Sony Tablet™ S
I am active duty military stationed on a submarine, and with that there is a shortage of personal space and no internet contectivity. With the Sony S Tablet, you get everything, countless books (thousands of them are free at the Reader Store), movies, music, photos of your family, and video games (most of them are free from PSN APP. When we pull in somewhere and the hotel has internet, you get to watch your NETFLIX. The picture quality is amazing and the interface is easy and intuative. My buddy has an IPAD, and it can not read and write to an external memory device, unlike the Sony S Tablet. EXCELLENT product. Thank you Sony, you help make the long months under the sea a lot more enjoyable.
January 15, 2012
A great choice for the non-business user
Running on the Honeycomb platform, the Sony Tablet S looks and behaves identically to it's Android 3.2 competition. What sets it apart, then? What you can DO with it, of course. The Sony S has a few features absent to any other tablet on the market of which I am aware. I'll cover those and skip over Android's platform strengths (Flash browsing, etc)
First, the IR remote. When you consider that people will pay 200 to 300 dollars just for an all-in-one LCD universal remote, the fact that this tablet can literally manipulate anything possessing an infrared sensor becomes a make-sense design decision. Anything, from your Venetian blinds, your Mac Book Pro, and of course every piece of home theater equipment you own. If it's not listed in the tablet's considerable IR code library, simply point the remote at the tablet and let it analyze and clone the signal. Ease of use was obviously a priority as this is literally a matter of three button presses from beginning to end.
Next is the DLNA functionality. Any media on the tablet - movies, music or photo files - can be "thrown" to a TV on the same wifi network. Ease of use was again at the forefront of the engineers' minds. Open your movie and tap the throw button. The tablet scans for compatible displays on the same network and in moments presents you with a list. Drag the movie onto the device you want to throw to with a finger. Done! You're now watching your movie on your TV and can even go right back to doing other things on your tablet.
That will require the TV be connected to your network in some way, of course, but that doesn't mean your TV needs to be the latest high-end wifi integrated model. A wifi connected Blu-Ray player of any brand will do the trick (Sony's own excellent BDP-S580 can be had for as little as 130 dollars and is DLNA certified and wifi integrated), as will game consoles to a certain degree. There are a lot of options here.
DLNA has been around for years but setting it up can be a hassle, even for the experienced user. This tablet's simple, brute-force approach takes all the tweaking and setting up out of the picture and MAKES it work, no headaches, no delay. When you're done, tap "Disconnect" and the tablet returns your TV to it's previous state, right down to being on the same channel.
This functionality isn't limited to sending media out, you can also pull it in. If you're in your living room on your tablet and want to listen to some music housed on the bedroom PC? Simply press the "DLNA" icon, select the computer, and go to town. All the movies, music and photos in your Windows Media Player library are at your fingertips at all times. You can even then pass it along to your TV (and therefore your sound system) using the throw feature. No extra software is needed for this if you are using Windows Vista or 7, it's all built right into Windows Media Player, and the tablet will again handle it all for you.
This is revolutionary. Solutions allowing you to do this sort of thing have existed for years, but often available only to those with cost-no-object budgets willing to spend money on custom IR control systems and dedicated home-theater computer servers. Now normal people can get the same setup, all the entertainment in their home fully linked and easy enough for anyone to set up.
The Tablet S also sports the powerful Nvidia Tegra dual core processor, prompting Sony to dub it "Playstation Certified". I'm curious to see if this will shake up the mobile gaming scene at all since Tablet S owners will no longer have content themselves with the bland array of tower defense games or the latest repackaging of Angry Birds all over the Android market. Instead, we will soon have access to the Playstation Network and (supposedly) a substantial portion of PSP and PlayStation titles.
I do feel Sony stumbled with their release, since their primary content apps - Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited (positioned to compete with Netflix or Amazon, I imagine) and the afformentioned PSN access are all "coming soon". In the mean time, you can at least load up the tablet with your own media, even more so thanks to the SD card slot. While the stock Android music and video players can't access the card's storage (making it useless out of the box except for data transfer), most third party market place players will, easily allowing you to turn a 32gb tablet into a 64gb tablet. It's unfortunate that the only way to get this content to the big screen is via DLNA. Not including a mini-HDMI or the like - staples of the now-300-dollar Blackberry Playbook and the iPad - is an absolute miss and a big strike against a tablet positioning itself as an entertainment platform.
Finally, not much has really been said here about the tablet's distinct physical design. While it has the added benefit of making it stand out from what has mysteriously remained a parade of absolutely identical looking devices, shifting the weight to the edge really does make it a snap to hold for long periods of time. The downside to it's design is of course how totally cheap it feels. The body is plastic, and scratching that pretty plastic screen is inevitable. It's no surprise that Sony would follow it's typical bent and charge a premium price and expect the masses to gladly pay it; while I have personally been enjoying the Tablet S, I also did not pay the full retail price. I think the average user should assess what they want from a tablet and do some reading. Business users should definitely look elsewhere, especially if presentations are a requirement of your tablet experience. The DLNA throw feature is limited to media alone. You won't be wirelessly displaying a powerpoint slideshow, and having no physical outputs is a staggeringly bad decision.
October 5, 2011
Very comparable with ipad functionality that makes it a good choice. Certain innovative design need to be standardize similar to the Vaio - power supply adapter, USB connector, video output, adjustable or more sensitive fidelity microphone, need calibration program for touch pad pointing even with stylus. Wi-Fi intermittent weak connection even within 4 feet of access point. Although ergonomic design is great, it is touch sensitive on side margins when holding tablet. Need up/down arrow control on keyboard, since editing text touch points on a line above or below (calibration?). portability and readability is its greatest feature. I believe a platform sleeve/cover would help when handling to perform operations such as typing or reading an ebook for longer periods.
September 5, 2012
Very happy with my tablet!
I feel I did a lot of good research before I selected this tablet. I picked Android so that I would be able to have some features (like Flash) that I cannot get with an iPad. In addition, I appreciate that this tablet is lighter than an iPad and that the wedge shape easily fits in my hand. I have had a lot of fun with the built in applications, such as Pinball and the remote controls.
On a down side, I felt I needed to buy an extra one of the proprietary power cords - one for work and one for home (rather than assume I'd always remember to carry it. This did add to the cost, but I can tell you I am glad I did. The wedge shape is wonderful, but some applications assume that I will always hold the tablet in my right hand, which is not true; those applications refuse to rotate. Lastly, some features, like the favorites screen, are not intuitive and I have given up trying to use it.
I would suggest that you buy the STM sleeve with strap for quick and easy portability and put a microfiber cloth in the bag (all tablets need regular removal of fingerprints).
Overall, I think the postives outweight the negatives, I find myself using my tablet just about every day, and I would recommend this tablet to you.
June 17, 2012