The other day I got a chance to play with Sony Tablet S at local Best Buy and I felt it has life better than similar Android Tablets running on Honeycomb, if Sony could really play its ball.
The Sony Tablet S comes in two storage specs, 16 GB and 32 GB and prices are equal to iPad 2 Wi-Fi pricing. The look and feel of the tablet is different from rest of the Android Tablets. The tapered look of it reminded me one of Targus Lap Chill Mat in a smaller size. The tablet is very light to hold, and I felt it is even lighter than Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The tablet comes with Android Honeycomb 3.2, where as some of the Honeycomb tablets by leading manufacturers are still at Honeycomb Version 3.1. The screen and tablet edges are aligned so well and you won’t feel the edges of the tablet. The LED lit True Black display looks promising, but I felt the iPad2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 displays are much better. The front and back of the Tablet looked good and show the Sony’s engineer capabilities. but the sides of the tablet looked very cheap.
Sony put SD Card interface and also a Micro-USB port but the door that covers them is cheap plastic, which I found a little hard to open. I wondered why Sony didn’t adopt the Samsung Focus phone styled slider door to cover SD Card and Micro-USB port. I found that as a little awkward. Videos and Photos looked good, but I am little disappointed with the 0.3MP front camera. They should have provided the 1.3MP camera.
I found the Sony Reader is a good fit into the tablet and found the reading of books was close to Sony PRS 500 tablet, which I owned for a long time before I moved to iPad to read eBooks. The Sony Entertainment Network has good collection of Videos and Music as per their brochures and website, but when I launched the music unlimited, it said the Music Unlimited is coming to Sony Tablet S.
The default apps that came with Sony are good to start with and the navigation to apps is very easy. The scrolling and touch response are close to the fluidity of Windows Phone, even though I felt my Windows Phone has better touch response and felt greater fluidity. Nevertheless, Sony Tablet S is best in this are over other Android tablets including Galaxy Tab 10.1, Transformer and Xoom.
The PlayStation part of the Tablet, is very beautiful, game controls get laid on the touch screen once you start playing games. Sony is promising to get more games there and I have no doubts in that. I have seen good studios are planning to release their games for Sony Tablet S. Even though I like XBox Live and Kinect, I found the gaming experience on this tablet is comparable to Xbox Live experience on my Windows Phone.
Now the ugliest part of the tablet is its charger. Sony’s proprietary charger shows the deficiencies in its Engineering Quality. It looked like they tried to follow Apple Mac’s magnetic charger, but it turned to be ugly and proprietary. I like the way HP adopted that for their Touchpad. Sony should have gone in that route and released a Micro-USB based charger or at least something like LG G-Slate’s style of pole based charger.
I feel, if Sony could leverage and fully utilize their content/ecosystem i.e. Sony Entertainment Network including PlayStation Network, Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited and their agreements with Publishers that are working with them for their eBook readers, I think they have a winner. Of course it may not be a box-office hit like iPad, but they could pare better than rest of the Android tablets. But Sony is known for making missteps and not fully utilizing their ecosystem, I wonder if they make their tablet a winner. Also they should make the prices of this tablet to be comparable to ASUS Transformer, not iPad2.