Interface and functionality:

The Xperia Tablet S is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but Sony has pimped the stock interface up with a few useful tricks. First off, we have the Small Apps dock that we are familiar with from the newest Sony Xperia phones.

It allows you to lock a number of, well, small apps, on the screen, and carry on whatever you are doing underneath, while the tiny app is always on-screen, like a permanent widget that doesn't change along with your homescreen. There is a tiny browser in there, Calculator, Memo notes app, Timer and Recorder, Clip app for screen grabs, as well as Sony's Remote Control application.




More of those Small Apps can be added in the dock from the Play Store, but currently the selection is pretty limited. You can even lock widgets from the tablet to appear on the current screen at all times.

Another novelty is the Guest Mode, which allows you to share the Xperia Tablet S with friends and family with personalized homescreen looks and settings for each user, and restricted app access to areas you don't want anybody to pry into. For example, you can give the tablet to your kid, and only give them access to a certain game and that's that.




Sony Apps:

One of the handy features in the Xperia Tablet S is the universal remote control function via the infrared port. The Remote Control application accompanying it allows you to command your home electronics TVs, stereos and set-top boxes, and there is a rich number of brands and models preinstalled, or you can program it yourself, including setting up macros.



Another useful app for the couch potato in you is Watch Now, which curates shows running at the moment on up to 50 channels of your choosing, based on your historical preferences, but also based on how they are trending in social networks and news feeds. Once you spot a show you might like, you can just “throw” it to the TV in front of you by flicking its tile up with your finger, and the channel will change to the one that is running the episode via the universal remote control function. The way the app learns what channels you have is by typing in your ZIP code and cable provider at first launch. The Watch Now app doesn't come preinstalled, though, you'd have to download it separately.

Other Sony-specific apps on the tablet include the Sony Reader, which taps the millions of e-books available in the company’s catalog, and you also have access to the Sony Entertainment Network for multimedia content, where you can find 80,000 movies and TV shows, as well as over 15 million tunes. 
You will need account at that Sony Entertainment Network if you want to use the Socialife app. It aggregates your Facebook, Twitter and news feeds, arranges them according to your preferences, and allows you to play any media content spotted in the feed with a tap.



Another account you will need is for the PlayStation Network, if you want to get and play the limited amount of titles that are in the PlayStation Mobile Store for Android that just launched recently for select Xperia phones and tablets.


Processor and Memory:

The typical for Android slates of late quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.4GHz is powering the ICS interface with a slight hint of Sony features without any hiccups on the Xperia Tablet S.

We have 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal memory as a basis, but there are also 32GB and even 64GB versions of the tablet. Not much point in them, though, as Sony has supplied the Xperia Tablet S with a regular SD card slot, and one 64GB unit of those is less than $40 now to outfit your tablet with a total of 80GB storage. Out of the 16GB internal memory on our unit, 10GB are user-available, and the rest is for the operating system, and app installation.


Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Sony Xperia Tablet S42311154357.3
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1)2711499518.7
Asus Transformer Pad Infinity42041269339.6


Internet and Connectivity:

We didn’t have any trouble panning around, zooming and reflowing text with the stock ICS browser on the Xperia Tablet S. It runs well, and supports Adobe Flash out of the box, for the times you might need it.

The tablet sports the usual set of wireless connectivity options - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, A-GPS, and DLNA. Perhaps the best option present is the infrared sensor, which allows you to use the tablet as a universal remote control. As for wired connectivity, the slate can play a USB host, for connecting memory sticks for example, and there is a File Transfer app for sending files back and forth.


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