Home' LAPTOP Magazine : November 2011 Contents tabletS
To challenge the iPad, Sony knows that it
can’t just slap its brand on an Android tablet
and expect shoppers to open their wallets.
So the company took its time bringing the
Tablet S to market. This sleek device accesses
Sony’s music, book, and video stores, and it
comes with two PlayStation games—with more
on the way.
The Tablet S sports what Sony calls a fold-
ing design, and we really like it. When held in
portrait mode, the left side of the tablet has a
thicker rounded edge that’s meant to mimic the
look and feel of a magazine. The design tapers
from 0.8 inches all the way down to 0.3 inches
on the right side.
The bottom side of the Tablet S houses the
headphone jack and a tethered cover for the
microUSB port and SD card slot. This felt flimsy
and just got in the way. Another strike against the
design: Sony didn’t include an HDMI port.
At 9.4 inches, the Sony Tablet S has a smaller
screen than the iPad (9.7 inches) and the Galaxy
Tab 10.1. However, this 1280 x 800-pixel panel packs
a serious punch, thanks to TruBlack technology.
We enjoyed very vibrant colors and deeper blacks
when viewing the Contagion trailer in HD.
Sony Tablet S users can access 2.5 million
books, 7 million songs, and more than 6 million
movies and TV shows. That’s because the slate
comes pre-loaded with Sony Music Unlimited, Sony
Reader, and Sony Video Unlimited. So it’s clear that
Sony wants to offer an iTunes alternative.
One of the biggest reasons for picking up the
Sony Tablet S is that it’s PlayStation certified. That
means you’ll be able to download classic PS One
and PSP titles online, but Sony couldn’t tell us how
many titles will be available at launch.
The bundled Crash Bandicoot game had old-
fashioned controls and blocky graphics, but a pinball
game was more engaging and touch friendly.
The Tablet S includes a dedicated DLNA app
that walks users through sharing music, pictures,
and videos across a home network. To test out
the app, we attempted to connect the tablet to
a 50-inch Samsung TV with DLNA capability.
Frustratingly, we received an error message
when the Tablet S searched for nearby media
servers. At least in our experience, using DLNA on
the Tablet S is like an advertisement for Apple’s
more intuitive AirPlay.
One of the coolest features of the Sony Tablet S
is that you can use it as a universal remote control.
We did run into one problem, where our cable
remote’s volume controls didn’t get replicated,
but the app is smart enough to learn commands
from your remote just by pointing it at the Tablet
S and pressing the appropriate buttons.
Thanks to Sony’s Quick View technology in
the browser, the tablet loaded many sites faster
than a Galaxy Tab 10.1. For example, it took the
Tablet S 8 seconds to load NYTimes.com versus
14 seconds for the Tab.
On the graphics front, the Tablet S scored 7,625
in An3DBench. That showing is comparable to what
the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (7,616) and what the Lenovo
K1 (7,524) turned in.
The Tablet S lasted 8 hours and 31 minutes
on the LAPTOP Battery Test. That’s a fairly good
runtime, well above the 6:51 average.
Sony has succeeded in making an Android tablet
that brings to bear a lot of the company’s strengths.
The design is unique and has a premium feel, the
display is fantastic for watching video, and it’s pretty
nifty to be able to use this slate as a remote control.
Certainly, having PlayStation certification gives Sony
Sony’s Seriously Fun Tablet
the Sony tablet S provides lots of entertainment options—including
PlayStation games—in a sleek design.
an edge against the Galaxy Tab, but we don’t know
how many games are coming to this device and how
much they’ll cost.
Right now the Tablet S is a work in progress, so
our 3.5 -star rating reflects our opinion of the device
based on its design, overall performance, and the
apps that were working during our testing. If Sony’s
entertainment apps work as advertised and the
PlayStation game catalog ramps up quickly, the
Tablet S will catapult into the top tier of Android
— Mark Spoonauer
CPU: 1-GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 Operating System:
Android 3.1 RaM/ROM: 1GB/16GB Display Size/
Resolution: 9.4 inches/1280 x 800 Wireless:
8 0 2.11b / g / n Ports: microUSB, headphone Size:
9.5 x 6.8 x 0.3 inches Weight: 1.3 pounds
Stylish and ergonomic design
Excellent TruBlack display
Doubles as remote control
Access to Sony’s book, video, and music stores
Streaming content via DLNA hit or miss
No HDMI port
Trouble holding onto Wi-Fi signal
Annoying port cover flap
The flap covering the Tablet’s ports became annoying quickly.
CLICK to pLay vIdeo
Watch us put the Sony tablet S
through its paces.
Laptop | November 2011
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