BERLIN: V3 got some hands-on time with Sony's forthcoming Android tablets at the IFA show ahead of their launch in September.
Sony has been very secretive about the specifications, and this marks the first time that tablets running the Android Honeycomb operating system have been previewed. First up was iPad 2 rival the Sony Tablet S, which we were very impressed with.
The Tablet S comes with Android Honeycomb, so navigation was very familiar. The Apps menu is noticeably different from other Android devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but Sony hasn't overdone the customisation, which is good.
The Tablet S is a thing of beauty, but we were unsure about the asymmetric design when looking at the tablet from afar. However, any fears were allayed when we picked it up.
It is very comfortable to hold and, at 598g, it's one of the lightest tablets on the market considering the large screen size. We also liked the handy cover for the SD card and micro USB connections.
Some of the unique features include infra-red connectivity and the ability to 'throw' content onto other Sony devices. So you can simply swipe a finger up and throw a video onto a connected TV or transfer music to wireless speakers, for example. This worked really well during our hands-on and allows Sony to offer a connected ecosystem.
The 1GHz processor made browsing and general responsiveness comparable to the Motorola Xoom. On the basis of our first impressions, the Tablet S looks like a solid effort from Sony. The only stumbling block so far appears to be the £499 price tag.
Our impressions of the Tablet P were not as favourable. It has similar specifications to the Tablet S, but the dual screen is not to our liking. The form factor also felt rather bulky, although it weighs just 372g and outdoes its sister in terms of portability.
Web browsing was a rather fragmented experience and we see the Tablet P functioning primarily as a PSP-style device.
However, the price is going to put many potential buyers off. The Tablet P could come to market at over £500 and, from what we've seen so far, Sony could find it difficult to shift a significant number of units if this is not reduced.
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