The Sony Tablet S1 aims to be more of a home tablet and fit into smoothly with your home entertainment setup. Does it accomplish this?
Hardware & Design
The Sony Tablet S1 comes with a 9.4 inch LED backlit display which gives a nice vibrant view experiences. The device is built with a wedge-shape so when lay on the tablet you still have a solid viewing angle and able to access controlts on the tablet without picking it up. Its powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor which is the standard for most Android honeycomb tablets. It keeps things running fast and responsive and with 2 GB of ram there is plenty of room for multitasking. There is a VGA front facing camera for video chat an a 5 megapixel rear facing camera with 720p HD video capture. You can see our examples of the video and picture quality below. Its not anything to brag about and the audio is just plain terrible on the video.For storage you get 16 GB build-in and a full size SD car slow on the side for expandable storage up to 32 GB. For connection there is Wi-Fi and IR for controlling your home entertainment system. The S1 has that style and design with powerful hardware that you would expect from a Sony product.
Software & Usability
The Tablet S1 runs Android 3.1 Honeycomb with Sony’s custom UI call Quick & Smooth. It’s a pretty slick interface that skins well over Android. The music player that Sony includes has some cool album cover effects where you can flick and slide them around the screen. If you have it connected to a wireless speaker you can “flick” the song over to the device to play it.
Speaking of connected devices. You can input your IR codes for all of your home theater components and control your entire system right from the tablet. When you connect a new device it will bring up an on screen control layout that matches the closes to the original controller. I was able to get it to work with my TV fine and there was no delay in commands.
The Sony Tablet S1 is also PlayStation Certified so you can grab games from the PlayStation store and play them on her with an on-screen controller layout. I played some Crash Bandicoot and the game ran smooth and is fun to play on the tablet. With the support for USB controllers in Android 3.1 you can basically make this your portable gaming machine.
Sony is also in the unique position of also owning a ton of media and content so they are able to provide you with Sony Unlimited Music and Crackle that is apart of Sony’s Entertainment Network. Millions of songs you can access and thousands of movies and TV shows to choose from. Combined with the ability to upload your own music, movies, TV shows, videos and pictures and DLNA support you have a tablet with unlimited entertainment possibilities. Sony has put together a full entertainment software package and provides you with the content needed to take advantage of it. Battery life is good and on part with most Android honeycomb based tablets.
This is the first Android tablet that I’ve used that feels fully functional for the home entertainment environment. From its “Quick & Smooth” interface, access to Sony’s Entertainment network, DLNA support and IR Remote capabilities it’s a great tablet for those that love their entertainment.