Review: Sony Tablet S

Sony, the long-time stalwart of high-end technology devices, have their own tablet aimed at competing with other top-level tablets from Samsung, Asus, Toshiba and Apple. The SGPT111US/S, otherwise known as the “Tablet S”, offers typical Sony stylishness, but does it stand up to the competition in practical terms? Let’s have a look. Key Specs For The Sony Tablet S RRP: $399 Release Year: 2011 Operating System: Android Honeycomb Display Size: 9.4 inches Connectivity: Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Cameras: 5 MP, 0.3 MP Battery Life: 6 hours Sony Tablet S: The Pros Screen: The screen on the Sony Tablet S offers a different aspect ratio to other tablets on the market. Whereas most tablets, including the iPad 3, are set to 4:3 aspect ratio, the Tablet S uses a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is the ratio used for widescreen movies, which makes this device much better suited to movie viewing than its rivals. The 16:9 ratio also feels preferable for reading books, as it more closely replicates the shape of the typical real-life page. Image Quality: Not only is the aspect ratio suited for watching movies, but the image quality is fantastic, adding further to the experience. Colors are vivid and clean. This device uses Sony Bravia technology – the same found in their television product range – to generate the best images possible. Full-Size SD Slot: One of the best things about this tablet, although seemingly small, is the inclusion of a full-size SD memory card slot. This makes it one of only two or three tablets that do this, really helping it to stand out. The advantage of a full-size SD slot is that you can take the memory card straight out of your camera or video camera and plug it straight into the tablet for image and video viewing. It’s great not to have to go through an intermediate process of transferring your photos and other files onto a microSD card first. The other advantage to this is that full-size SD cards are significantly cheaper than their microSD equivalents. 5MP Rear-Facing Camera: For those who like their tablet to double up as a camera, the Sony Tablet S does the job. There’s a built-in rear-facing 5MP camera that captures large images for those times when you’re out and about without a separate camera. 16GB And 32GB Storage Options: As with many other tablets, including the Galaxy Note from Samsung, the Sony Tablet S offers two basic storage options. The 16GB option is great when you need to stick to a budget and don’t want to store much content on the tablet itself, preferring cloud storage solutions. The 32GB option is slightly more expensive, but offers a better basic storage capacity that’s works well for anyone intending to download a lot of data onto the device, or store movies on it. PlayStation Certified: As with one of the recent Sony Ericsson Xperia smart-phones, the Tablet S is PlayStation certified. So for Sony gaming fans, this is a great device. It offers a range of PlayStation favourites, as well as plenty of new games. Design: Sony are a company that puts a lot of emphasis on product design. This tablet is fairly unique, with a wedge shape that makes it great to hold and interesting to look at. The continuous plastic runs from the bottom of the front up and around the top and then down the back of the device is especially flash, and really gives the product a stand-out look of quality. USB Port: This tablet comes with a mini USB port which is a useful feature lacked by most other tablets. A full-size USB would be better, but a mini USB is still a step up over the competition. Sony Tablet S: The Cons Dual-Core: The Sony Tablet S is somewhat less expensive than the top-end rivals, but it’s only got a dual core processor which doesn’t compete well with top-end current tablets like the new iPad, the Asus Prime, Galaxy Note and so on. While lacking quad-core isn’t everything, it does mean that as apps get more technologically demanding the Sony Tablet S might struggle to keep up. Camera: Although the rear-facing camera is 5MP, it doesn’t capture detail well, even in good lighting conditions. This is a bit of a disappointment, especially from a company that specialises in camera technology. Dim Screen: Although the image quality on the Tablet S is great, the brightness is a little bit on the weak side. It’d be nice to have something brighter, that displays more effectively in outdoor lighting conditions and just generally does more justice to the quality of images it otherwise displays. Old Android: For the Android faithful, this tablet will be a let-down as it runs on a fairly old version of Android. While most current tablets are on Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich or above, this tablet still runs on Android 3.2 Honeycomb. Not 10.1”: The large tablet standard size is 10.1”, but this tablet is only 9.4”. That’s noticeably smaller, and reduces the viewing area significantly. While some find that this is a more optimal size to use for a range or reasons, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a smaller display, which might disappoint some. Is The Sony Tablet S Worth Buying? This is a feature-rich tablet that outdoes many competitors in terms of what’s on offer but suffers from some notable setbacks. Whether it’s worth buying largely depends on how much power you think you’ll need from your tablet and whether you’re happy to run on an older version of Android that other tablets are using. So long as you’re content with those things, and the fact that the display is slightly smaller overall than large size tablet rivals, then this is a great tablet, well worth the money for all its great features and lovely unique design.


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