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Sony Tablet S Review: The Media Enthusiast's Dream Tablet

DLNA Certification And A Remote Control Catch Our Eyes

Do you want to win a Sony Tablet S of your own? We're giving away two of these tablets along, with a Jambox and $25 gift card for our first-place winner. Special thanks to the TegraZone team for providing the prizes!

Read through our review and, on the last page, follow the link to fill out our entry form on SurveyGizmo. Good luck, Tom's Hardware readers!

Airfoil. That was the first thought that popped into my head when I saw the Tablet S.

For good reason, Sony's first expedition into the tablet market defies the conventional wisdom that dictates "thinner is better." Instead, the company opted to design a tablet with more of a wedge shape. As a result, the Tablet S looks a lot like an aircraft's wing. But then I saw this commercial:

At least according to whichever marketing firm created that minute-long ad, the Tablet S' inspiration comes from a folded piece of paper. Though that's not necessarily any sexier than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Apple's iPad 2, it doesn't need to be. In an increasingly expansive sea of tablet choices, Sony isn't trying to impress us based on good looks. Instead, the company is trying to uniquely cater to entertainment mavens.

Based on a cursory glance at a feature checklist, the Tablet S doesn't really seem well-suited to address that market. It's closely comparable to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but it cannot output to HDMI. Reading data from USB-based drives is possible. But, like the solution from Samsung, you need an adapter.

Once you read beyond the most common tablet-oriented features, though, you see the Tablet S is DLNA-certified, which means it should interact very naturally with other DNLA-enabled devices like TVs, PCs, and speaker systems. The fact that this product is born into an existing ecosystem, rather than forced to co-exist with dissimilar devices, could give it a marked advantage in the tablet space. As an added bonus, the Tablet S is able to operate as a universal IR remote control, giving it functionality much like a Logitech Harmony remote in a tablet form factor.

Native Feature ChecklistAcer Iconia A500Asus Eee Pad TransformerMotorola XoomSamsung Galaxy Tab 10.1Sony Tablet SToshiba Thrive
Full-Sized USB PortX----X
Front CameraXXXXXX
Rear CameraXXXXXX
SD Card Reader----XX
microSD Card ReaderXXX---

Both of those differentiators certainly help make Sony's Tablet S the most unique tablet offering we've seen. However, they're not going to be must-haves for every potential tablet buyer. Again, this product is distinctly aimed at media enthusiasts.