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Sony Tablet S review

7.5/10 AVG.
RATING



7.5/10
Informr score
The Sony Tablet S currently has an Informr score of 7.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 25 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The Sony Tablet S is a unique-looking offering floating in a sea of Android tablet knockoffs. Where you would normally expect to see a 10.1-inch screen, there is a 9.4-inch panel. Instead of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, it runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb. And rather than the plain old rectangular tablet design that’s all but been ridiculously overused by now, Sony employs a quirky-looking—but not necessarily worse—setup. In other words, in a world where copying with a few minor modifications seems to be the norm, Sony took the road less traveled and gave the Tablet S as many distinguishing features as possible.

For instance, consider the fact that it bears the distinction of being PlayStation certified. If there was ever a tablet that was worthy of being considered by hardcore gamers, this is it. It also works with a proprietary charging port, and accepts full size SD cards instead of microSD ones.

Speaking of Android, this Sony tablet comes with Android 3.0 Honeycomb pre-installed and supports Adobe Flash. The latter will definitely be useful for those who enjoy streaming online videos, while the former shouldn’t be cause for concern because a free upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is readily available.

The market is littered with all kinds of Android tablets that are all-too similar. If you’re willing to pay the premium price commonly associated with the Sony brand name, then perhaps the Tablet S is just what you’ve been looking for.

Need To Know: Sony Tablet S

1. The 9.4-inch 1280x800 pixel resolution touchscreen LCD on the Sony Tablet S offers rich colors and the ability to display HD content. (The Good)

2. Although Android 3.0 Honeycomb is the pre-installed operating system, the Sony Tablet S can be easily upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. (The Good)

3. Content in the Sony PlayStation network for Android is very limited, moreso in terms of included games and software. (The Bad)

4. Battery life falls short of a full day’s worth moderate use per charge, and proprietary charger makes recharging difficult especially for those who are on the go. (The Bad)


Operating system
Android
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
9.4"
Camera
5+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Mobile88

Why would you pick up Sony's Tablet S instead of the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? On the whole, the Tablet is a very consumer-friendly device. You'd get it because you like how different it looks and how comfortable it feels in your hands. Plus, it also comes with a full-size SD card slot buil...

- Jennifer Ng, Mobile88
TabletPCReview

With the Tablet S, Sony provides a fine example for other Android tablet makers to follow. The Tablet S has a very different, but still innovative design from the iPad and other thin, large-screen tablets, and it has some great proprietary features and services not available for other tablets, like...

- Jamison Cush, TabletPCReview
TechTree

The retail box packs in a tablet, charger, a wrist strap, and a warranty card. The device measures 9.5" (l) x 6.7" (w) x 0.8" (d) and weighs around 600 grammes. The tab features a unique magazine fold-out design that props the screen at an angle when placed on a table. At the front is a 9.4" screen...

- Kamakshi S, TechTree
Ausdroid

Initially I dismissed the Sony Tablet S as too expensive, and there’s no question it would be much more attractive if Sony Australia had passed on the price cut it gave its US customers, but at $599 from Mobicity compared to (for example) $549 for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 I’d say it is worth the $50 prem...

- Matt Booth, Ausdroid
HotHardware

With so many Android tablets staring you in the face, it's easy to go cross-eyed trying to discern between product A and products B, C, and D. But once you get to S -- Sony's Tablet S, that is -- you're in a for a new experience, both visually and ergonomically. Sony rolled the dice on a unique desi...

- Paul Lilly, HotHardware


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Quick view

Screen Size
9.4"

The Sony Tablet S's screen size is 9.4 inches with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core A9 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on the Android 3.1 Honeycomb (Update Available: 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system (OS).

Camera
5+ MP
You can take photos or capture video with the tablet's onboard 5+ megapixel camera. There is also a secondary front facing camera with VGA (640 x 480) resolution.
Storage
16/32 GB

Internal memory is 16/32 GB. An external, SD (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
5000mAh

The tablet is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 5000 mAh battery. Sony's performance ratings are 7 days standby time, 8 hours Wi-Fi surfing.

