Hey, what's that tablet that looks like a flip notepad over there? Why, a Sony one, of course. Sony rebranded its tablet line to fall under the popular Xperia tag that users already associate with its Android devices, and the first fruit of that effort is the Xperia Tablet S.
It sports that signature “flipped” look that Sony introduced with its Tablet S last year, but is much slimmer than Sony's first Android tablet effort, flaunts a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, higher-res camera, and... that's about it as long as upgrades go.
Sony is betting to stand apart from the Android tablet competition not only by the unique design of its slates, but also by the One Sony concept for seamless communication across its electronics devices, the PlayStation certificate, and the wonders in the Sony Entertainment Network content. Are those differentiating the Xperia Tablet S enough? Read on to find out...
The “flipped notepad” look of Sony's first tablet is kept in the Xperia Tablet S, but the part that flips over is much shorter now, covering just about a third of the back. It turned out quite practical while holding the tablet for a prolonged period of time, comfortably supporting the slate on your finger. That curved part also proved very useful for carrying the Xperia slate around with one hand, and is patterned with tiny dots that help the grip even further. The overall build quality, while plastic, feels rather sturdy. The tablet is also rated as splash-proof, but Sony just listed some troubles with that feature in the first batches, so those tablets already sold will have to make a pit stop now.
Despite the back flip, the Sony Xperia Tablet S is much thinner than the first Tablet S now, at 0.35” (8.9mm), which go to 0.47” (12mm) in the upper part, and also slightly lighter.
The back is quite tapered towards the edges, which helps while holding the tablet, but the proprietary connector at the bottom is rather recessed, making it more difficult to plug a cable when the tablet is in a case, for instance.
There is a regular SD card slot up left, covered by an easy to pry open protective lid. The lock/power key and the volume rocker on the upper right are easy to find and press, and there is a quite visible LED notification light above them.
9.4” 1280x800 pixels screen , surrounded by fairly thick bezel, where you can rest your thumbs comfortably. That screen resolution is the main gripe to be held against the Xperia Tablet S, in this day and age of flagship slates with 1080p displays and above. It is not a bad screen in terms of colors, contrast ratio and viewing angles, but the display brightness is about average, meaning that you'd barely be able to discern a thing outside on a bright sunny day, even at maximum luminance.