Sony Xperia Tablet S – A Striking Product

2/15/2013 6:21:42 PM

This is Sony’s best Android tablet ever, but it is a lower value in comparison with rivals.

The water-proof Sony Xperia S was removed from the shelf due to a problem with the water-proof polish. It is now available again but will it bring Sony good market shares?

Description: Sony Xperia Tablet S
Sony Xperia Tablet S

It actually has quite good technical specs, with NVidia Tegra 3 CPU 1.3GHz, 16GB storage, 8MP camera and Android 4.0. Although this model we tested only supports Wi-Fi, 3G versions are also available. It is sleek, lightweight and easily handled. It looks similar to other tablets, but edges are convex, hiding power button and volume keys in one side and 3.5mm jack plus SD card slot in the other side. Pitifully, there’s no video output, thus you can’t connect the tablet with TV. Card reader and charging port are covered by plastic flips though the charging port’s flip is removable yet easily lost.

However, these thin plastic pieces are very important for one of the tablet’s most essential feature: it is completely waterproof. We poured a glass of water onto the screen and it didn’t get any difficulty. Along with guest account restriction, it makes Xperia Tablet S ideal for families having kids.

Guest room

Sony developed guest mode when Google announced Android 4.2 would support multi-user-accounts thus this feature is not unique. However, as it runs Android 4.0.3 ICS, it was one of the available tablets that supported this version of the OS. Once guest mode is activated, you can choose specific apps and utilities to enable or disable, limit access to the Internet or features such as camera and Google Play Store. Using password, you can safely give your kids the tablet without worrying that they will be absorbed.

Beside guest mode, Sony made little change to the default Android UI. Two only additions are a shortcut bar, which offers quick access to 4 apps no matter which screen you are at, and mini Apps mode. It allows you to open web-browser, calculator, recorder or remote control via any open App. They are all approved supplements yet not breakthroughs for Android user’s experience.

There are quite many pre-installed apps, including Sony Walkman media player, eBook Reader, Music & Video streaming service and Xperia Link, which allows you to combine Sony smartphone to connect with one-touch Internet. Though Google Play Store is quickly collecting contents, Sony exclusively has a lot of movies and singers. But, you have to check both as we realize some difference in prices. The installed IR blaster allows you to replace remote controls with a general remote control installed into the tablet.

All apps looked great on the 9.4in IPS display (1280x800 pixels). Image looked clear with lots of contrast and balanced colors. It was not as bright and vivid as AMOLED, and the too glossy screen may turn reflection into a problem, but basically texts and icons seemed sharped and legible. We could play 720p smoothly though audio quality was medium. Two speakers turned downward and volume was a little low. They were not much loud even at full volume. For the screen, Sony also applied low-friction coat, which did nothing to prevent fingerprint and felt a little slippery, resulting in more mistyping than usual.

The rear 8MP camera was surprisingly powerful but we still expected the tablet shouldn’t be used for anything except portrait sometimes. Images looked clear in distance but when enlarged, it was easy to loss in detail. Colors also looked duller than from a medium smartphone. Plus, it was possible to record 1080p videos but continuous focusing was not ideal.

Core values

Xperia Tablet S did well thanks to NVidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor (1.3GHz) and 1GB of RAM. It got a score of 4070 in Quadrant Benchmark, putting it on par with Asus Transformer Prime, and completed SunSpider JavaScript test in 1602.8ms. It is not the fastest Android tablet at present but strong enough to play game and perform multi-tasking without lagging. It also created 12h 35min considerably in our test of battery, thus you will easily get through a day working.

It’s a pity that Sony kept Xperia Tablet S too long to solve the problem of the waterproof polish, as it lost much market share to Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD. The two 7in tablets are as powerful and, much cheaper while Nexus 10 has better screen for an equivalent price. The waterproof design and friendly customer care of Xperia Tablet S is completely useful but according to the high price, Nexus 10 is clearly a better one to buy.

Description: The device is waterproof.

The device is waterproof.


·         RRP: $494

·         Website:


Technical specs

·         CPU: NVidia Tegra 3 1.3GHz

·         RAM: 1GB

·         Storage: 16GB

·         Graphics: NVidia Tegra 3

·         Display: 9.4in IPS (1280x800 pixel)

·         OS: Android 4.0.3

·         Size/weight: 9x240x174mm/570g

·         Warranty: RTB 1 year

·         Runtime: 12h 35min



·         This is Sony’s best Android tablet ever, but it is a lower value in comparison with rivals.

·         Ratings: 4/5

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