sony tablet s

The Sony Tablet S ships with Android 3.1, which is Google's dedicated operating system for tablet devices known as Honeycomb. This improves browsability on a larger screen, unlike the first tablets which ran the smartphone version of Android.

Honeycomb is a great operating system, and offers everything you need from a tablet, which is helping to put Android tablets on an equal footing with the iPad.

Press and hold on the screen, and you will be taken to a selection of widgets, apps, and other additions to your desktop. It's easy to get it set up your way, but we can't help but feel that Honeycomb has a long way to go until it's as usable as iOS.

homescreen

Sony has enhanced the standard Android Honeycomb interface, without changing the design, so it feels more intuitive than other tablets. The home screen stays the same, with the addition of a favourites button next to the apps menu, so you can quickly access your most-used applications.

Sony has also placed some handy quick launch buttons in the top left, so you can access the browser, email and a social feed reader app, which brings together your Twitter and Facebook accounts into one manageable place.

apps

In a bid to make the interface more intuitive, Sony has made some tweaks to Honeycomb which are unique to the Sony Tablet S. The apps menu itself has received a bit of a makeover, so it's a little more responsive to your finger, and you can sort the icons by newest first, A-Z, and even add your own separators in, to totally customise the look and feel.

Sony has also made some tweaks to the responsiveness of the touchscreen to your finger, and the effects are immediately noticeable.

The main area these tweaks manifest themselves is the on-screen keyboard, and this is one of the best in the business. You can type quickly and accurately, even in spite of the smaller screen size.

keyboard

In landscape mode, the full QWERTY keyboard has a numeric keypad on the right hand side, which is a fantastic addition, and means you don't have to flick keyboard modes, like you do on the iPad.

This makes typing a lot easier, and combined with the wedge-shaped design offering up the keypad to a usable angle when aid flat, we have one of the best tablets for typing, without a physical keyboard.

Apps

The Tablet S ships with Android 3.1 and is instantly upgradeable to the latest 3.2 version, which enables all users to access to the Android Marketplace with its selection of 300,000 apps.

While the gap has closed between the iOS and Android app stores in terms of the number of apps on offer, we still feel that there's a long way to go before Google can match the quality of Apple's apps.

A browse of the Android Market doesn't yield the selection of big names that you'd find on the App Store, and scratching below the surface often means disappointing quality, which Apple simply would not accept. However, it by far surpasses the app stores of BlackBerry and HP.

Sony has tried to address this issue with a choice of its own apps. Proprietary app stores normally cause us to emit a disgusted groan, but this is an area which makes the Sony Tablet S really stand out.

select app

There are feed readers and mail clients, which offer nothing which isn't already on the Marketplace, but also some great games and a handy universal remote app.

The Sony Tablet S is PlayStation certified, and the tablet has been released with a PS1 port of Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes game.

The PlayStation factor makes the Sony Tablet S a great buy for gamers, but at the moment, the number of titles is quite pitiful. We really hope that the selection of games increases exponentially over the coming months.

Sony fans who have kitted their home out with the Japanese giant's wares will also love the universal remote. This uses Infrared to allow you to control your TV, PlayStation 3, Blu-ray player and other Sony gizmos, all from the comfort of your living room.

Sony has also added its own music service, which offers access to 9 million tunes for £9.99 a month, and also an on-demand video service, which is again available as part of a subscription.