all your apps, easy multi-app processes and new settings exclusively for ICS, making it easier than ever to use your tablet to the fullest.
With most tablet app store (except i.OS) still growing, we wasn’t expecting the best from Sony in the line of apps. That being said, they have done some things to combat this issue.
Firstly, they’ve added the PlayStation original games as its own store – even though this store is quite fruitless, they do have some of the great old games from PS1. Hopefully, Sony will keep adding more new games onto the tablet.
The other app store is the Tegra Zone, which offers games created specifically for the gaming processor to handle; there is a good amount, although they are only for gaming.
The Tegra 2 processor was, until Tegra 3 came out, the best processor a tablet company could opt for. Sony went for the Tegra 2, only a month before NVIDIA unveiled their new Tegra 3. This made using the tablet for the first month a joy, even though the app store was slightly barren in its choice. Now, we find that the Asus Transformer Prime, that has the Tegra 3, destroys the Sony Tablet on gaming performance.
We are glad to see Sony have added aSDcard to their tablet, unlike some of the bigger tablets that believe internal storage is all users need. The SDcard can be expanded to 32GB’s.
Pricing on the tablet was quite weird, instead of Sony looking down on their competition in pity, as they do in video-gaming with their high-prices, they’ve come into this market with a cheap and powerful tablet, £200 cheaper than the iPad 3.
The Sony Tablet S has 3G connectivity for an added price. From what we’ve tested, we can see the Tablet S connections work very well when on a 3G network: streaming videos or playing online games didn’t buffer and we found that using the internet was a breeze.
Tablet cameras, rear and front, have always been something of a bore – we have only found one camera which tickles our fancies, and the Sony Tablet S doesn’t really impress.
The camera sports an average 5-megapixel rear, but we found that on testing the camera, the images looked dry and dull. The camera has a nice frame when taking photos and a few decent features, but they don’t really help towards the cameras quality issue.
The front camera has 0.3-megapixels, so we wouldn’t advise front-photos, as they’ll look obliviously noisy and pixelated. That being said, video-chat on the front camera is okay, but not as good as the iPad 3’s – especially since the iPad 3 has its own app dedicated to face-chat (FaceTime).
We found the battery life was pretty okay, until we started gaming or streaming videos. From what would be a nice 10-12 hours, we started to see the battery life surrendering at 4 hours.
Still, if you aren’t into movies or gaming that much, you will find that the battery life is quite good – you get about 10-12 hours and it can go as long as 40 hours playing just music, which is better than average.
This is looking tablet; nobody can argue that with the new design features, it makes the tablet look crisp, new and exciting. We are just disappointed that the some of the tablets features don’t maintain that exciting value. While the price does make this more middle-market than high-end, we find that the Sony Tablet S does enough to push it into that high-end market, but they face fierce competition.
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