Sony Tablet P: Unusual Android tablet

4/19/2012 3:06:17 PM

Description: Sony Tablet P

Tablet P is the most unusual Android tablet we have ever seen so far. With folded body and two 5.5-inch screens, it is easy to be taken with than many typical tablets since you can easily put it into your coat’s pocket or small handbag when folding its lid. The design protects screen from harm, so you do not need a bulky bag, ang when opened, the two 5.5-inch screens have a size that approximates to 7 inches when measured from corner to corner. This means it is rather bigger when opened in comparision with Motorola’s Xoom 2 Media Edition although it seems neater and lighter in daily use.

Without wrapping, you may worry about scraping outside face, but the outside face is made of two panels stitched to one another that are easy to replace. There were only silver panels available when we did this article, but we hope Sony will create some more interesting colors. The top panel has a hole for 5MB camera (there is an internal 2MP camera for video chat and portrait), but we are not impressed by quality since the pictures lack details. We still do not understand why expensive tablets cannot have similar image quality to medium smartphones.

Data package

Below top edge is a SIM card slot to provide 3G mobile data connection. With those who have smartphones, a second data contract appears rather luxurious. However, at this time you can buy a prepaid SIM with £5/month from Vodafone with 250MB data limit, which is quite much for browsing basic web and emailing.

The bottom edge hides Micro SDHC slot that you will certainly need to use since Tablet P just has 4GB preset capacity – which is less than most current smartphones and is a disappointment based on its price. On positive side, you have access to replacable 3.7V 3080mAh battery, so you can buy spare battery and double battery life. In video playing test, the battery lasted 6 hours 22 mins.

Open Tablet P, you will see two screens saperated by an 8mm black bar. We are impressed by screens which are quite bright and have 1,024x480 resolution, nearly 1,024x960 pixels in total for both. It is nearly equal to upcoming 7-inch tablet generation with 1,280x800 screen. However, the question here is that how the distance between screens affects the way you use tablet, and the answers are different depending on the app you are running.

Description: Sony Tablet P

A small icon in taskbar allows choosing between just using the top screen or pull apps throughout both screens as if it was a simple screen. Tablet P remembers your hobby for each app, so you do not need to set up mode all times.  However, some apps are inappropriate to be used throughout both screens, and Sony altered some others in effort to take advantage of design – with pell-mell results.

When put on the desk or table, Tablet P is wonderful to type. Email app uses both screens smartly, with preview windows on the top screen, and folders with email list on the bottom screen. The latter is replaced with keyboard when you want to type message. Unfortunately, this dual screen mode just works with Sony’s keyboard, which is quite bad and seldom provides auto spelling correction. We find that Tablet P is too big to type with two thumbs while being kept, so you have to turn back to typing with one finger in this script.

Description: Sony Tablet P


You will not encounter problem with web browser, regardless of what kind of browser you choose. It took a while for us to accept the fact that the black bar is not an enigmatic part of the web, but later, reading on screen is quite easy. Having such high resolution to browse web in a pocket-device is a daring work of Sony.

Calendar app works well, with a wonderful overall of month giving you basic details of what you are going to do very day, which is quite useful for those who do not have appointments from hours to hours. However, unlike our Touch Calendar favorite app, Sony’s work schedule is not multipoint. With apps supporting it, multipoint feature works on both screens, so you can use one finger on each screen to pinch and zoom.

A wonderful feature of Tablet P is that you can hold it as an open book and read on two opposite pages. However, in fact, we see that two text columns are too narrow to provide a feeling like real book. Reading complex prose in this way appears to be fussy because sentence structures are easy to lose. A bothering thing is that there is no way to shift to overall for easier view. We prefer to use Kindle app with Tablet P in a normal way and texts running throughout both screens from top to bottom.

Map is also another good example explaining why screen devided into two halves is not effective with everything. When browsing Google Maps, you certainly focus what you want in the middle of the screen, and then zoom in and out. However, middle position seems to be useless here since interruptive places on screens distort distance among positions. We found that we had used the top screen and neflected the bottom one. What a pity that Sony did not rearrange such apps to keep toolbars and search information on the bottom screen. Android Market also just runs on the top screen.

Most games run on both screen. Video contents are also enjoyed on one screen only. We have seen dual core Tegra 2 chipset (2 1GHz) of Tablet P with 1GB RAM many times before. It ran everything smoothly, but reached JavaScript performance at a rather medium level (2107ms) in SunSpider test.

Tablet P is expensive with £499, especially because it just provides 4GB capacity. We are ready to bet that it is more expensive than upcoming Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition and certainly not cheaper than Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 equipped with SuperAMOLED.

Unique design makes it more mobile even than these tablets, but dual screen has its own disadvantages. Most Android users can choose from many apps to replace for any preset tool that they do not like. Clearly, this is much more difficult if you want apps to optimize using both screens. We also do not expect updrade to Android 4.0 soon.

Sony Tablet P will not be suitable for all users, but if you want a hard and compact tablet to use on the road, and the disadvantages we listed here do not make you discouraged, this is the tablet you are ecpecting.


Description: Sony Tablet P

Verdict. It is a compact and durable tablet for daily tasks on road, but has disadvantages with its dual screen design.

Tablet. 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2, 1GB RAM, 4GB disk drive, Nvidia Tegra 2 graphic, two 5.5-inch LCD screens, Android 3.2, 158x180x14mm, 372g, one-year RTB warranty.

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