I was able to briefly play with Sony’s upcoming Android tablet simply named Tablet S courtesy of a certain guy from Manila Bulletin. Yeah you’ve probably know him. The same guy who I believe was the first to own an iPhone 4 in the country.
Well anyway, you just have to love Sony for taking the risk and designing things differently but beautifully at that. In a smartphone world full of iPhone clones, they came up with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. Tablets are boring design-wise but yet Sony made their Tablet S standout with a folded magazine look.
First thing I noticed with the Sony Tablet S aside from the distinctive shape was the clarity of the screen. This one’s not a 10-incher, in fact its screen is a tiny bit smaller than the iPad 2 at 9.4-inch but with a higher pixel density with its 1280 x 800 resolution. It also has Sony’s TruBlack panel which attributes to its sharp and clear display. It’s comparable to the BlackBerry PlayBook’s exceptional display.
The volume and power buttons are cleverly placed on the fold on the side which makes lowers the possibility of accidentally hitting them. On the left is the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port and a full SD card slot with a rubber covering which is a bit tricky to pull out. The SD card slot is only for media exchange so you can’t watch videos from it unless you copy it first to the tablet.
Underneath the bottom left is the weird-looking charging port. Not your typical 9-pin or 30-pin connector. The back has a glossy textured surface along with the 5 megapixel rear camera. Don’t mind the velcro strips on the rear, that’s part of the folio accessory.
Nothing much to say with the performance. With an NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, speed is comparable to other 10-inch Androids running the same processor. Sony slightly modified the UI and some of its built-in icons and included some cute animations when navigating. Watching videos is extremely nice with its sharp display.
Perhaps one of the things this Sony Tablet S has going for itself is the built-in remote app which allows you to control a lot of devices via infrared (IR). Makes me reminisce of the times I used to control air-conditioning units with my Palm Pilot. There’s a lot of built-in profiles for popular gadgets and appliances but you can also train it to mimic a particular remote, like your media player maybe. An old technology but a welcome sight, IR makes this Sony Tablet S unique as a tablet.
Overall, the Sony Tablet S is a fresh take on an Android. With a 9.4-inch screen, it doesn’t feel unwieldy and with the folded design makes it a nice tablet if you read a lot. The display is one of the best I’ve seen on a tablet and the IR remote function would prove really handy in a household full of remote.
During the new VAIO store launch early this month, I was told that this tablet wouldn’t make it for Christmas but will be arriving early next year instead. Only WiFi version is available and the pricing is $499 for the 16GB and $599 for 32GB.
Please forgive the crummy shots, I didn’t have my DSLR with me and the lighting was bad.
|Sony Tablet S Specs:|
|Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Tegra 2 T20 chipset|
|9.4″³ capacitive display @ 1280Ã—800 pixels|
|Sony TruBlackâ„¢ panel|
|16/32 GB storage, 1GB RAM|
|SD card up to 32GB for media exchange only|
|WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA|
|Bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP|
|5MP autofocus camera, 0.3 megapixel front camera|
|720p HD video recording @ 30fps|
|IR remote control function|
|Android OS, v3.1 (Honeycomb)|
|Li-Ion 5000mAh battery|
|241.2 x 174.3 x 10.1-20.6 mm|