Tablets Guide

Sony Tablet S 16GB Wi-Fi review

Sony Tablet S (16GB) Wi-Fi - The First PlayStation Certified Tablet

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Multimedia and Battery Performance

PlayStation On-the-Go

Sony is well-known for providing superior entertainment experiences on its devices. Can the Sony Tablet S live up to expectations? 

First, the 9.4-inch LED-backlit IPS display (1280 x 800 pixels) makes viewing multimedia content a joy. This is due to the utilization of Sony BRAVIA's TruBlack technology that helps deliver better clarity, lively colors and excellent viewing angles. However, it attracts fingerprints and smudges too easily, and hence spoils the otherwise great viewing experience.

Second, the wedge-shaped design of the Tablet S elevates the screen slightly when placed onto a flat surface. This improves screen visibility and makes typing more comfortable. To be honest, we got so used to this unique feature of the Tablet S that when we switched to using other tablets, we found something missing in the user experience.

Thirdly, the Sony Tablet S is the first series of PlayStation-certified tablets on which you can play original PlayStation games. While the device is only pre-installed with Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes, Sony stated that more PS game titles will be available in future. We played a few rounds of both games and found the gaming experience to be pleasant - graphics and animation was smooth with no lags.  

Fourth, the Sony Tablet S provides true cross-device connectivity. It can wirelessly connects to DLNA compatible devices such as BRAVIA TVs where you can easily view photos and videos on the big screen or speaker sets to blast your music. It also has an built-in infrared sensor that enables the device to function as a remote control for a number of devices such as TVs and stereos.

Fifth, we see a radically different music player interface on the Sony Tablet S. It is in fact one of the most beautiful interfaces we have seen so far on tablets. Songs and albums are represented by cover art in tiles which can be moved around the screen. Besides being more aesthetically pleasing, we found no practical use for this feature.

 

Sixth, you will find two cameras on the Sony Tablet S - a 0.3-megapixel front camera for video conferencing and a 5.0-megapixel rear HD camera that is powered by Exmor for mobile. The "Exmor for mobile" feature promises better image quality especially in low light conditions. As Sony is known for its specialization in camera lenses and photography, we had a hunch that the Sony Tablet's camera will be better than what we have seen from the rest of the tablets so far. We put the Sony Tablet S through our camera test to assess its performance:- 

Having listed all its multimedia traits, naturally we were curious to know if the Sony Tablet S has enough battery stamina to support all the bells and whistles. For our battery test assessment, we compared the Sony Tablet S against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Apple iPad 2. Our standard battery test includes looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume set at 100%. We also turned on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to ensure constant streaming of data through email and Twitter.

Tablet Comparison Table
Specifications/Device Sony Tablet S  Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (3G) ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Apple iPad 2
Processor
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 9.4-inch
  • 10.1-inch
  • 10.1-inch
  • 9.7-inch
Display Type
  • LED-backlit IPS TFT-LCD
  • TFT-LCD
  • LED-backlit IPS TFT-LCD
  • LED-backlit IPS TFT-LCD
Display Resolution
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1024 x 768 pixels 
Dimensions
  • 241.2 x 174.3 x 10.1 - 20.6mm
  • 256.7 x 175.3 x 8.6mm
  • 271 x 171 x 12.98mm
  • 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm
Weight
  • 598g
  • 565g
  • 680g
  • 613g

It seems like the Sony Tablet S took a bad beating in the battery performance charts. Despite having a slightly smaller screen than the Apple iPad 2 and having similar configurations as the Honeycomb tablets, the Sony Tablet S ranked lowest in terms of battery endurance. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (3G) could last close to an hour and a half longer than the Sony Tablet S even though the former had to meet both cellular network and tablet power needs. At the time of publishing this article, we're still awaiting updates from Sony on the battery capacity of the Sony Tablet S, which may contribute to the lackluster battery performance. 

As a result, the Tablet S also suffered in the Portability Index where the overall dimensions, weight and battery performance are taken in consideration. This is rather disappointing as we expected better results from Sony. Having said that, the Google Android OS isn't known for efficient power management and this remains an area that Apple iOS still has an upper hand.

If you are planning to use the Sony Tablet S on-the-go for long durations, perhaps the Apple iPad 2 could a better option with its ultra long battery life. But if you are looking for an Android tablet, the Motorola Xoom currently has the longest battery life among the Honeycomb tablets.

When we were using the Sony Tablet S under normal usage conditions, it was able to last a day with occasional web surfing, checking social feeds and replying emails. Since our battery test stimulates fairly stressful usage conditions, we feel that the Sony Tablet S will be able to last longer under normal day-to-day usage conditions provided you keep a watchful eye on the battery level. After all, actual battery mileage will vary under different usage conditions.

On a side note, if you think further into the Tablet S features like a remote controller to your AV devices and streaming content to them via DLNA, this Sony tablet might perhaps have been catered more towards a home companion device rather than a side-kick for extended mobile usage on the move. But that's just our hunch for now.