Sony is one of the last major manufacturers to come to market with a tablet, and the Sony Tablet S sets out to challenge the iPad 2 and Android devices with an alternative design and features like an infrared remote application.
Unique design is ergonomic
The Tablet S isn't the best name, but we do like the unique wedge shape that Sony has clearly taken its time over, although not everyone we've shown the tablet to likes it.
Rather than a traditional flat and thin design, the Tablet S is reminiscent of a magazine with the front page folded around. This gives it a lovely ergonomic feel and makes easier to hold in portrait mode. The design also means that when the device is placed on a flat surface, the screen is tilted up slightly.
We really like this alternate design and it's one of the best things about the device. The chassis tapers from 20mm down to 10mm and a textured back provides extra grip when holding the tablet in portrait mode, at least. When we held it in landscape mode, as Android Honeycomb is designed to be used, we found that the corner of the tablet dug into our palm meaning that we had to put it down.
The 598g weight gives the Tablet S a lightweight feel and is about on par with the iPad 2, which weighs in at 601g. When on a flat surface the screen tilt makes it a lot easier to see and type compared to flat tablets.
The power and volume buttons, headphone socket, full size SD card slot, microUSB port and stereo speakers are hidden away on either side of the tablet in small recesses. This not only looks nice but is a handy place for these extras. For some strange reason this is also the location of the notification light, so you never see it.