Sony Tablet S preview


Sony S Tablet is Sony’s first Android Powered Tablet, running Android 3.2  with Quick and Smooth UX overlay. Powered  by a Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 2MP front facing camera for video chat and 5MP camera in the rear with HD playback. The 9.4 inch tablet with a 1280×600 display is uniquely styled with a Sony imprint, moving away from the traditional flat tablet form factor. Sony has created a S book curved like shape with the S1 tablet that is raised, so you can place it on the table and have a good angle view of the screen. The S tablet also features a mini USB port an a SD card slot. The Sony S1 tablet is also PlayStation certified, so you can download and Play PlayStation Games on the tablet.

Specs

■9.4-inch display screen with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution
■1GB RAM
■16GB-32GB Storage
■Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor
■Android Honeycomb 3.2 OS
■Front  and rear facing cameras
■HD video playback
■DLNA support
■Sony Qriocity platform
■IR port for AV controls
■Wi-Fi
■3G/4G compatibility
■PlayStation Suite games
■Quick and Smooth touch panel UI
■Swift web browser

Performance and battery life

This is where we need to start the caveats. While the device we were given to review has final hardware -- the same you'll find in the box when this thing starts shipping in mid-September -- the software that's been flashed to it still has some revisions pending. That could certainly have some impacts on the performance and longevity of the thing, so bear that in mind as we say we certainly hope some fixes improve the experience here, because things aren't always seamless.

Like the best of the rest at the moment, the Tablet S runs on NVIDIA's Tegra 2 SoC and so it proves more than adequate at tackling graphics-demanding applications, including HD video and games. Overall, though, we found the tablet to be less than responsive. For example, the screen is a bit sluggish to come on after you've prodded the power button, and the device is often slow to detect rotation. Neither of these things are deal-breakers, but neither do they result in a tablet that feels like a proper screamer. Hopefully a few code tweaks will help here.

In terms of pure performance, though, we have no complaints. On the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark the Tablet S scored a healthy 2,117ms, very close to the 2,200ms our Galaxy Tab 10.1 scores. Meanwhile, we managed an average Quadrant score of 1,608 -- also unsurprisingly on par with the Tab.

 Battery Life
Sony Tablet S 8:35 
Apple iPad 2 10:26 
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 9:55 
Apple iPad 9:33 
HP TouchPad 8:33 
Motorola Xoom 8:20 
T-Mobile G-Slate 8:18 
Archos 101 7:20 
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook 7:01 
Toshiba Thrive 6:25 
Samsung Galaxy Tab 6:09 

Software

Again, Sony was quite clear that the stuff running on here is not final, so we're going to consider this more of an overview than any sort of judgement. We will of course come back with a full review in due time.

For now, the tablet is running Android Honeycomb 3.1, as you'd expect, and doing a reasonably good job of it. Sony being Sony, the Tablet S will offer a number of custom apps, starting with a Chumby emulation that can be run manually or set to go off automatically whenever the wedge is docked. It can also be used as a sort of remote control thanks to the integrated IR emitter and remote control software. There will be easy DLNA sharing, compatibility with the company's newly unified Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services, a pair of custom keyboards with word prediction (one with a number pad) and a bunch of other odds and ends that, by and large, have cool purple icons.

The most exciting addition in the software front, without a doubt, is the inclusion of the PlayStation Suite. PlayStation Certification makes the Tablet S the first tablet capable of playing PlayStation and PSP games via the included emulator (Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes are included), and this is definitely an area where the thing can stand ahead of the competition. However, it's disappointing that the company didn't take advantage of this situation by throwing some real gaming controls on here (that chubby binder edge has plenty of room for L1, L2, R1 and R2 -- if not more), and of course the PlayStation Suite continues to have a hugely disappointing selection of games. But, perhaps that'll change in the weeks between now and the release.

Camera

We're still not ready to give up our cameras and start capturing social events with slate devices such as this one, but should you find yourself at a birthday party with only a Tablet S, rest assured that those annual wishes will look decent. The five megapixel shooter on the back captures bright, clear (if a bit washed out) images that are reasonably presentable. Video, too, looked more than adequate, but came through largely without the accompaniment of audio -- despite recording on a rather noisy Manhattan street. We'll put that one down to software, too.

Conclusion.

The Sony S Tablet (S1) is a well designed and polish entry by Sony into the Tablet arms race. Sony has taken a slightly different approach to create this tablet. One where the deign lends to its use and looks to be  more of an in home device than one on the go. Which isn’t a bad thing. I must admitted the raised nature of the tablet does allow for easier viewing off a flat surface; meaning you don’t have to lift it up off a table.

On the down side, the lack of Qriocity at launch does limit the Tablet use and doesn’t full set it apart from other tablets. Though that should change once the service is activated for the Tablet. In all Sony has taken the right steps to create a tablet platform off Android Honeycomb and making it an entertainment centric Platform that truly feels like a Sony devices. The S1 tablet is a worthy buy.

Sony Tablet S preview Sony Tablet S preview Reviewed by Admin on 1:07 PM Rating: 5

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