Sony Tablet S review

Can Sony's wedge-shaped Android tablet make a splash?

Sony Tablet S
Sleek, beautiful and powerful, could this be the new tablet king?

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

sony tablet s

When it comes to performance, the Sony Tablet S really comes into its own.

Using the operating system is fast, and every swipe is rewarded with smooth dragging of screens and apps, and there was no slowdown whatsoever.

Despite the great specs, rendering was an issue on certain websites, which caused strange half page displays and juddery scrolling.


One of the worst offenders was Sony's own app store called Select App, which is where you find the PlayStation titles, and this was extremely frustrating and slow to use.

We also found issues when rotating the screen, and it often stuck, before jerking into place- and while it didn't ruin the experience, it's touches like this that show why the iPad 2 is so good.

Battery life was a standard affair, and the boost in performance seems to have had a knock-on effect in longevity. We found the Sony lasted around 4 hours when playing demanding video, around 9 hours of web browsing and game playing, and around 30 hours of occasional coffee table web browsing.


The iPad is pretty light on media and connectivity, but this is another area where the Sony Tablet S excels.

You can add an SD card to the 16/32GB of built in memory, and there's also a MicroUSB connection for added files to your tablet. However, storage is an issue with the Sony.

The first bugbear is that a MicroUSB cable isn't sold with the tablet, which will be an annoyance for anyone who takes the Sony Tablet S home, to start transferring media, music and video.

The second is that an exploration of the file manager reveals that on the 16GB model, only 9GB is available to use. What's more, with everything that comes installed as standard, you only have 7GB to play with.

file transfer

This is partly due to a partition that the Sony makes, to keep the operating system and file system separate. When we received the tablet, only 3.7GB was available for apps and system files.

With a total of 9GB for the file system, and 4GB for the system files, a whopping 3GB is M.I.A, presumably lost when formatting the system, which makes that SD expansion slot look all the more necessary.

We had high hopes for the Sony as a media tablet, but unfortunately, the Tablet S fell short of our expectations.

movie player

We loaded the Tablet S with three movies, but neither of our .MKV movies were recognised. The third, which was a standard definition .mp4 movie played fine, but the lack of support for this popular format left us disappointed.

The screen is also a bug-bear on the Sony Tablet S, and again we felt let down. It's sharp and clear, but it's just not very bright, and this really hit home while watching our movie. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 screen is much more vibrant, and a real media lover's tablet.


As we mentioned, the Sony Tablet S is PlayStation certified, which means there are a host of PlayStation titles to enjoy.

sony tablet s

These games use a mix of touchscreen controls on the newer games such as Pinball, and an on-screen PS1 pad on ported titles such as Crash Bandicoot.

Using an onscreen joypad takes some getting used to, and with no tactile buttons to guide you, we were forever pressing the wrong button, and it did feel imprecise.

sony tablet s

It doesn't take long to get into it, and with a bit of trial and error, the controls were soon mastered, and we ended up loving the gaming experience.

The size and shape of the Sony Tablet S really helps you play for extended periods, with the buttons well positioned near the left and right hand sides of the screen.

sony tablet s

If you're a fan of old PS1 titles, this tablet is for you, let's just hope Sony honour their commitment, and keep bringing out good retro games.