The Sony Tablet S has a unique “folded magazine” design and the ability to play Playstation 1 games

Sony Tablet S is the first of the two announced tablets made by the Sony Corporation.


With all the background, much is expected to be delivered by the new Sony Tablet S, notwithstanding meeting the extremely dense competition within the relatively young market niche.

The last Sony outing in the tablet-like waters was the almost forgotten Sony VAIO UX, which was almost instantly adopted by the Hollywood set designers as the ultimate set prop for futuristic close-ups, used in such gems like Terminator Salvation or the latest Bond, Quantum of Solace.

Nevertheless, the new Sony toy has all that is expected from an upscale tablet, plus a thing or two in addition, just to set it apart from the crowd.

The Sony design

Sony Tablet PC, Sony Tablet S, Sony Tab, Sony Tablet S 16GB

Just like you can always count on Apple to have the ultimate sleek design for any and all products they release, you can rely on Sony to come up with something unique and stylish. Despite the hard plastic, the Sony Tablet S does look and feel debonair. Some people prefer aluminum, perhaps in reminiscence of the school-day sandwich wrapping foil, but it seems that most tablets nowadays feature sturdy polymer based encasings – meaning roughly what’s good enough for the space shuttle should be good enough for the tablet. There is also a significant difference to all the other tablets, namely the device is not ultra-thin, moreover one side is thicker than the other, allowing – at least according to Sony – for easier single hand holding. The Sony PR people have nicknamed the design “folded magazine” and the ergonomics of the idea become apparent in direct comparison: holding up the Sony Tablet S with one hand is easier on the wrist than holding up the iPad 2 with one hand. 

It’s a Sony

Sony Tablet PC, Sony Tablet S, Sony Tab, Sony Tablet S back side

The TruBlack screen is based directly on the popular and very much touted proprietary BRAVIA technology, which has been the ultimate trademark for Sony LCD HDTVs for a while now. The 1280 x 800 ten point multi-touch screen is HD capable, which is by now almost standard within the quality tablets. The two cameras are VGA for video chat and 5 megapixel for making photos and HD videos; unfortunately there is no LED flash. The rest of the specs read like the current top-of-the-line tablet requirement list, 1 GHz NVIDIA® dual-core Tegra™ 2 processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB or 32 GB models, Wi-Fi,Bluetooth, micro-USB and curiously infrared and no HDMI. Probably the inclusion of DLNA seemed sufficient for Sony, despite the relative small user number to date. 

Playstation games on your tablet

Sony Tablet PC, Sony Tablet S, Sony Tab, Sony Tablet S, Playstation Crash Bandicoots

The new Sony Tablet S, just like its clamshell shaped brother, the Sony Tablet P, is aPlayStation certifieddevice. What does this actually mean? It means that most of the classic PlayStation titles – i.e. PlayStation 1 that is – will be at some point made available through the PlayStation Suite to most Android devices, whereby the Tablet S and P are certified to run them all. According to the announcement, even some PS2 games will make it onto the Honeycomb devices, as will some especially for the platform created titles. The Tablet S will have Pinball Heroes and Crash Bandicoots preloaded, as an appetizer, so to speak. 

Just another tablet?

Being that the tablet market is such a crowded place right now, Sony Tablet S needs to be compared to some of the leading competing products, just to find out if it bodes well against them or not. For one, the Apple Tablet PC the iPad, despite being the most popular and widely sold single tablet so far, does not fare well in any comparison with the Sony Tablet S, or any of the newer Tegra 2 models that are currently available, mostly because of the low end camera and limited RAM, as well as already dated capacities. Within the Android based tablets, there is a furious competition going on, the most popular tablets are currently from the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 series, whose flagship, the Tab 10.1V has an 8 megapixel camera with an LED flash. The curious decision to make the Sony display 9.4 inches, even smaller than the iPad’s 9.7 inches and way smaller than most of the Android competitors with 10.1 inches, may be due to the quirky design, but the display quality is vividly different. It is not glossy, like with most tablets, but matte, with the typical Sony vibrant colors. It is a question of taste, for some users it is way better than anything else out there, some people, though, prefer the glossy vivid colors of the Asus Tablet PC the Eee PAd Transformer. On the other hand, the omission of at least a micro-HDMI output is notable, despite the micro-USB and DLNA on-board. 


Sony Tablet PC, Sony Tablet S, Sony Tab, Sony Tablet S, IR TV Remote

The Sony Tablet S is validated as a pertinent release, if by nothing else but by its design innovation. While any and all other tablets provide colors, cases, aluminum, plastic and what else not, the new Sony magazine-fold design makes the tablet instantly recognizable in a tablet pile. By adding to it the unique Sony BRAVIA display quality, the Sony camera – which by the way is rumored to be featured in the forthcoming iPad3 as well – the PlayStation certification, quirky gadgets like the IR remote, access to proprietary content in Sony stores, like Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited and Reader Store, and all this spiked with top notch specs and performance, it all warrants a very good entry by Sony into the tablet market and brands Sony a tablet maker to watch out for.