Sony Tablet S Review

Hiding in the shadows, Sony has been reserved in fully committing themselves into the Android tablet scene, but it seems as though they’ve been doing their homework while the competition brought forth its offerings. In this new venture, they simply decided on keeping every aspect in-house to have better control and say in what they want with their first Honeycomb tablet. And of course, they seemingly managed to turn some heads as news of the Sony S1 Tablet started to arise alongside its brother in the S2. Known now as the Sony Tablet S, this Honeycomb flavored tablet has a unique spin on the whole tablet design – while throwing in some differentials such as PlayStation Certification and the tight integration with some of Sony’s services. Starting off at $500 for the 16GB model, it obviously seems very reasonable, but it’s going to take more to stand head above water in a sea of crowded tablets.

The package contains:

  • Sony Tablet S
  • Lanyard Strap
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide


Rather than finding a typical looking tablet, the Sony Tablet S is one of the more ingenious looking tablets of late thanks to its ergonomically correct and unique design approach. Resembling the look of a magazine that’s folded over, we’re astounded from the beginning by the very different approach it takes with the entire form factor. Naturally, it doesn’t try to be the thinnest, as it gradually gets larger towards the back, but we’re taken by surprise by its remarkably lightweight feel  (21.09 oz), which is mainly attributed by its glossy plastic exterior. However, it easily is dirtied up by the usual smudges and other nasty baddies. Nevertheless, we really need to commend Sony for crafting something that’s so different from the usual crop – and it helps when it feels solid all around!

Equally as attractive, the 9.4” TruBlack display of the Sony Tablet S is astoundingly brilliant in output as it incorporates the same technology found with Sony’s Bravia television sets. Naturally, blacks are deep in tone to make us sometimes question where the black bezel of the tablet start and end. Moreover, its cooler looking color production manages to keep things looking nice and vivid – without appearing too oversaturated like Super AMOLED Plus. On the other hand, its 1280 x 800 resolution is more than adequate in producing enough detail with most things. Yeah, it sports an impressive design, but its display is able to captivate us in a similar fashion.

Unlike some other manufacturers, Sony’s engineers must’ve meticulously thought out everything about the tablet beforehand – like its physical buttons. Specifically, both the volume controls and power button, which have a good feel and responsiveness, are actually placed on the tablet’s recessed right edge at an angle. With its placement, they don’t get in the way of our palms as we hold the tablet in landscape. Additionally, there’s a green colored LED built into the surface of the right edge that lights up when notifications are received.

On the left edge, we only find its 3.5mm headset jack, with the microUSB port and full sized SD card slot hidden behind a plastic flap. With the microUSB port, it’s worth noting that it offers USB hosting support to accept peripherals like a memory stick, mouse, keyboard, or a game pad – though, you’ll need to purchase an adapter to get them connected.

Lined along the bottom left edge of the tablet, we find its proprietary charging port, which doesn’t leave us much confidence since the connector to charge it on the wall charger seems flimsy in construction.

Above the display, a front-facing VGA camera Is perched squarely in the middle to offer easy self-portraits and the option to do video chat. Meanwhile, there’s a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera in the rear – however, it’s sorely missing a flash of some sort. Finally, there are left and right speaker grills poking on both edges of the tablet to offer support for stereo sound.



1. dacastrator

Posts: 232; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

I'm getting one. Seriously.

4. rex0422

Posts: 30; Member since: Aug 12, 2011

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

7. dacastrator

Posts: 232; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

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

2. rex0422

Posts: 30; Member since: Aug 12, 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!

3. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

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

5. samatsmakov1

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 02, 2011

interesting design...)

6. dacastrator

Posts: 232; Member since: Sep 22, 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.

8. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

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

9. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 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..."

41. TKFox007

Posts: 303; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

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

10. iDroidx650

Posts: 83; Member since: May 26, 2010

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

11. dacastrator

Posts: 232; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

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

20. iDroidx650

Posts: 83; Member since: May 26, 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

12. Knicknevin

Posts: 153; Member since: Mar 18, 2011

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

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

21. iDroidx650

Posts: 83; Member since: May 26, 2010

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

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

42. rushzinn

Posts: 1; Member since: May 16, 2012

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

14. Messi10 unregistered

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

15. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 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.

16. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

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

17. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 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.

19. 225 unregistered

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

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.

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.

37. mhucky unregistered

I still like my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Its very light and convenient to use + its honeycomb as well......
Tablet S
  • Display 9.4" 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 2, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + SD SDHC
  • Battery 5000 mAh

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