Meet Sony's Tablet S (SGPT111US/S And SGPT112US/S)
The asymmetric thickness of the Tablet S makes it difficult to size up next to the competition. Somewhat deceptively, Sony selectively specifies a single thickness, which of course is the thinnest 0.3" measurement at the lip of the tablet. At the other end of the wedge, you're looking at a 7/8" (0.875") measurement.
As a result of Sony's design decisions, the Tablet S obviously isn't as thin or as attractive as some of the products competing against it. However, it turns out to be incredibly functional. The tablet's wider end is very natural to hold in portrait mode, almost like a real book. Other solutions we've tested are either too thin or afflicted with a sharp edge. Consequently, you end up with a hand cramp after a while. This isn't the case with the Tablet S.
Ergonomics also explain a limitation of three possible orientation modes. Looking at it in a landscape arrangement forces you to have the thin lip facing toward you. Holding the tablet the other way (thin end facing away) is more awkward, like holding a paperweight with your fingertips. Thus, we're completely fine with three, rather than four, orientation options.
|Length||Width||Height||Screen Size||Aspect Ratio||Weight|
|iPad 2 (3G)||9.5"||7.31"||.34"||9.7"||4:3||1.33 lb.|
|Acer Iconia A500||9.8"||6.6"||.5"||10.1"||16:10||1.5 lb.|
|Asus Eee Pad Transformer||10.2"||7"||.5"||10.1"||16:10||1.65 lb.|
|Motorola Xoom||10.7"||7"||.5"||10.1"||16:10||1.5 lb.|
|Motorola Xoom Family Edition||9.8"||6.6"||.5"||10.1"||16:10||1.4 lb.|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1||10.1"||6.9"||0.38"||10.1"||16:10||1.3 lb.|
|Sony Tablet S||9.5"||6.8"||0.3"||9.4"||16:10||1.3 lb.|
|Toshiba Thrive||10.8"||7"||0.6"||10.1"||16:10||1.6 lb.|
The iPad/iPad 2's 4:3 screen is deliberately sized to mimic a pad of paper. Conversely, we have yet to see an Android-based tablet with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Google and its hardware partners all seem focused on video content, as you can see from the 16:10 displays on all of the other tablets in the chart above.
Unlike the competition, however, the Tablet S employs a 9.4" LCD. This makes it more comparable to the iPad 2's 9.7" 4:3 display in that you getting roughly the same horizontal space, but less vertical room to work.
Due to its placement of the Wi-Fi and GPS antennas, Sony is forced to issue recommendations on holding the Tablet S. We have our own thoughts on them, naturally.
- In landscape mode, hold the tablet so its front camera lens is at the top. This should be obvious, considering turning the tablet upside-down won't re-orient the screen anyway.
- In portrait orientation, hold the tablet so its front camera lens is on the left side. Be careful not to block the ambient light sensor (to the right of the front-facing camera). This sounds like another orientation limitation to us. But hey, whatever it takes not to block the antenna, right?
- Be careful not to hold or cover the antenna shown in the figure above while using the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or GPS functions. Because this is something we all want to have to think about as we're using our mobile devices.
The entire tablet is covered in ABS plastic, but the back features a glossy finish with a slight, dotted texture to help with grip. Otherwise, the silver surfaces are completely smooth.