Tablet S Specs

Overview
Release date September 16, 2011
Regions available USA, Canada
Networks
No cellular data
SIM card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 3.1 Honeycomb (Update Available: 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich)

Compare Android Tablets

Secondary OS No
Processor NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core A9 1 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 16/32 GB
RAM 1 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass No
Flightmode No
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 5000 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time Unknown
Video Playback Time Up to: 8 hours
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 8 hours
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Reading Time No
Standby Time Up to: 7 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 17.4 x 24.1 x 20.6 cm (6.9 x 9.5 x 8.1 in)
Weight 598 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1280 x 800 pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 9.4 inches
3D No
Sensors Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive Touchscreen
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock No
External Volume Control Yes
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features -
Messaging No
Connectivity
USB No
USB OTG Support No
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth 2.1
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info SD
PC Synchronization No
TV Out No
DLNA Support Yes
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
5+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
Flash
No
Additional Main Camera Info
Auto focus, Geotagging, Image stabilization
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera
Resolution
VGA (640 x 480)
Zoom
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, eAAC+, WAV, OGG
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert No
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Viewable document types No
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable, Pre-installed
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Sony S1

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Sony Tablet S Reviews
Where to buy Sony Tablet S
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Critic Reviews


Mobile88

Lightweight and easy to hold

from Mobile88

Why would you pick up Sony's Tablet S instead of the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? On the whole, the Tablet is a very consumer-friendly device. You'd get it because you like how different it looks and how comfortable it feels in your hands. Plus, it also comes with a full-size SD card slot built in so you won't need any adaptors to transfer data....

More

Why would you pick up Sony's Tablet S instead of the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? On the whole, the Tablet is a very consumer-friendly device. You'd get it because you like how different it looks and how comfortable it feels in your hands. Plus, it also comes with a full-size SD card slot built in so you won't need any adaptors to transfer data.

The universal remote control which is unique to the Sony Tablet S is another factor you should consider if you are in the market for an Android Tablet.

Read full review

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TabletPCReview

The Sony Tablet S has a great design and excellent Sony features

from TabletPCReview

With the Tablet S, Sony provides a fine example for other Android tablet makers to follow. The Tablet S has a very different, but still innovative design from the iPad and other thin, large-screen tablets, and it has some great proprietary features and services not available for other tablets, li...More

With the Tablet S, Sony provides a fine example for other Android tablet makers to follow. The Tablet S has a very different, but still innovative design from the iPad and other thin, large-screen tablets, and it has some great proprietary features and services not available for other tablets, like the PlayStation integration. Here’s hoping Sony adds more games in the very near future, though. Praise aside, our Tablet S review unit crashed more than it should have, but we hold out hope the inevitable ICS update will resolve that. Too bad ICS won’t do much to brighten up the display, because the picture quality is excellent otherwise. Also, what seems like is now the usual laundry list of Android tablet gripes applies to the Tablet S, including the proprietary charging input, lousy speakers and plastic build.

Read full review

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TechTree

Great Design, impressive music player, poor battery life.

from TechTree

The retail box packs in a tablet, charger, a wrist strap, and a warranty card. The device measures 9.5" (l) x 6.7" (w) x 0.8" (d) and weighs around 600 grammes. The tab features a unique magazine fold-out design that props the screen at an angle when placed on a table. At the front is a 9.4" screen surrounded by a black bezel and a front facing VGA camera. The design is refreshingly new and the tablet is quite light to carry....

More

The retail box packs in a tablet, charger, a wrist strap, and a warranty card. The device measures 9.5" (l) x 6.7" (w) x 0.8" (d) and weighs around 600 grammes. The tab features a unique magazine fold-out design that props the screen at an angle when placed on a table. At the front is a 9.4" screen surrounded by a black bezel and a front facing VGA camera. The design is refreshingly new and the tablet is quite light to carry.

The 9.4" LED-backlit touchscreen has pixel dimensions of 1280x800. The screen offers good viewing angles and brightness. The inbuilt speakers offer decent sound quality, but they could have been better. You can customise the five homescreens with widgets and shortcuts. If you have multimedia content stored on your SD Card, you will have to import into the internal storage before playing, which is a bit of a dampner. Overall, the crisp screen works like a charm.

The Tablet S runs Honeycomb, and is PlayStation Certified, which means that you have access to Crash Bandicoot, which is currently the only PlayStation game on offer in India. Considering that the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY smartphone has been around for a while, you would expect more titles. The PlayStation style controls are touch sensitive and take some time getting a hang of, especially for new users. Other preloaded games include NinJump, Angry Birds, RacingMoto, and the PSP game Pinball Heroes. There is also the GameLoft app that lets you download HD Games.

The built in music player is impressive, and features a built-in equalizer that could do with a few more presets.

The 5000 mAh battery's performance is disappointing. A couple of hours of gaming and the battery drains down to almost 50%. For moderate use, the battery would last up to 7 hours. The tablet is feature-rich, but it doesn't justify its expensive price tag.

