: Sony Tablet S Analysis: The Gamer's Choice?

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Sony Tablet S Analysis: The Gamer's Choice?

Gamers are a unique bunch. ...okay, maybe they're not exactly unique, but they like it when other digital products cater to their tastes.

Take the Sony Tablet S, for instance, marketed towards gamers as being the only PlayStation-certified tablet available. And indeed, the slick unit features access to the PlayStation Store, which is a big bonus, especially because you can always add to the admittedly bare selection.

So how's about the rest? Is this a tablet gamers are going to want? Please bear in mind that for the purposes of this analysis, I compared the tablet to other popular tablets, such as my brother's iPad 2.

Aesthetic Appeal

Let's start with the look and feel of the Tablet S: This really is one of the most comfortable tablets to hold, which I think is critical considering that I still view these things as portable devices (forget the damn cradles). It's comfortable with one or two hands, the nicely textured surface is conducive to a good grip, and it achieves this level of comfort without much of a fuss. The design is really sort of understated, really.

Screen and Visual

As for the display, you'll be looking at a 9.4" screen that features fantastic depth of color. The 1280 x 800 resolution is clear and sharp, and it actually looks pretty good from off to the side, too (you don't necessarily have to have it directly in front of you to appreciate the visual quality). When you check out some top-notch games, movies, and videos, you'll be all the more impressed with the overall picture.

That being said, the screen's functionality isn't too great. The screen just isn't very slick and actually feels sticky; even my Samsung Stratosphere 4G LTE feels much smoother. If you've got any moisture on your fingers at all, the Galaxy S screen proves problematic, and even extra cold or clammy fingers can cause issues. I'm not saying you can't use the screen effectively; I'm merely comparing it to other screens I've used. The iPad 2 screen, for instance, is super slick and extremely responsive.

Hardware and Apps

Moving on to hardware, I'm not a huge tech person but I did some research here- the Sony's Tablet S started by running Android 3.2.1 but thankfully, it has since upgraded to Android 4.0, which it definitely needed. Overall, in regards to basic mechanics, it still isn't the fastest tablet available, as it doesn't have the silky smooth transition between screens. There's always this very minor delay that actually gets more frustrating with use, especially if you're used to something a little cleaner and quicker. That being said, the included apps are a big plus.

You've got Music Unlimited (which offers a free membership) and a Reader app as well, which syncs up with any Sony eReader hardware. There's even a nifty MediaRemote app that can be used as a universal remote. Bear in mind that I did not test this. I was a little too focused on exploring the one aspect of this tablet that would appeal most to gamers: The all-important inclusion of the PlayStation Store.

For Gamers?

Well...it's there. That's about all I can say right now. While the tablet gives you two games out of the box (the PS1 classic Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes), the Store only features a handful of games. In fact, only about a dozen. Given what the Store actually has when you log on with the PS3 or Vita, that's just a ridiculously low number. Still, at least the Store is available and I've been told they'll keep updating with S-compatible software. PS1 classics on the go is great, but bear in mind that such compatibility will be coming to the Vita very soon.

Overall, I'd say the Tablet S features a great design that is comfortable when held in almost any fashion, a really top-notch graphical display that captures the color saturation quality of a lot of high-res stuff, and the available Music Unlimited and Reader apps make me feel a lot better about the product. It does just about everything any other tablet does (plus a full-screen Chumby alarm clock) and perhaps a tick more, and that's important.

As is often the case in the PlayStation universe, we're examining potential when it comes to a piece of hardware. And in the case of the Sony Tablet S, I'd say gamers should at least keep an eye on it. They really need to get more Store products in there fast  but I can see video game fans going, "Yeah, this is the tablet for me."

7/27/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (37 posts)

gumbi
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 10:10:41 PM
Reply

Sorry Sony, but this is one product that just doesn't measure up to the competition. I tried out a bunch of different tablets when I was shopping for one, and in the end I bought an Asus Transformer Prime. It's just hands down better than the rest. Besides, I've got a Vita, I don't need playstation on a tablet with clunky on screen controls.

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Xombito
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 10:13:45 PM

That tablet. Autobot or decepticon? (Sorry, couldn't help myself)

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Reccaman18
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 11:08:23 PM

You can pair a PS3 controller to it to play PSone games. No need for the on screen controlls.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 3:15:32 AM

Transformer Prime is awesome. But then again I love all ASUS products.

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Xombito
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 10:11:54 PM
Reply

Sooo...how much?

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Reccaman18
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 11:11:19 PM

$399 or $499. 16 gb and 32 gb respectively.

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Xombito
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 11:42:35 PM

Yikes! Sorry Sony. Not this time.

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Temjin001
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 10:21:51 PM
Reply

Screen looks pretty low res relative to the competition. This suggests to me a dialed back GPU as well. If this thing is like $200 or less I'd be semi-interested.

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Neo_Aeon666
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 7:59:15 AM

You do know the Ipad2's resolution is 1024x768?

