Sony Tablet S (Android 3.2 16GB) Review
Sony may be late to the Android tablet party but it has turned up with something rather unusual and hopefully different enough from the iPad to not suffer the attentions of Apple’s hyperactive legal department.
Today we take a look at the Sony Tablet S, an Android Honeycomb (3.2) capable tablet which has impressive specifications and a design that sets it apart from the competition. Let’s find out how Sony aim to change what we feel a tablet should be like with our in depth review.
Being twice as thick at the back – where it’s about 20mm taller than the front – doesn’t make it any less easy to hold, but it does mean you can lay it on a table and still see what’s on the screen without having to crane over it, thanks to the angle.
Camera(5Mp at the top in the centre)
At the rear is a pair of slightly rubberised feet. They don’t stick out far enough to be a nuisance, just enough to add another degree to the screen angle and stop it sliding about if you use it one-handed on a polished surface.
The bulbous shape does make it extremely comfortable to hold one-handed as an e-book reader – the rounded end sitting easily but still securely against the palm. With 360-degree rotation on offer, both the right-handed and southpaws are catered for.
While smaller than the 10.1in norm, the touch display still notches up the 1280 x 800 resolution, resulting in a higher pixel density that makes everything look very sharp and crisp. It’s a very good screen in other ways too. Thanks to the IPS technology, it has excellent viewing angles and it’s very bright and vivid. Is it the best Android tablet screen to date? Yes, and by some margin.
Sony’s tablet is a mixed bag in terms of performance. For example, its beautiful TruBlack screen falls a little short in terms of overall brightness:
Another example is the optimised web browser, which prioritises image downloads so that pages appear to load faster, even if overall page download time isn’t necessarily improved. Like the TruBlack screen, it’s a feature we’re glad to have, but doesn’t come across as an improvement when measured objectively.
One standout feature that performed undeniably well was the 5-megapixel rear camera. Photos come to life with a vibrancy we haven’t seen on competing tablets. Little extras, such as a digital macro, manual exposure adjustments and preset scene modes, offer the kind of flexibility you’d expect at this price.
In terms of battery life, Sony rates the Tablet S at around 8 hours of mixed use. Full recharge takes around 5 hours of charge time using the included power adapter. The adapter uses a proprietary contact-only connection, which has the advantage of not wrecking the tablet if it becomes yanked. Unfortunately, the unique design means that you’ll need to go to Sony for a replacement if your adapter goes missing.
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Sony is to be congratulated for the innovative design, light weight and excellent screen of the Tablet S. And while it can share and display content on other devices using DLNA, this networking option is notoriously picky and relies on there being compatible kit available. For me, you can’t beat the no-nonsense connectivity of an HDMI port or full-size USB 2.0 socket, and so I’m left feeling Sony deserves a bit of kick for not fitting them when the bulbous rear of the Tablet S clearly has the space