Sony Tablet P Android tablet
Sony Tablet P review: Are two screens better than one when it comes to an Android tablet?
- Portable, compact design
- Default Sony apps work well
- Decent performance
- Completely inconsistent user experience
- Large bezel and sharp edges
- Poor battery life
Sony deserves credit for trying something different in a market full of devices that offer minimal distinguishing features. However, its Tablet P doesn't succeed due to an inconsistent user experience, mediocre battery life and a design that makes it uncomfortable to hold and use. This one is sadly best avoided.
Price$ 729.00 (AUD)
We've long derided Android tablet manufacturers for producing "me too" devices, but Sony is one company that's clearly aiming to buck this boring trend. Its strange looking Tablet P features two 5.5in capacitive touch screens and utilises a flip design so the screens fold onto each other when the tablet is closed. The idea has its merits, but Sony's execution is far from perfect.
Design and dual displays
The Sony Tablet P's dual-screen design certainly has its advantages. It's small enough to fit into any handbag and should also slide into a large suit jacket pocket. All in all, this is an extremely portable device that weighs less than 400g. We feel it may find a niche with frequent travellers who want to carry around something smaller than an iPad.
Despite its size the Sony Tablet P feels like a solid piece of hardware. It has sturdy, gloss black hinges that definitely feel well constructed, and the matte silver finish on the top and bottom of the tablet is a nice touch. You can open the hinge to any angle you wish and the Tablet P won't topple over. However, the pointy corners of the device dig into your hands after only a few minutes of use which makes it uncomfortable to hold.
You'll find all the controls and ports on the right side of the Tablet P — a power button, charging port, a micro-USB port and volume controls. Both the power and volume controls aren't raised enough and therefore require a real firm press to activate.
The removable battery of the Tablet P is a nice touch, but we don't like having to take off the bottom cover to access the microSD card slot. A SIM card slot for 3G connectivity lies beneath the top cover but we found it quite flimsy and accidentally damaged one of the plastic locks while trying to force it back on. The Tablet P is impossible to open single-handedly.
Once you do open the Tablet P you are be greeted with two 5in displays, both with a resolution of 1024x480. A glossy black bezel matching the hinges surrounds both screens and quickly becomes a grubby fingerprint magnet. The bezel is also too large for our liking. The screens themselves are bright and clear with good viewing angles and vibrant colours. Text is sharp with no visible aberrations, though the relatively high resolution does mean icons and text can appear rather small.
Using the Tablet P
Do the dual-displays work? The answer is both yes and no, depending on what applications you use. Most of Sony's default and pre-loaded apps make perfect use of the display. The Gmail and e-mail apps show your e-mails on the top screen and the keyboard on the bottom. The default calendar app can show a view of the full month even when viewing by day or week. The calculator shows the keys on the bottom screen and your results on the top. The reader app, Sony's e-book reading solution, acts as a real book with one page on the left screen and the next page on the right.
Next page: Software, performance, cameras and battery life
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