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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.