As with its phones and TVs, Sony has lagged behind its arch-rival Samsung in the tablet market in recent years. The Sony Xperia Tablet S is out to change all that, but does it make the necessary moves?
What Is It?
With a quad-core processor, slim profile and up-to-date software, it certainly sounds the ticket. Released at the back end of the original Sony Tablet S turned heads because of its folio-like design, which essentially aped a book with a folded-over cover.
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- Sony Xperia Tablet Z review.
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It gave the tablet a chunky body but interesting, and pretty good, ergonomics especially when it was held in portrait mode. However, in-use this unusual shape does actually make the Xperia Tablet S much more comfy to hold single-handed — especially in portrait orientation.
The extra thickness of the fold is a bonus in this one-handed scenario, and the plastic grip is textured with raised dots to increase grip. In other words, what might initially seem like Sony showing off is revealed to be a surprisingly practical design choice. However, Sony has already one-upped this model with the Sony Xperia Tablet Z , which has a larger screen and lighter g body. Aside from its lax efforts to reduce bezel size, the design of the Xperia Tablet S feels fairly up-to-date.
The Sony Xperia Tablet S makes good use of the extra girth of the plastic part, cramming-in a full-size SD memory card slot. Micro SD slots are a sought-after commodity in high-end Android tablets and phones, but full-size slots are rarer than budget beef burgers actually made of beef.
This should prove an especially big draw to photographers — digital cameras are one of the few electronic device types that continue to use a full-size memory card. Although it has a thoroughly renovated design, the Sony Xperia Tablet S screen is not exactly cutting-edge. Although 9. On a more basic level, the screen quality remains acceptable, though.
The Sony Tablet S runs a modified version of Android 4. This is a fairly aged version of Android, with most new devices now running Android 4. The most important omissions in Android 4. Without them, the Sony Xperia Tablet S can feel a little bit sluggish, despite having a quad-core Tegra 3 processor. The Sony Xperia Tablet S uses the 1. With Tegra 4 already unveiled, and Qualcomm Krait chipsets outperforming Tegra 3, the chipset used here is already starting to smell a little musty.
However, in terms of real-world performance what the Sony Xperia Tablet S really needs is an update to Android 4. That said, performance is perfectly fine — just so long as you can stomach the odd juddery transition or two. Sony has not messed with the basic look and feel of Android too much in its custom UI. A watertight port covers each.
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The front of the Sony Xperia Z is minimalist - showing off only a Sony logo and front-facing camera. The rear is a little busier, with various tech info printed on it, plus the Sony Xperia logo, an NFC badge, camera light and the all-important lens.
That back is stuck fast - as is becoming the custom, you'll have no luck if you want to remove the battery. Turn it on, and you're not disappointed. Coming from the blackness, the 5-inch screen springs into life.
Sony Xperia Tablet S Review
Whether or not you'll like it is down to personal choice. Some who've used the Sony Xperia Z describe the screen as a disappointment because Sony has gone for TFT - albeit with x pixels, giving a pixel density of ppi, which would explain why it looks a bit washed out. We're still fans - this is a razor sharp display from one of the world's premier screen manufacturers, although it doesn't have the wow factor of the HTC One 's Super LCD 3 screen. The only thing that lets it down is viewing angles - if you look at the Sony Xperia Z's screen, dead on, it's sharp enough.
If you look at it from the side, it has a strange ability to look incredibly washed out. It's no huge problem though - unless you like to look at things side on. In which case, see a doctor. One of the selling points of the Sony Xperia Z is that it is also water resistant. There's something slightly unnerving about taking a premium smartphone and dropping it in the sink - but that's exactly what we did. And it worked absolutely fine. Clearly, you'll need to make sure the ports are covered using those watertight protectors, that much goes without saying.
If you don't want to stump up the cash in one go, monthly contracts are of course available. Current page: Introduction and design.
Against Non removable battery No Mac compatibility Software bugs.