The Sony Xperia Tablet S replaces the Sony Tablet S, bringing quad-core processing to the party, but can it compete with its Android rivals?
It took years for Sony to enter the world of tablets and, when it eventually released the original Sony Tablet S (and Sony Tablet P) last year, the slick design and great screen impressed.
This time around, the Tablet S has become the Sony Xperia Tablet S to fit in with the Sony Mobile line of Xperia smartphones, including the flagship Sony Xperia T. What does that mean? It's lighter than rivals and looks premium on a world of Android rivals, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2...
Sony Xperia Tablet S: Build
The Tablet S screams Sony from the off - stylish with a unique quirk. That's the bump on the rear, housing the camera and allowing the rest of the body to be ultra thin. There's a hint of iPad and this is as luxurious as Android tablets get. No, it's not the design classic that the iPad is but it's undeniably smart, with or without the bump.
The clever range of accessories from charge stand to Bluetooth keyboard are well thought and and complement the look too.
Sony Xperia Tablet S: Features
The non-standard 9.4-inch size screen is slightly smaller than you might be used to but many won't notice and given the ultra slim profile and weight loss, it's not a bad move. The internal storage matches the iPad and stretches to 64GB in the top-end model. The real storage benefit is the full size SD card slot, offering cheap and decent expansion options but a neat way of editing your camera snaps.
The processor running the show has been bumped up to a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 which means it's now a capable gaming machine - a tad ironic given the recent PlayStation Vita debut. DLNA enhances the media hub potential for streaming music and movies and the Tablet S can also control your TV and other remote control based devices.
Android 4.0 is ready out of the box but no Jelly Bean update as yet, which is a surprise. The tweaked Tablet S has also cemented its splash proof skills - sockets can now all be sealed.
We're not entirely sure why anyone needs a splash proof tablet, but we're guessing it's an attempt to make it kitchen friendly. The rear facing camera has an 8 megapixel sensor which produces clear and detailed results and great video.
Sony Xperia Tablet S: Screen
The 9.4-inch display boasts a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution which means it's sharp but the real benefit is the depth of colour that Sony manages, showing movie credentials instantly. The bezel allows you to grip without fingers intruding on the visible screen.
If you're used to the standard 10.1-inch display, it's not a big drop but if you've laid eyes on an iPad Retina display, this isn't a match. It's a great display but in 2012, Apple owns the best iPad screen - and laptop screen too, though whereas the MacBook Pro Retina comes with a premium price tag, a new iPad costs £399.
Sony Xperia Tablet S: Performance
The Xperia Tablet S is great for movies and all media - photos, music and beyond. Sonys own music and movie services shine and DLNA is rarely so simple. Throwing a game or movie to your TV is quick and easy - on a coffee table, the Tablet S feels like a luxury remote built for your living room rather than on the go.
Web browsing isn't great despite the quad core processor and Tegra 3 chip - pages are quick to load but scrolling is a problem. And that's an issue for a tablet - a big one. Browsing and typing feels laboured, which is a shame for such a powerful and capable tablet.
Sony Xperia Tablet S: Battery
The 6000mAh battery lasts as long as Android rivals - around a couple of days of heavy use at best but it's beaten by the new iPad. The charger isn't convenient either - it's like a laptop lead.
Sony Xperia Tablet S: Verdict
The Sony Xperia S tablet is in many ways what we want from an Android tablet - slim, stylish and very powerful with great media options. If you can live with the poor web browsing options, this is a decent tablet for movies and games, but for some the less-than-perfect internet surfing capabilities will be a deal breaker.
Sony Xperia Tablet S: release date: Out now
Sony Xperia Tablet S price: £329