Sony Xperia Tablet S Android tablet (preview)
Sony Xperia Tablet S has a revamped design and some interesting new features.
- Revamped aluminium build
- Splash-proof finish
- Some nice software features
- Screen could have been higher res
- Awaiting Jelly Bean update
The Sony Xperia Tablet S is thinner, lighter and better constructed than its predecessor. Sony keeps the same distinctive, curved design but has added some interesting new features and given the product a splash-proof coating.
The Sony Tablet S, which incorporated a curved design that attempted to resemble a folded magazine, is one of the most distinctive tablets on the market. Sony has kept much of the same formula for its new Xperia Tablet S but has revamped the design and added some interesting new features.
The biggest change in design from the Tablet S to the Xperia Tablet S is aluminium casing. The plastic build of the Tablet S didn't feel very sturdy and noticeably creaked when force was applied to the back. That should no longer occur on the Xperia Tablet S which is constructed from aluminium. Despite the change in build materials, Sony has managed to reduce both the weight and the thickness of the Xperia Tablet S. The device is still shaped like a wedge but it's much flatter than its predecessor.
The Xperia Tablet S has a splash-proof finish, too, so it's water-resistant. Sony highlights checking a recipe in the kitchen with wet hands as one real world use scenario where this feature will benefit potential users.
Sony appears to be focussing most of its attention on the software side of things. The most notable new feature is a guest mode that allows children or any other users to log on to their own separate account. This is a feature that's been reserved for PCs and notebooks, but we really like the idea of it on an Android tablet. It could prevent users from downloading apps through the Google Play Store, for example, and Sony says users can configure exactly what apps guest users can and can't access.
One of the best features on the original Tablet S was an Infrared port and combined remote control app. This feature has been upgraded on the Xperia Tablet S so users can can now add up to six macro functions. A macro can be set to allow you to turn on multiple home entertainment devices at once, or skip to a favourite channel on your TV or set top box with one press, for example.
The Sony Xperia Tablet S will initially ship with the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's Android platform, but Sony insists the tablet will be upgradeable to the latest 4.1 Jelly Bean version in the coming months. Sony has a poor track record when it comes to timely Android updates on its Xperia smartphones, so we can only hope the company lifts its game now that it has slotted a tablet into the Xperia range.
Despite all the software features, Sony hasn't neglected the specifications of the Xperia Tablet S. It's powered by NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 processor (up from the dual-core processor on the Tablet S), has 1GB of RAM and comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. There's 3G connectivity available on "selected models", while a full-sized USB port is a nice inclusion and a HDMI port allows users to connect the device to a TV. There's also a full-sized SD card slot. An 8-megapixel rear camera and a front facing 1-megapixel camera for video calls are also included.
Where Sony may have missed the mark is the Xperia Tablet S's screen. The 9.4in capacitive IPS display has a resolution of 1280x800, which is standard for most similar sized Android tablets. However, newer devices like the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity and Acer's upcoming Iconia Tab A700 both have screens with a much higher resolution, immediately making them a little more appealing than the Xperia Tablet S.
Sony will sell a full range of accessories with the Xperia Tablet S when it launches in Australia next month. The highlight is a cover that has a built-in, hardware keyboard, which looks remarkably similar to the Microsoft Surface "touch cover". There's also a docking stand and a range of brightly coloured covers.
The Sony Xperia Tablet S will launch in Australia "from the middle of September", but Sony is yet to announce Australian pricing. The Xperia Tablet S will sell for $399 (16GB), $499 (32GB) and $599 (64GB) in the US.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung ready to make chips faster than the ones in Galaxy S8
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Samsung's Bixby won’t support voice commands when it debuts on the Galaxy S8
- Fear not, early adopters: The Galaxy S8 might not be running Android 7.0 for very long
- Samsung made an even better Galaxy S8+, but you can’t have it
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.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPProject Reporting DeveloperSA
- FTFront End .Net Developer. Permanent jobACT
- FTPHP / WordPress DeveloperQLD
- CCPersonal AssistantNSW
- FTPHP DeveloperNSW
- CCApplications Support/ DevOps EngineerQLD
- TPReporting AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Sales Operations AnalystNSW
- FTElectronic Payments POS Business Analyst - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPSolution ArchitectVIC
- TPInfrastructure ArchitectQLD
- FTSecurity AnalystACT
- FTTIBCO DeveloperVIC
- CCSenior Process Specialist - TelcoVIC
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystACT
- FTSecurity and Technical Risk ManagerQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystWA
- TPPrincipal Project Officer - ReportingQLD
- CCSenior Project OfficerNSW
- FTSecurity ConsultantVIC
- CCTechnical Business AnalystSA
- CCPMO AnalystVIC
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Network EngineerACT