First Sony Xperia Tablet S reviews are in… and are not bad

September 25, 2012
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The Sony Xperia Tablet S might not be the iPad killer we’ve all been waiting for so long, but, based on the first few online reviews, it looks like a significant upgrade over Sony’s first tablet efforts from last year, as well as one of the best 10-inch options (or well 9.4 inch) Android has to offer right now.

David Pierce from The Verge calls it “one of his favorite Android tablets yet”, also saying that “after trying something different, Sony tries something better”. Meanwhile, Joseph Volpe from Engadget praises the tab’s presentation and design, but at the same time has a couple of things to criticize about “everyday performance”.

Up for grabs starting at $399 in the US, Canada and select European countries, the Xperia Tablet S will most likely not reach the success heights of the Nexus 7 or the Amazon Kindle Fire, but it is an encouraging sign for Sony to keep up the good work. Let’s see in detail though what Engadget and The Verge had to say about the Tablet S.

Design

We didn’t need reviews to tell us that the Xperia Tablet S is beautiful, elegant and ergonomically masterful, but it’s nice to see a consensus on the matter. The tab’s front is called plain by Engadget, but the uniquely designed sides and back make it look special while ensuring a comfortable grip.

The Verge also has a couple of mixed feelings about the design elements used by Sony, but ultimately the tab is called “better-looking” than Sony’s Tablet S and P from last year, as well as handsome and minimalist.

Display, hardware and performance

The 9.4-inch 1280 x 800 TFT LCD panel is “marginally sharper” than most competitors, but is clearly no match for the iPad’s Retina display or the Asus Transformer Infinity’s screen. The glare is Engadget’s biggest issue with the display, although the viewing angles and color reproduction are said to be rather nice.

As far as hardware goes, the Xperia Tablet S comes with a quad-core 1.3 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 1 GB of RAM, a decent, but not very special configuration for a high-end tablet right now. Engadget took the tab for a quick benchmarking spin in six different tests, with the results putting it on top of similarly equipped gadgets, like the Iconia Tab A700, Asus TF300, and Toshiba Excite 10.

Software, battery life and others

We know very well that benchmark results are not always perfect indicators for real-life performance, and unfortunately this is the case with the Xperia Tablet S. Software is cited as “the limiting factor” for its performance by the Verge, while Engadget notes that the “uneven software experience stumbles more than it pleases”.

Both websites are unhappy with the number of pre-loaded apps installed by Sony on the new tab, but also with the numerous UI changes and tweaks that don’t always work. That said, the Guest Mode is one piece of software that improves user interaction, while the Remote app is an original addition that proves quite nice.

Another department where the Xperia Tablet S performs respectably is the battery life. The Li-Ion 6,000 mAh unit is reported to have lasted about “10 solid hours of watching movies” by The Verge, which is not a record, but pretty darn close to one.

The number of cool optional accessories is also mentioned as an upside by the same site, complementing and improving the device.

Wrap-up

The Xperia Tablet S gets a 7.6 average score in The Verge’s review, while Engadget seems to be slightly more disappointed with it, mentioning the Asus TF300 and Acer Iconia A700 as potentially better alternatives.

Still, there is a sort of a balance between the upsides and downsides of this tablet, meaning that it will most likely come down to personal taste and preferences for anyone thinking of buying the Xperia Tablet S. Also, it is worth noting that some of those performance glitches caused by the software might be solved soon with updates.

What are your thoughts on the Xperia Tablet S after reading these two reviews?

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