Sony Tablet S Android tablet
Sony Tablet S review: The Sony Tablet S' unique folded design makes it a great device to hold
- Distinctive and comfortable design
- Some handy exclusive apps
- Good battery life
- Build quality
- Web browser performance
Sony has put a lot of work into the Tablet S and it definitely shows: its the most comfortable Android tablet to hold and use. It also bundles some exclusive, nifty apps that you won't find on any other tablet. We wish the screen was brighter, build quality better and software slicker, but the Tablet S remains a pretty good device on the whole.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
We've long berated Android tablets for being "me too" devices, so when a tablet like Sony's Tablet S lands on our desk we can't help but get excited. Featuring a curved design that Sony says attempts to resemble a folded magazine, the Tablet S is one of the more distinctive devices we've seen this year. It's far from perfect: the 9.4in screen could be brighter, build quality could be better and its software isn't always slick. However, the Tablet S remains one of the better Android devices on the market and is a solid alternative to the iPad 2.
Sony Tablet S: Design and display
Unlike most other Android tablet manufacturers, Sony clearly spent plenty of time designing and engineering the Tablet S. The company says the physical attributes of the device shifts the weight to one side, making it feel lighter and therefore easy to hold. The wedge-like form factor of Tablet S is certainly distinctive: it looks like a book or magazine when the page is folded over behind it. This shape means the Tablet S sits upright when its placed on a desk or table, making it comfortable to type on and easier to see the screen at an appropriate angle. It also weighs just 598g so its not too heavy.
The wedge-style design of the Tablet S means its much thicker than most Android tablets on the market at 20.6mm but this doesn't make it too bulky or heavy in our opinion. There are plenty of design features we really like — two small rubber feet on the back of the Tablet S prevent it from slipping when laid flat on a desk or table, and the back is covered in an etched plastic that makes it very easy to grip, though its very glossy. The power and volume buttons are also perfectly positioned on the left side. They are easy to press without having to move your hand from its natural position when holding the device. These are only small touches but they make the Tablet S pleasing to use on a daily basis.
We really like the design of the Tablet S, but its a shame it's build quality is less than stellar. The plastic build may keep the weight down, but the Tablet S doesn't feel very sturdy. It noticeably creaks when the rear casing is pressed and the glossy black plastic is also a huge fingerprint magnet. The screen also flexes a little if you apply some pressure. We wouldn't bet on the Tablet S coming up trumps if you happened to drop it.
Sony has opted for a smaller 9.4in touchscreen display on the Tablet S when most other Android manufacturers have used 10.1in screens. The difference is negligible though, and unless you pair a 10.1in tablet alongside the Tablet S, you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference. The screen is clear and ideal for video playback, but its not as bright as some of its competitors, even at the highest brightness setting available.
Sony Tablet S: Software
The Sony Tablet S runs the 3.2 "Honeycomb" version of Google's Android platform but Sony has made plenty of changes to the standard Android user interface. On the home screen you'll find a favourites button next to the apps menu, and there are four shortcuts placed next to the voice actions icon: the Browser, e-mail, Sony's remote control app, and a Twitter and Facebook aggregater can quickly be accessed from here. You can also long press on the home screen to bring up a selection of apps, widgets, wallpapers and shortcuts to customise your homescreens. The idea isn't a new feature but Sony's implementation makes it a little easier to access. You can also separate the app drawer into customisable groups.
Sony includes a number of exclusive apps on the Tablet S that you won't find on any other Android tablet. There's a Media Remote app that can be used to control Sony televisions, a remote control app that turns the Tablet S into a universal remote to control devices that use infrared remote controls (like DVD players and stereo systems), and a DNLA app that enables easy connection to a TV or other DNLA-enabled device for multimedia streaming. We found the remote control app very handy: we successfully programmed it to replace the remote for a Panasonic television quite easily and it can be programmed to work with any infrared remote. It's simple, easy and a nice inclusion you won't find on any other tablet.
Next page: Performance, battery life and availability
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony returns to profit, cuts full-year loss forecast
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCBPM DeveloperVIC
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTWeb Developer/ReportsNSW
- CCProject Manager - Telco Networks EngineeringVIC
- CCSAP ISU Device Management ConsultantNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCSoftware PackerNSW
- FTSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BQLD
- FTTelecommunications Services Manager - Voice/Data/UCQLD
- FTMicrosoft ConsultantVIC
- TPAgile Project Manager. Sharepoint / PeoplesoftNSW
- CCFront-End DeveloperQLD
- FTPMO Specialist - PermanentACT
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- CCSolution Architect - VMwareVIC
- CCTelecommunication Operations SpecialistTAS
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- TPSolution Architect - Transport DomainVIC
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Software EngineerVIC
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - Tivoli Storage SpecialistNSW