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Ausdroid

Unique style, comfortable to hold and use, screen is a fingerprint magnet

from Ausdroid

Initially I dismissed the Sony Tablet S as too expensive, and there’s no question it would be much more attractive if Sony Australia had passed on the price cut it gave its US customers, but at $599 from Mobicity compared to (for example) $549 for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 I’d say it is worth the $...More

Initially I dismissed the Sony Tablet S as too expensive, and there’s no question it would be much more attractive if Sony Australia had passed on the price cut it gave its US customers, but at $599 from Mobicity compared to (for example) $549 for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 I’d say it is worth the $50 premium. The unique style sets it apart from any other tablet on the market, and also means you don’t have to pay around $60 straight up for a case to use it. There are many Tegra 2 tablets at a similar price, size and spec to the Tablet S, but none of them offer you all the features of the Tablet S. The Tablet S can be used as a media player, e-book reader, for gaming and as a universal remote, all of which help to justify the price and give the Tablet S a significant advantage over its competitors.

Read full review

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HotHardware

Unique design, bright and vibrant screen, below average performance

from HotHardware

With so many Android tablets staring you in the face, it's easy to go cross-eyed trying to discern between product A and products B, C, and D. But once you get to S -- Sony's Tablet S, that is -- you're in a for a new experience, both visually and ergonomically. Sony rolled the dice on a unique design hoping to win over tablet buyers with a roll-back frame that mimics what it feels like to hold a magazine or paperback book, but with all the benefits of a modern day Honeycomb tablet. It seems gimmicky at first glance, and the trend is towards thinner tablets, not thicker ones, but there are some upshots that go with Sony's design. For one, the outer wedge provides a solid gripping point that's comfortable for extended one-handed sessions. So if you want to read War and Peace or sit through Legends of the Fall, you'll fall asleep long before your arm fatigues. It also allows the Tablet S to sit on a flat surface slightly raised like a real keyboard....

More

With so many Android tablets staring you in the face, it's easy to go cross-eyed trying to discern between product A and products B, C, and D. But once you get to S -- Sony's Tablet S, that is -- you're in a for a new experience, both visually and ergonomically. Sony rolled the dice on a unique design hoping to win over tablet buyers with a roll-back frame that mimics what it feels like to hold a magazine or paperback book, but with all the benefits of a modern day Honeycomb tablet. It seems gimmicky at first glance, and the trend is towards thinner tablets, not thicker ones, but there are some upshots that go with Sony's design. For one, the outer wedge provides a solid gripping point that's comfortable for extended one-handed sessions. So if you want to read War and Peace or sit through Legends of the Fall, you'll fall asleep long before your arm fatigues. It also allows the Tablet S to sit on a flat surface slightly raised like a real keyboard.

Internally, the Tablet S is rocking an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a healthy assortment of inputs and expansion ports. If you read through the review and didn't skip straight to the conclusion, you'll notice we were critical of the overall experience. That's because performance didn't always jibe with the hardware. For the most part, the Tablet S trailed other similarly equipped slates, and in real-world tests, performance bounced back and forth between snappy (navigation, UI, streaming, Web browsing) to laggy (keyboard input, not registering taps on occasion, and app load time). We're also disappointed with all the hoops you have to jump through to use Sony's different services, many of which require separate logins and don't tie into each other in a cohesive manner.

Our other issue with the Tablet S is timing. At the time of this publication, Sony is selling the 16GB model for $450 and the 32GB model for $550, both of which are $50 off their regular price. Even after the markdowns, this is a premium priced tablet in an Android market that has seen two low-cost alternatives storm the castle: Amazon's Kindle Fire ($199) and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet ($249). And if it's a full-sized Android slate you're after, the just-released Transformer Prime is better equipped with a planned Ice Cream Sandwich update, something Sony has been mum on.

Getting back to the bright side, Web browsing performance is really good with exceptional pinch-to-zoom responsiveness and smooth scrolling. The Tablet S is the only PlayStation Certified slate, which has the potential to be really awesome, and we absolutely are in love with the universal IR remote application, that worked wonderfully with our home theater setup, including our finicky Onkyo receiver that's managed to stump some other universal remotes. In fact, if you're considering the Tablet S, this should be one of the reasons why. Take away the IR remote (and, to an extent, DLNA support), you're left with an average tablet that struggles to compete with better equipped full-size and lower price three-quarter size tablets.

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TechCrunch

Slick, but somewhat slow

from TechCrunch

The Sony Tablet S is actually a pretty hot 9.4-inch slate, and doesn’t look like every other Android tablet out there (thank goodness). On the performance side, however, I found myself frustrated on more than one occasion. The design is everything I’ve been wanting from Android tabs,...More

The Sony Tablet S is actually a pretty hot 9.4-inch slate, and doesn’t look like every other Android tablet out there (thank goodness). On the performance side, however, I found myself frustrated on more than one occasion. The design is everything I’ve been wanting from Android tabs, but unfortunately I just couldn’t ignore the underwhelming responsiveness of the slate.

