back to article Sony Tablet S

Sony may be late to the Android tablet party but it has turned up with something rather unusual and hopefully different enough from the iPad to not suffer the attentions of Apple’s hyperactive legal department. Sony Tablet S A slice of Honeycomb: Sony's Tablet S Called the Tablet S, the Nvidia Tegra 2 bits and pieces …


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  1. Arctic fox

    There does appear to be much to like about this tab but............

    "For me, you can't beat the no-nonsense connectivity of an HDMI port or full-size USB 2.0 socket, and so I'm left feeling Sony deserves a bit of kick for not fitting them when the bulbous rear of the Tablet S clearly has the space. ®"

    ...............there is no flaming excuse for this. No HDMI, you have to use a proprietary charger and no proper USB when they could have fitted one. I do not understand what the mindset is here. With those things in place this would likely have been one of the very best tablets on the market bar none (the iPad included) - what is it with some of the OEMs?

    1. thesykes

      maybe they're following Apple's example and missing off obvious features, just so they can add them later and say they've improved it?

      As for the review complaining about the lack of IR on the PS3, I'd disagree. The Bluetooth remote for the PS3 is better than IR. It works no matter what angle you're at, whether there's anyone stood between you and the PS3. IR remotes can be a pain if you're not pointing them directly at the exact spot where the receiver is (well, my TV remote is) and if you have kids you'll know that trying to change the channel with them stood right in front of the TV is impossible. Does this slab pair with a PS3 to allow it to control it?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        PS3 Bluetooth remote

        Is actually a pain, I have had to move ours out of the way in case we accidentally touch it and the PS3 switches on.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Boo hoo, first world problems!!

  2. JDX Gold badge

    Kind of pricey

    Trying to beat iPad on features/quality rather than price is a bold move. I wonder if it will work - or if most of the people happy to splash £500 (!!) on a gadget will already have an iPad.

  3. Wanda Lust

    HDMI oversight

    Totally agree that lack of HDMI is a stupid omission. This would be my tablet if it had an HDMI port.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I have to say it's something I just don't see as relevant for this sort of device but clearly people are keen for it to be there so can someone give an example of when it would be used?

      I feel like I'm missing out on something (that something being an excuse for more cables which generally makes me happy).

  4. Chris Judd
    Thumb Down

    I had a look at this in Currys recently, found it horribly plasticky. Felt very cheap and flimsy, where most other tablets have gone for the sleek, solid brushed aluminium-type look/feel. I think Sony's got this one wrong personally.

    1. Mike H.

      Easily scratched

      I went looking for a Tablet last month and this was on the list. However, I had read that the screen was prone to scratching. The first one I saw on display had a huge scratch across the diusplay so that was crossed of my list straight away.

      It also felt a bit like a cheap plastic toy, cant say it appealed to me regardless of the spec. Bought a Tab 10.1 instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        The review mentions Gorilla Glass - I thought this was best of breed?

    2. Steven Gray

      I had a go on one at the local PC World and found the UI to have a visible framerate. Reminded me of my HP Touchpad actually.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it the best Android tablet screen to date? Yes, and by some margin.

    How so? How is it better than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer's screen?

    1. tamar1n47

      18 bit

      Well don't know about this sony tablet but the eee pad transformer only has an 18 bit colour display. I was quite disappointed when i got mine cos none of the reviews mentioned this but i'm not bothered by it any more.

  6. paul 97


    Not something you see everyday.

    This and the good screen make it hot from me.

    1. Audrey S. Thackeray

      Agreed - IR is the best selling point for a tablet device.

      I would anticipate a toy of this sort sitting in the living room so using it as a universal remote is a natural extension (I used to use my TapWave Zodiac in this way).

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    I like no IR in the PS3

    I have a bluetooth remote for the PS3 and it has to be one of the easiest remotes I have. That is in no small part because it doesn't have to be pointed at the device, or have a clear line of sight or even be in the same room. Just poke the buttons and the unit responds. Conversely I have a Humax PVR device and the bloody thing needs precision aiming for it to respond which isn't helped by the clumsy UI.

    In this particular case I don't even see why it couldn't act as a remote for the PS3. The tablet has bluetooth, the PS3 has bluetooth. Both are made by the same company. What's the problem. Fix the tablet and / or the PS3 firmware and it would happen.

