Review: Sony Tablet S

By Branko Miletic

When navigating the tablet-infested waters that surround our lives, you’ll find many interesting species of this type of PC swimming around; some friendly and other not quite so.

The iPad of course is like the Great White Shark, top of the mobile computing food chain, devouring all in its path. While a particular nasty no-name brand that I will not mention is a bit like a sea sponge – rarely seen and kind of useless really.

Enter the Sony Tablet S with its strange shape yet alluring lines; it could be easily compared to a Marlin. But remember, Marlin’s aren’t that common and if we are not careful, they may become extinct in the end.

Getting away from the maritime metaphors, Sony’s Tablet  S is a solid piece of tech, with its  Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS and unique wedge-shaped design that makes it easier to hold with one hand and as well as making it easier to type, especially when resting it on a hard surface.

With a 9.4-inch screen and rather crisp resolution, the Tablet S was fun to play with. It was easy to use, almost mindless to set up and, once you get used to its thicker spine, somewhat logical to carry around.

And would you like to control your TV with your Tablet S? Why not? How about using your Tablet S as a PS3? Sure, we can do that. In fact this little piece of mobile tech from Sony gives you the possibility to control a number of Sony products from the palm of your hand thanks to the company putting its HomeShare universal remote into the unit.

Under the hood, there is 1GHz dual-core NVidia Tegra 2 processor with 1GB of RAM and either 16 or 32 Gb of storage. This I found to be ample for any task or multitask that was thrown at the Tablet S – and believe me; I do try and break these products down. After all, pushing tech to the limit is part and parcel of reviewing- seeing a piece of technology break down in a blathering mass of incomprehensible light and electronic sound flashing. This I could not achieve with the Tablet S, no matter how hard I tried—this is a good sign for the product and shows that the engineers over at Sony do really earn their keep.

Although it uses 802.11n wifi, it has no 3G capability and considering that 4G is now coming to the fore, I think this is a potential problem. It also comes with front and back camera for those that like their Skype.

But why Sony chose to stick with Android 3.2 and not wait for 4.0 is beyond me. Not withstanding that, the Tablet S is a fine piece of tech, able to do any emailing, browsing, word processing, music playing, book reading, and movie watching, along with controlling your Sony TV and PS3.

What it is not is an iPad killer, or for that matter a Samsung Galaxy Tab trasher. Too bad, as if there is one company on Earth that could take on the incumbents, it’s Sony.

Pros: unique design; stable; very easy to use
Cons: OS will be out-dated sooner than later; slightly flimsy SD card port; more expensive here than OS

3.5 Shacks Out of 5

$579 (16GB)
$689 (32GB)