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V3

Unique design, decent screen, poor cameras

from V3

The Tablet S isn't the best name, but we do like the unique wedge shape that Sony has clearly taken its time over, although not everyone we've shown the tablet to likes it.

Rather than a traditional flat and thin design, the Tablet S is reminiscent of a magazine with the front page folded around. This gives it a lovely ergonomic feel and makes easier to hold in portrait mode. The design also means that when the device is placed on a flat surface, the screen is tilted up slightly....

More

The Tablet S isn't the best name, but we do like the unique wedge shape that Sony has clearly taken its time over, although not everyone we've shown the tablet to likes it.

Rather than a traditional flat and thin design, the Tablet S is reminiscent of a magazine with the front page folded around. This gives it a lovely ergonomic feel and makes easier to hold in portrait mode. The design also means that when the device is placed on a flat surface, the screen is tilted up slightly.

Sony has opted for a 9.4in touch screen, which is a little smaller than the display on the iPad 2, and other Android tablets such as the Motorola Xoom, which generally have a 10.1in form factor. However, the Tablet S still boasts a 1,280x800 resolution found on pretty much every other 10.1in tablet.

The slightly higher pixel density wasn't that noticeable, but the screen is decent quality and a good feature. On the downside there is a distinct lack of brightness, and we needed to set it at the upper end of the scale before we were satisfied.

Performance is one area where the tablet doesn't struggle, with the Android Honeycomb interface being powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor. We might be on the verge of seeing quad-core Tegra chips, but dual-core processor is still sufficient. We found the performance of the Tablet S to be smooth across the board like other Tegra 2 tablets such as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer.

A feature of the Tablet S that isn't currently found on any other tablet is an infrared remote. The built-in application can control various devices around your home, such as your TV or Hi-Fi. The idea is that you do away with multiple remote control units in favour of the tablet.

The Tablet S is the first PlayStation-certified tablet and comes with two games, Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes. You do have to download these before you can play, though. The game controls can be customised in terms of colour, size and position on the screen.

We found battery life to be decent from the 4,400mAh cell. This is a fair amount less that the 6,930mAh battery in the iPad 2, but it still gave us a couple of days of general use on a single charge, which is a solid performance.

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T3

The most uniquely designed Android tablet you can buy

from T3

If you’re choosing an Android device, then the Sony S Tablet is a clear front runner. There’s a lot here to make it stand out, even over quality competition from the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 and forthcoming Galaxy 7.7. In a straight fight with the iPad 2, however, Android still falls short...More

If you’re choosing an Android device, then the Sony S Tablet is a clear front runner. There’s a lot here to make it stand out, even over quality competition from the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 and forthcoming Galaxy 7.7. In a straight fight with the iPad 2, however, Android still falls short, but Sony should be commended for taking its time to make a considered entry to the tablet fight.

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The Register

Innovative design, light weight and excellent screen

from The Register

Sony is to be congratulated for the innovative design, light weight and excellent screen of the Tablet S. And while it can share and display content on other devices using DLNA, this networking option is notoriously picky and relies on there being compatible kit available. For me, you can't beat...More

Sony is to be congratulated for the innovative design, light weight and excellent screen of the Tablet S. And while it can share and display content on other devices using DLNA, this networking option is notoriously picky and relies on there being compatible kit available. For me, you can't beat the no-nonsense connectivity of an HDMI port or full-size USB 2.0 socket, and so I'm left feeling Sony deserves a bit of kick for not fitting them when the bulbous rear of the Tablet S clearly has the space.

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IntoMobile

The ultimate TV companion gadget

from IntoMobile

I would deign to call the Sony Tablet S the ultimate TV companion gadget, but among tablets, it's the best currently available, even if it's only because of the built-in infrared remote control. HDMI-out, more robust DLNA capabilities, and more reliable local video playback would help the Tablet...More

I would deign to call the Sony Tablet S the ultimate TV companion gadget, but among tablets, it's the best currently available, even if it's only because of the built-in infrared remote control. HDMI-out, more robust DLNA capabilities, and more reliable local video playback would help the Tablet S do better as a stand-alone multimedia device, but a dearth of Sony services means a wide variety of content is always in reach. I'd love to see some firmware updates that open up the infrared capabilities to third-party developers, which would in turn introduce a fresh breed of apps the likes of which we haven't seen since the Palm's pre-webOS days. For dedicated couch potatoes, it's hard to suggest any other tablet, but if you don't watch a lot of TV, then the bulk of the appeal of the Sony Tablet S compared to other Android tablets might be lost on you.

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