THIS YEAR'S IFA conference in Berlin gave The INQUIRER a chance to get some hands-on time with Sony's upcoming Android tablets, so we put them to the test.
Sony has been mostly quiet about the specifications, and this marks the first time that tablets were up and running in a usable way. First up was the Ipad 2 rival, the Sony Tablet S, with which we were very impressed.
Since the Sony Tablet S runs Android Honeycomb, navigation was very familiar. However, the Apps menu is noticeably different from that of other Android devices (see below), such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but Sony hasn't overdone the customisation, which is good.
The Tablet S looks seriously nice, but we were unsure about the asymmetric design, looking at the tablet from afar. These fears were quickly forgotten when we picked up the tablet.
It was very comfortable to hold and, at 598g, it's one of the lightest tablets on the market, considering that it's a larger sized tablet. We also liked the handy cover for the SD card and microUSB connections.
Some of the unique features include infrared connectivity and the ability to 'throw' content onto other Sony devices. So you can simply swipe a finger up and throw a video onto a connected TV or transfer music to wireless speakers, for example. This worked really well for us and allows Sony to offer a connected entertainment ecosystem.
The Nvidia 1GHz Tegra 2 made general use and tasks like web browsing smooth, comparable to other Tegra 2 tablets like the Motorola Xoom. On the basis of our first impressions, the Tablet S looks like a solid effort from Sony. The only thing holding the tablet back so far appears to be the £499 price tag.
Unfortunately our impressions of the Tablet P were not as delightful. It has specifications similar to those of the Tablet S, but the dual screen was not to our liking. The form factor also felt rather bulky, although it weighs just 372g making it more portable than the Tablet S.
Web browsing was a rather frustrating experience across the two screens, so we think that the Tablet P will function primarily as a handheld gaming device.
The price isn't going to sound attractive either. The Tablet P could come to market at over £500 and, from what we've seen so far, Sony could find it difficult to shift a significant number of units if it doesn't cut the price. µ