    I wish more devices would dump IR to be honest. Bluetooth is just more useful and I assume that a tablet featuring bluetooth should be able to manage those devices as well. It could be bidirectional too so that smart remotes could display stuff like key layouts & functions, context senstive menus, album cover, current track, volume, help, or anything else the device felt like conveying.

    1. joshimitsu

      Would be great if it could double up as a game controller for the PS3.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Don't see why not

        The PSP doubles up as a game controller via remote play over wifi so I don't see why something similar couldn't be done over bluetooth assuming the PS3 firmware supported it. A few PS3 games support keyboard and mouse for example so perhaps it would be useful for them, or to Rockband / DJ style games as a piano, turntable etc.

        Beyond that I think there is massive scope for a bluetooth standard where devices like the PS3, TVs, amp, aircon unit are able to describe their user interface to a remote tablet and have the tablet render them on screen. Even better would be proper bidirectional communication so the tablet almost acts like an extension to the device.

  8. frank ly

    And if you want to transfer files you'll need the SGP-UC1 adapter cable......

    Or, install the 'AndFTP' app (FTP client) and run an FTP server on your PC. Or, store your data files on a NAS box and use its built in FTP server; for Wi-Fi transfer of files between your NAS box and any Android device.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Simple for the average consumer then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And if you want to transfer files you'll need the SGP-UC1 adapter cable......

      Or, install XKermit app and run a Kermit server on your PC. Or, store your files on a NAS and use it's builtin UUCP support.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ES file explorer, sees NAS drives and windows shares... and is FREE!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a Sony

    So if it's anything like their Vaios, you'll never see any updates.

    1. thesykes
      Thumb Down


      if it's like their Android Xperia phones, you will.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It depends: Sony *Ericsson* have been quite liberal about what people can do with their devices, and I think they've even donated devices to people to get other OS distributions working on them; Sony, on the other hand, have shown an interest in suing people who dare to demand more of their kit than Sony themselves have deemed appropriate.

        1. DrXym Silver badge


          Sony sued Geohot for circumventing DRM controls (including releasing a root key) which allowed the PS3 to play pirated content. Left unchecked it would have destroyed the PS3 as a viable gaming console. Game sales would have fallen off a cliff, premium titles would be replaced by a sea of shovelware and the platform would die a slow and painful death. Just like on the DS and Wii.

          So it's no wonder they sued the guy and the law was in place to let them do it too.

          I doubt Sony would give a crap about you hacking a tablet unless there was a financial risk in it, e.g. if rooting let you play pirated PS1 titles. Even then I think the threat and loss would be so small that they wouldn't think it worth pursuing.

  10. Anonymous John

    3G version.

    I can never believe that it takes an extra £100s worth of electronics to support a sim card

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      1£ of electronics, 70£ worth of IPR, rest is margin

      1. Anonymous John

        70£ worth of IPR

        When you can buy a Pay As You Go phone for a fiver?

        Not that it matters to me, as I have a Three MiFi thingie.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Fiver for a phone with 3G?

          He's right, just like with DVD players we're getting to the point where industrious far-eastern manufactures have innovated so well in producing cheaper and better devices that a sizeable chunk of the money we pay is going to fatcat Imaginary Property owners.

          Maybe Lidl will start selling cheap phones without bothering to get a licence if they're not too put off by being sued by the MPEG-LA for when they did it with DVD players.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not fitting an IR receiver to the Playstation 3 starts to look an even dafter move by Sony.

    Err... Doesn't the Playstation use Bluetooth for its wireless? and doesn't this S have Bluetooth also? I really don't see the reason to add a second (and inferior) level of interface... I just think someone needs to write the app...

  12. Alex Walsh

    typical sony

    They wait and wait and wait and then slavishly follow all the issues that have stopped Android tablets really competing with the iPad. Proprietary ports? A price scheme identical to the iPad? We all saw what that did to the Motorola Xoom didn't we?


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tegra 2

    Tegra 2 is fine, but can become less than fluid. I'm holding out for the Tegra 3 or Exynos tablets, with ICS on board.

    Having said that, this Sony piece is a good looking and quite ergonomic device. I agree that the lack of an HDMI port is a big miss - more so when you count in all those Bravia screens the company makes.

    Good effort for a first-gen device, I say.

    If I was to buy one today, it would my second choice after Asus Transformer (which can't be beat, from a usability standpoint). I would pick this over the Samsung tablets, definitely. The Samsung UI is ugly, down to the bundled wallpapers. They can be changed, but do they have to be so cheap looking out of the box? Not to mention the lack of ports.