Oh yeah and the Transformer Prime has the SAME 1280x800 resolution :P

So yeah that only leaves the NEW Ipad that cost twice the price. between 700-900$ you can get a 2048x1536 resolution.... (Total overkill for such a small display LOL not to mention such a waste of GPU power that id rather have towards nicer graphics)

So how does this make it have such a weaker GPU than most if only ONE tablet on the market has a better resolution. You should look up your stuff before saying that :P

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 7/28/2012 8:00:49 AM

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 9:08:36 AM

Neo, Screen looks pretty low res relative to the competition. This suggests to me a dialed back GPU as well. If this thing is like $200 or less I'd be semi-interested.

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Neo_Aeon666
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 4:05:51 PM

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................... You don't seem to even know this tablet's specs.

Is all I have to say.

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 7/29/2012 4:06:45 PM

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Jed
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 10:51:57 PM
Reply

That picture is kind of confusing. It has the DS3 sitting in front of it, but the screen also has buttons on it. Does it work with the DS3?

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Reccaman18
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 11:09:07 PM

Yes it does. I have the tablet and I use one of my extra controllers with it. Works wonderfully!

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Reccaman18
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 11:16:53 PM
Reply

I love my S tablet. The Android 4.0 update is available now for it. The only thing is the lackluster PlayStation store it has, but that should improve. Like the review says, its very comfortable to hold, much like a magazine only sturdier. Its cool that you reviewed this device Ben. I can say that this is a very solid device, and yes, the media remote is sweet! It is currently the only tablet to offer this function through IR.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 11:30:00 PM

Yeah, I just checked. The update is available now, even if it doesn't make it as fast as I'd want. :)

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Neo_Aeon666
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 8:07:01 AM

You guys just wait till Jelly Bean (4.1) Hits it.

My Galaxy Nexus wasnt so fluid under Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) SO I had to modify the OS and overclock the CPU and GPU....

But now I put it back to Factory Fresh and installed Jelly Bean OMG this thing is lightning fast. No more need to customize anything. Just wait 1-2 months till this update comes and you will be amazed by how fast it's become :)

Couple of my friends dumped their Iphones for a Nexus after seeing it perform :D

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 7/28/2012 8:08:11 AM

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Jed
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 7:35:11 PM

@Reccman18

What do you think about the touch screen controls? Do you have any of the same problems that Ben was describing with cold or clammy fingers?

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Reccaman18
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 8:43:37 PM

The touchscreen controlls aren't bad, but nothing beats a PSP3 controller for gaming. For example, the shoulder buttons are hard to get to on screen. I don't really have any problems with using the screen unless my hands become dry. But that is just how touchscreens are.

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BikerSaint
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 11:37:48 PM
Reply

FYI, keep checking around for sales on this, because I've already seen some $100off at different sites now & then.

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Jawknee
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 12:42:19 AM
Reply

I played with this thing at the Sony store. I don't like Android OS. I prefer iOS for phones and tablets.

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Neo_Aeon666
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 8:10:51 AM

It's ok. Some people prefer to be shackled and others to be free :D

Android offers such freedom and you have to try the JellyBean update. It finally reached or surpassed Apple's fluidity standards and now offers just as many features PLUS you can use voice recognition features without having to be connected to the internet.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 10:16:45 AM

I love your enthusiasm, Neo!
Being a Linux nuthead in my spare time and a java developer professionally there should be no surprise that I belong to the Android side too :)

But this discussion between you two there underlines just how important multiple platforms are. Freedom of choice. And luckily it seems that a good majority of network games on mobile now (typically turn-based games like Wordfeud or Uniwar) are multiplat, so that I with my Android phone can play against buddies with iPhone with no hazzle.
Gotta dig that.

(And you guys gotta check out Great Big War Game. It's an awesome strategy game for both iOs and Android)

Last edited by Beamboom on 7/28/2012 10:22:30 AM

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Neo_Aeon666
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 4:21:07 PM

HAHAHA awesome that way I can go hunt me some Apple fan boys :P lol (I am kidding)

Looks really sweet. Graphics are nice and gameplay seems fun. I hope PSN gets those kind of games with the same competitive prices. This game is 2.99 on Google Play but I bet it would be between 9.99-14.99 if it were on PSN T-T Heck I paid 15$ for plants vs zombies on my Vita lol

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 12:44:40 AM
Reply

Sounds like hardly anything has happened in the Playstation Store since the launch of the service then.

Kinda strange and obviously must be disappointing for those who has owned a Xperia Play for up to a year and a half already, but then again how do you compete with the Google Store, really.

