The Gorilla Glass screen aside, physically, the S feels just a little cheap given its all-plastic body but the use of lightweight materials has kept the weight down to an impressive 598g, 3g less than the iPad 2. The only part of the body that may suffer from abuse is the tethered plastic door that covers the micro USB port and SD card slot.
Indeed, the storage expansion port takes the full-size SD cards rather micro versions, which is a good thing but there’s no HDMI port which is a very bad thing. Sony does give you integrated DLNA but that’s available through Market apps like Skifta anyway and no matter how good the implementation it’s no replacement for being able to mirror the display onto your telly over a cable. That said, if your telly supports it, the Tablet S has DLNA functionality to allow you to 'throw' your content onto a bigger screen.
A full-sized USB 2.0 port would have been a nice touch too and while not universal on the competition – both the Acer Iconia A500 and Toshiba AT100 have one but neither the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 do – they are very handy, so I count this as a mark against. The power supply isn’t the most stylish of things either. The actual unit is a small brick-and-tail affair just like a cheap netbook’s while the connector looks like an enlarged version of the old Sony Ericsson FastPort.
Like most Honeycomb tablets, you can’t charge the S through it’s micro USB 2.0 port. And if you want to transfer files you'll need the SGP-UC1 adapter cable. Sony has given Honeycomb a light re-skinning to make everything resemble Sony Ericsson’s Xperia devices and you’ll hear no complaints about that from me, because I rather like the Xperia theme. The home screen also features a rather subtle twist by letting you add four app icons to the bar at the top of the screen which houses the Google search icons.
As for the on-board software, the interesting additions are the Music and Video Unlimited services that use Sony’s Qriocity back-end and which come with six months free membership. There’s also full Playstation certification but the PS Store is very poorly stocked at the moment. With a nod towards its home entertainment hardware portfolio, Sony has installed an infra-red remote control transmitter in the S so you can use the it to operate your telly, hi-fi or Blu-ray player.
Next page: Remote options
I like no IR in the PS3
I have a bluetooth remote for the PS3 and it has to be one of the easiest remotes I have. That is in no small part because it doesn't have to be pointed at the device, or have a clear line of sight or even be in the same room. Just poke the buttons and the unit responds. Conversely I have a Humax PVR device and the bloody thing needs precision aiming for it to respond which isn't helped by the clumsy UI.
In this particular case I don't even see why it couldn't act as a remote for the PS3. The tablet has bluetooth, the PS3 has bluetooth. Both are made by the same company. What's the problem. Fix the tablet and / or the PS3 firmware and it would happen.
I wish more devices would dump IR to be honest. Bluetooth is just more useful and I assume that a tablet featuring bluetooth should be able to manage those devices as well. It could be bidirectional too so that smart remotes could display stuff like key layouts & functions, context senstive menus, album cover, current track, volume, help, or anything else the device felt like conveying.
If you want a big screen, buy a laptop, a desktop, or a TV...
"The cool thing with my digital watch is that I can connect it to my 20 inches monitor to display the time in really large letters."
Simple for the average consumer then.
Why not just buy an iPad?
Because this is better?
Perhaps because there is 'choice'
Why buy an iPad? I've used one. Its an Ipod Touch hidden behind a large display, incredibly yesterday and boring.