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Sony Tablet S Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Interface:

Internally, the Sony Tablet S sports the same kind of hardware found with its brethren – like its dual-core 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. Of course, it operates at a good pace with most basic tasks, but things take a sharp decline as we experience an unprecedented amount of choppiness when processor intensive live wallpapers are activated. Still, it exhibits some fluid looking visuals with its operation when static wallpapers are used instead. Shocking us for the first time, we’re amazed that we’re no longer presented with choppy movements when navigating its homescreen in portrait, which seems to be addressed with Android 3.2 Honeycomb. Sure it has some slowdown, but we’re not all that heartbroken since it moves at a reasonable pace for the most part.

Out of the box, the tablet is loaded with Android 3.1 Honeycomb, but a software update quickly brings it up to version 3.2. With that, the first thing we notice is the improved operation in portrait with the homescreen. In addition, non-optimized tablet apps are able to scale properly to fit the real estate of the display. For the most part, Sony has kept a faithful stock Honeycomb experience, which is riddled with the usual high level of personalization, but we fully enjoy the subtle customizations that we find.

On the homescreen, there are some tiny icons positioned in the upper left that give us quick access to the web browser, email, remote control, and Sony eReader app. Furthermore, there’s this “Favorites” icon near the app panel icon that transplants us into this cool looking paneled interface with grids that aggregate some of the specified favorite content of the tablet. Lastly, the app panel also receives a major makeover as it employs this shimmering light theme with its grid-like formation. All in all, we’re enamored by the additional customizations that Sony has done on top of stock Honeycomb. It’s not in your face like Sense or TouchWiz, but rather, it’s subtle enough to add some luster to an already shining experience.

The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The interface of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review

The interface of the Sony Tablet S



Organizer and Messaging:

With the core organizer apps, Sony didn’t do anything drastic with their layouts or presentations – and instead, they basically kept the stock approach. For things like the calculator and calendar, they look and operate as they normally do on any Honeycomb device, but the desk clock app has a slight minimalistic and Metro-ish appearance.

Calendar - Sony Tablet S Review
Calendar - Sony Tablet S Review
Calendar - Sony Tablet S Review
Calendar - Sony Tablet S Review

Calendar


Calculator - The desk clock app has a slight minimalistic and Metro-ish appearance - Sony Tablet S Review
The desk clock app has a slight minimalistic and Metro-ish appearance - Sony Tablet S Review
The desk clock app has a slight minimalistic and Metro-ish appearance - Sony Tablet S Review

Calculator

  

The desk clock app has a slight minimalistic and Metro-ish appearance


Using either email or Gmail apps, they’re arranged in the same familiar two-panel layout as before – giving as a peek to our inbox on the left, while content is displayed on the right. Setup is always a breeze since it mainly requires our email address and password to set up generic account properly. In some instances though, it may require additional information to completely set up.

Gone is the stock Honeycomb keyboard, which we’re normally accustomed to using, and instead, we find Sony’s own home brewed option. Seeing that the Sony Tablet S sports a smaller sized display versus its larger 10.1” counterparts, the layout of its keyboard is  reduced – thus, scrunching up the already tiny looking buttons.

Gmail - Sony Tablet S Review
Gmail - Sony Tablet S Review
Gmail - Sony Tablet S Review
Gmail - Sony Tablet S Review

Gmail


The keyboard of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The keyboard of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The keyboard of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The keyboard of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The keyboard of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review
The keyboard of the Sony Tablet S - Sony Tablet S Review

The keyboard of the Sony Tablet S


Unfortunately, it’s not as responsive as we’d like, as it has some difficulty in keeping up with our rate. Not only that, but our overall speed is reduced because we need to access a different layout to input numbers and punctuations. Interestingly, there’s a different layout that adds a keypad on the right side whenever we input text into password fields. Lastly, the portrait option is easy to use despite the slow response, since our thumbs are able to encompass the entire layout with very little travel.

26 Comments
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posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:10 7

1. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


I'm getting one. Seriously.

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:30

4. rex0422 (Posts: 30; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)


Me 2! Good tablet to have- better than my samsung galaxy tab 10.1!!!

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:42 2

7. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


yea, the Galaxy Tabs' hardware designs are somewhat plain.

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:25

2. rex0422 (Posts: 30; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)


Good review, I like the way you organize your review!!! By the way, cool tablet to have- definitely getting one as you gave it a solid 8/10!

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:28

3. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


I'm still not convinced that I should go rush and buy this tablet. Maybe when ICS comes out.

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:32 4

5. samatsmakov1 (Posts: 3; Member since: 02 Sep 2011)


interesting design...)

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:41

6. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


I'm pretty sure that the devs can port the playstation app and some other interesting software from this one to different tablets pretty soon but I really love the hardware design of this one. It stands out from the crowd.

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 09:01 1

8. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


NICE! finally a hood honeycomb tab for me to seriously consider. I ain't having any of them Samsung or Asus products.

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 11:46 1

9. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


I like that sony decieded to be diffrent. Apple cant say anything to them when it comes to design. If I was in the market for a tablet this would be a winner. However windows 8 is making me hold off. Good review.

On a side note is this correct from the article:

"but Sony goes gone beyond the call of duty by adding..."

posted on 15 Oct 2011, 09:15 3

41. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


Just because it's design is different doesn't mean that Apple won't try and sue.

