Sony Tablet S Review


Turning our eyes to the camera app, it’s sporting Sony’s concoction, which so happens to minimize the viewfinder while adding this film reel for recent snapshots. On the right, there’s a large sized shutter key and toggle switch for the front-facing camera. Meanwhile, the left edge hosts a whole set of other icons that allow us to change the exposure, resolution, white balance, scene mode, and focus mode. Sure there are plenty of options available with it, but it’s slim in terms of manual options.

Sporting a 5-megapixel auto-focus snapper in the rear, the Sony Tablet S manages to capture some average looking shots that are more than acceptable to the eyes. Specifically, close-up details are rather soft in outdoor conditions, with colors appearing to be on the neutral side. Thankfully, it seems to handle macro shots with ease thanks to its sharp focus. However, indoor shots tend to come out a little bit overexposed – with low lighting shots riddled with graininess and fuzzy looks. Of course, it could’ve been countered with a flash of some sort, but it’s strangely missing with this one.

By now, we’ve been spoiled by 1080p video recording, but sadly so, we’re only given 720p with the Sony Tablet S. Again, details are on the soft side, but it manages to still come off appealing with its natural color production, continuous auto-focus, and smooth capture rate of 30 frames per second. Horrifically though, our ears are left recovering after hearing some of its squeaky and echo filled audio recording. It could’ve been great, but our ringing ears are telling us otherwise.

Sony Tablet S Sample Video:

Sony Tablet S Indoor Sample Video:


In addition to finding the already illustrious looking stock Honeycomb music player, Sony throws in its very own, which is arguably the best we’ve seen thus far on anything! Yes, it’s a bold statement, but it goes beyond just giving us a beautiful looking presentation as there are a lot of interaction and personalization offered by it. When browsing through albums, we get this cool looking 3D album cover interface where we’re able to move and pick up albums and place them anywhere on screen.

Once a selection is made, it displays the normal things we find – such as the album cover and on-screen controls. However, we utterly adore the eye-candy filled visualizations that are available with its selection – with one of them displaying the lyrics as a song is being played. Lastly, there are preset equalizer settings and manual ones to better adapt to the genre of music we’re playing. In terms of audio quality with its two rear speakers, they’re strong in output, but crackle at the loudest volume.

[img full [[98675,98676,98679,98677],[98680,98681,98684,98683]]:"The Sony music player offers cool looking 3D album cover interface
where we’re able to move and pick up albums and place them anywhere on screen" /]
Again, there’s an alternative Sony inspired video gallery available with the tablet, which incorporates the same 3D stacking interaction like the music player. Sadly, the tablet struggles to play our test movie trailer encoded in MPEG-4 1920 x 1080 resolution. Nonetheless, it’s better able to play videos in lower quality, like 720p ones, with relative ease thanks to its flowing movement and brilliant looks.

Available on most Honeycomb tablets, the Sony Tablet S unfortunately omits any hard-wired video-out connection, but thankfully enough, there’s always DLNA as an alternative. With most of the multimedia centric apps, like the picture and video galleries, there’s a button that quickly enables us to share content with compatible devices wirelessly. Though nice, it still would’ve been an icing on the cake to find some sort of quick and easy video-out function.

For its entire multimedia centric prowess, the tablet is one of the few to be blessed with the ubiquitous “PlayStation Certified” branding, which allows it to play original PlayStation games with its emulation software. Not surprisingly, Crash Bandicoot is preloaded to give us a sampling, but we’re not too keen on using its on-screen controls – it simply doesn’t offer the responsiveness we’d like. Fortunately, you can remedy the situation by connecting a game pad thanks to its support for USB hosting. Additionally, Pinball Heroes is preloaded on the tablet as well.

Packing an IR blaster under the hood, the tablet is essentially a working universal remote with the aid of the remote control app. Not only does it work with Sony branded TVs, but we’re able to easily setup other brands and devices as well – like our DVD player and DVR box. Definitely not something you see often integrated with a tablet, it’s undoubtedly yet another sweet offering that complements the already awesome experience.

Available in 16GB and 32GB capacities, our 16GB model actually offers less than 9GB of internal storage – with another 4GB strictly reserved for apps. Well, there’s always the full-sized SD card slot to increase its capacity if it’s simply not enough for your needs.

Internet and Connectivity:

Relying on a Wi-Fi connection, complex web pages like ours are able to load up in a short amount of time – even allowing us to start interacting with the site the moment content begins to appear. Overall the web browsing experience is pretty good thanks to its smooth navigational controls and kinetic scrolling. And of course, Flash support is there in full form to provide us that near desktop-like experience. All in all, it runs moderately fine like most of the Honeycomb tablets out there.

Currently, the Sony Tablet S is only available in Wi-Fi form, but it’s reported that future versions will gain cellular connectivity. In our experience, it’s able to solidly connect to a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot with no apparent issues with signal strength or fluctuations. Also, it features other connectivity options like Bluetooth 2.1 and aGPS. As we mentioned already, it offers USB hosting support with its microUSB port, which allows us to connect USB peripherals to it.



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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