  14. tmTM

    500 quid?!?

    Why not just buy an Ipad?

    1. Mike H.

      Perhaps because there is 'choice'

      Why buy an iPad? I've used one. Its an Ipod Touch hidden behind a large display, incredibly yesterday and boring.

    2. Alan Twelve

      Why not just buy an iPad?

      Because this is better?

      1. larokus

        In considering lack of an hdmi port and external connectivity as weaknesses.. the Ipad is the weakest of them all, or are you not a reg reader?

  15. Lab Monkey

    Is this not a little late for the tegra 2?

    Arent Asus launching a new transformer in the next few weeks with the Tegra3?

  16. Rastamouse


    Patent that shape quick, someone might also think of a wedge shape and then what will happen, though maybe sony aren't like apple yet

  17. launcap Silver badge

    It's from Sony..

    Which means it'll be a cold day in hell before I buy one!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is it with the HDMI love? El Reg and commenters seem to think its the killer app, but damned if I can see why. What is the use case here?

    1. 27escape

      use case?

      Watching films/iplayer/catchup tv, on a tv that has hdmi but is not connected to a network video source, ps3/boxee etc.

      Situations where this may be useful, bedroom may not have network source, popping to your grans and showing her that film you took while on holiday, or the holiday snaps

      Streaming stuff from your PC that is in the study onto your living room tv

      There are plenty of use cases for this, which is why a number of other manufacturers build this very useful feature into their tablets

    2. ratfox Silver badge


      If you want a big screen, buy a laptop, a desktop, or a TV...

      "The cool thing with my digital watch is that I can connect it to my 20 inches monitor to display the time in really large letters."

    3. stucs201

      re: HDMI

      I have to agree. If you're plugging into an external screen then their are other devices with better storage capacity and portability than a tablet. Even an several year old iPod classic does better for this.

      What I would find useful is some sort of video *input* to allow the tablet to also be used as a screen for other devices. Either ones where the inbuilt screen is tiny (e.g. iPod classic (again) or DSLR) or devices where a second screen might be useful (e.g. desktop PC (*)).

      (*) yes I know software options exist for this, but HDMI input would mean less crap needing to be installed and also allow use with devices where software isn't an option.

  19. Chris 171


    Not really a killer for me as DNLA kit seems to have filled the gap, tho considering there is an HDMI port in my phone, it really should be there.

    Recession being as it is I have held back from getting one, pretty convinced they will drop the price closer to Christmas & if not then January. £400 is just a little too much, £299 will see these things flying out.

    Concerned there is no Gorilla Glass on the front & it does feel plasticky but either way, its not an ipad & should keep the Mrs happy (and off my laptop).

  20. Graham Lockley

    My (brief) encounter with one of these left me quite impressed. There has been little mention in the comments about the wedge shape yet this was the first thing I found impressive. It felt right in both landscape and portrait modes. I agree with Chris 171, £299 and it will wipe out both Android and IOS competitors. Now all I need to figure out is why I need one when my EEEpc does all the portable browsing I want (much better than any tablet), my SGS2 does for my ultra portable needs and my pc does for my grunt computing needs. Guess I'm not in the market for iPad2 either then :)

    Tis a nice bit of kit tho, maybe given time I could justify getting one.

  21. karly
    Thumb Down

    Plastic is awful

    Just pop into any shop with one on display and you will see the back and sides chipped and scratched. The thin pale metal colour plastic coating shows black plastic underneath easily with deep scars and marks.

    It looks very nasty in my two local Curry shops, no-one in their right mind would buy one when sitting next to them is an unmarked iPad.

  22. larokus

    MediaServer app?

    Does it have the same mediaserver app the Xperia smartphones have? I find it pretty handy for wireless video streaming over my ps3 :)

  23. Paul 135

    Rear cameras on tablets?????

    Is it just me, or is this trend of all the tablet manufacturers insisting on including a rear camera not rather naff? Who actually uses a tablet for taking photographs, especially when the type of people who own tablets also own smartphones?

  24. Bub

    Not adding IR to PS3?

    PS3's remotes work via Bluetooth - so IR is redundant - sure the question is, why doesn't the Tablet S have a Bluetooth remote app (integrated with the IR one)?, not, why doesn't the PS3 have IR?

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