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 12:19

10. iDroidx650 (Posts: 72; Member since: 26 May 2010)


Is the sd card only for file transfers or can it be used to expand storage?

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 13:20

11. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


Sony's gotta be dumb to throw in a sd card slot just for file transfers..

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 19:40

20. iDroidx650 (Posts: 72; Member since: 26 May 2010)


idk, that's what I've been hearing, and even when there is an sd card slot, theres no option to move the app to sd card

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 13:29

12. Knicknevin (Posts: 136; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)


Does no one care that it has a proprietary charging port?? I praised the fact that most manufacturers are using MicroUSB these days...

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 13:58

13. CW12 (unregistered)


Nice review, I have this tablets for 2 days now. But the cons in this reviews are a bit justifiable.

Cons:
No HDMI-out
Slow response with its keyboard
Struggles to play 1080p videos

I manage to get HDMI out with an adabter so at least it works. Plus my TV is DLNA enable anyway. I can send and play media stuff from my tablet to the TV while people watch that streaming from my tablet via DLNA, i can play games or web browser on my tablet at the same time. too multitasking at it's fineness!

i don't have any problems with the keyboard yet, seems to be smoother to me than the galaxy tab 10.1 and i had the galaxy tab 10.1 for a while.

Struggles to play 1080p videos?
you need specific codec with specific byte rate to play full 1080p videos smoothly. I play 1080p video just fine and great frame rate and great audio syncing. check the instruction guide PDF on sony's website to see the proper 1080p codec and byte rates to use. convert your files in accordance to sony's guide and you should have no problem playing 1080p video. Any full 1080p video downloaded from the playstation network playback very smooth. this is like the first thing I tried. plus on a screen of this size with 1280x800 resolution, a 720p video looks just like a 1080p video anyway. i don't see any reason or benefits to play full 1080p video on a tablet.

i'd personally give this tablet an 8.5/10

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 19:41

21. iDroidx650 (Posts: 72; Member since: 26 May 2010)


can the sd card slot be used to expand storage???

posted on 03 Oct 2011, 17:01

27. ae2 (unregistered)


i just bought the tablet yesterday and the only thing that i complain is the lack of hdmi port, but you said that you actually manage to do that with an adapter, could you please tell me what adapter are you using?

thanks

posted on 16 May 2012, 09:54

42. rushzinn (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Can you please let me know what adapter you used to get HDMI output.

Thanks

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 18:23

14. Messi10 (unregistered)


PLAYSTATION, that one word already convince me to buy this tablet

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 21:41

15. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


If u want it to be a portable PS you should wait until Sony releases a version with a Kal-El chip which should be more future proof and offer a better gaming experience.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 01:54

16. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


just wait for the PSV. it'll have a quad-core processor and you can play live cross platform with the Playstation 3.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 02:09 1

17. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


it's nice but there's a few turn offs for me.

1. it has a Flap. me no likey the Flaps. i was playing with one at Best Buy and the flap was off and i was intently trying to put it back on because i wanted to get a good look at the Tablet without it looking like it was broken but the damn thing wouldn't go on. i was really annoyed about that.

2. i love the approach Sony has went with this thing's design but they should've rounded the edges a little more as it wasn't the most comfortable thing to hold.

3. as much as i'm all for mere subtle changes to a stock Android experience i think the icons on the homescreen went a little too far. i wouldn't want them there if i got one because i'm happy with the quick access methods i'm used to. i don't know if you can remove them or not so if you can you can scratch that complaint away.

4. i was a real hardcore gamer not that long ago so i think i can speak for all gamers when i say we want REAL shoulder buttons. they could've gave us some on this, in fact that top edge was begging for a set of shoulder buttons but nope, not there. it wouldn't be a big deal for something like a gameboy emulator but on a Playstation emulator we just really don't want our shoulder buttons on the same plane as the other controls however like PA said that's easily rectifiable with USB host support BUT being a Playstation certified device i think i'd want an actual mobile Playstation. also don't get this just because of it being Playstation certified, your money is much better spent on the Vita which has far more superior gaming features than this and will still be mobile.

other than my little complaints everything else is pretty solid, i especially like the display on this thing, just like PA said it brings those true black levels without the over saturation of SA+ which is a big +. xD not bad Sony, not bad at all.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:56 1

19. 225 (unregistered)


great design..thanks to sony for its work...................

posted on 01 Oct 2011, 18:20

25. Icecreamguy (unregistered)


I used one at Future Shop a few days ago....I really didn't like it's plasticy, hollow feel. It just felt cheap.

posted on 06 Oct 2011, 01:08

30. s-owner (unregistered)


Cons for me:

1. Cant rotate to rounded side for more comfortable holding in landscape mode.
2. Bulky charger. What were they thinking? The world is going usb charging.
3. No 3G/4G.

posted on 07 Oct 2011, 14:21

37. mhucky (unregistered)


I still like my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Its very light and convenient to use + its honeycomb as well......

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Sony Tablet S

Sony Tablet S

OS: Android 4.0 3.1
view full specs
Display9.4 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels (161 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
NVIDIA Tegra 2, Dual core, 1000 MHz
1024 MB RAM
Size9.50 x 6.86 x 0.40 inches
(241.2 x 174.3 x 10.1 mm)
21.09 oz  (598 g)

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