Sony Xperia Tablet S review: Sony's second-gen Android slate has a slimmer design, faster guts
Sony's Xperia Tablet S feels unfocused, with more of an emphasis on hardware design than software performance.
- Ergonomic designBuilt-in IR blasterIntuitive parental controls
- Inconsistent performanceHeavily customized home screen Camera app is not user-friendly
For Sony, it's all about the presentation. To be sure, since the company put all of its mobile products under one roof, it's achieved more of a balance between style and substance than it did with the original Tablet S and Tablet P -- two devices that had a lopsided emphasis on unique, proof-of-concept designs over user experience. It's fair to say those initial tablet efforts failed to resonate with consumers, leaving the company with little recourse other than an all-out do-over.
Which is why the new Xperia Tablet S has a lot to prove: it can't get by based on looks alone. Running skinned Ice Cream Sandwich and packing a quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, this 9.4-incher maintains the same 1,280 x 800 IPS LCD panel used on the first-gen S, and even assumes the same folded-over magazine shape -- albeit, in thinner form. Yes, that full SD slot remains, but you might not need to rely on it now that the tablet comes with up to 64GB of built-in storage. So, will an emphasis on OS, ecosystem (Video Unlimited, Music Unlimited, Crackle, Reader, etc.) and a slimmed-down build make up for the blunders of the first-gen Tablet S? Will a $399 starting price help this WiFi-only tab stand out amongst the Android competition? Stick around as we find out whether this S is more than initially meets the eye.