Problem is that these kind of u-turns can cause a negative effect on the Playstation brand as a whole. That would be unfortunate.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/28/2012 12:56:11 AM

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Fox hounder
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 2:02:14 AM
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It looks kind of cool, but i'm not much of a tablet guy. Its great for people who are into that sort of thing though :)

As far as the games are concerned. I can't see paying $400 for this thing when i could get a Vita for $250, and have access to all PS1 classics (coming soon, lol)

Last edited by Fox hounder on 7/28/2012 2:03:53 AM

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___________
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 4:05:41 AM
Reply

$ony really need to push playstation mobile allot more!
theres so much potential in it!
i really wish $ony would create their own OS for their mobile devices, i really hate android!
really regretting purchasing my samsung galaxy S3.
brilliant phone love it to death, except android is a pain in the a$$!
its so sad how we have IOS such a brilliant simple OS with so many features!
and the only competition it has is android, and windows phone 7, both which are pretty pathetic!
one thing i really hate about the mobile market, they try to compete with apple but with half as good products!
apple turn up and say here will sell you a Ferrari 458 for 200000 bucks.
than google and M$ come in and say or you could have a ford focus for 200000 bucks.
how can you compete with a market with such a inferior product?
no wonder apple is the biggest most valuable company out there, they have had it handed to them on a silver platter!
if you want to compete with someone you need to either offer a better product, or offer it at a lower price.
apples competitors are doing neither, there charging just as much for their products, and they are hugely inferior!
when will the mobile market wake up to itself and realise you cant send in a high school wrestling champion, and expect him to compete with the worlds best WWE competitors?

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Reccaman18
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 9:39:15 PM

Dude, are you high? Apple is WAY more expensive than any other electronic company. $499 for an android tablet vs $850 for an iPad. Most android phones are around $99 to $199 with a new contract. iPhone? $299 to $399. The only reason why Apple has been successful is that it's trendy to own their products. Apple hardware is good, but the OS is so limited. Little to no customization. And just because you don't like the android OS doesn't mean it sucks either. But everyone has their own opinion I guess.

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Neo_Aeon666
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 4:36:46 PM

Meh that's because: Apple makes a uniform and communist experience for you. If you don't want to customize anything and just want to use your phone and some apps then it's perfect. The boring part is that apart from your little app squares being at a different place... Your phone is just the same as ANY other iphone user. Personally I find this utterly BORING. But you are free to like it.

Android: You make your own experience. And judging by what you are saying... You are just bad at creating your own experience when given the chance. You can say you prefer Apple. That's fine but don't say Android sucks. The only one who sucks is you since I am having no problem dealing with it :P I went from a Windows 6.5 phone (ew lol) to Iphone 4 and now to a Galaxy Nexus (4.1) and honestly I would never go back to apple unless they learn from Android and let me define my own user experience with the Iphone 5.

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___________
Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 9:19:46 AM

wow are you getting ripped or what!?
here the ipad is actually cheaper or the same price as other tablets.
a friend of mine has the motorolla zoom total heap of sh*t compared to the ipad!
thing i hate about android is its SO unstable!
every single game i buy for my iphone works flawlessly!
every single game i buy for my galaxy S3 has problems running.
hell i just bought N.O.V.A 3 for it a few days ago and it has so many frame rate dips its unplayable.
never had a single problem with the game on my 4S.
not to mention half the apps on the store dont support the S3, never have that problem with IOS.
plus the battery life for IOS is far better, i was getting 7 days standby time on my 4S but im lucky to get HALF that with my S3!
and it has a higher capacity battery so if anything it should be better, not worse!
im sorry dude, but android is still a long, long, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way behind IOS!

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Neo_Aeon666
Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 10:22:43 AM

S3 runs on 4.0

Wait till you get Jelly 4.1 huge improvement. And as for the battery. What is nice about Samsung phones is that you can replace it with a better one. I went from 1700 mah to a 3500 mah battery :D And now a puny Iphone can't compare in terms of battery life. With HEAVY internet, gaming and always listening to music and Netflix during my one hour break. The phone lasts 2-3 DAYS. If I mostly just use it for calls I have gone up to two Weeks and I was still at 40% lol. The Iphone can't do that. Most you can do is add a few hours with a life extending case.

As for the apps, I don't know since I have yet to run in one that does not work on my Nexus. I guess a pure Google phone has it's advantages.



Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 7/30/2012 10:32:45 AM

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 5:38:06 AM
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I already have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Thank you very much. Great review.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 1:44:48 PM
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I have a Kindle Fire *Don't hurt me*

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 1:12:13 PM

What's wrong with having a Kindle? I am considering getting me one too, before a trip to Cyprus in October.

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Cueil
Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 4:31:16 AM

My wife adores her Kindle Fire uses it to log into school and post assignments in forums.

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Gravelight
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 9:11:49 PM
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Needs work, take it back off the shelves Sony and fix it better. I am Sony all the way, but using a tablet for gaming is a tad off correct because of the PSVita's awesomeness.

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Cueil
Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 4:30:19 AM
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It'll run Xbox Glass with 4.0 so not only can you use it to play PSone games, but for your Xbox 360 as well. It's actually fairly well priced.

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SuMtOnE
Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 12:36:01 PM
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dang not looking into a tablet. but this one intrigue me. and If i really can connect my PS3 controller to the tablet. Can't Wait anyone know the price btw?

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