In a world dominated by extremely similar looking tablets, Japanese electronics giant, Sony have sent it a wave of fresh air. They've brought in two different form factors – the first one being the Tablet S – which wasn’t a major overhaul, in terms of design, and the second one being the Tablet P – the world’s first clamshell design tablet. Nintendo did it quite well in the gaming genre, but has Sony been able to pull off something similar with the Tablet P? Let’s find out.
A clamshell design
The most interesting form factor that’s ever existed on an Android tablet so far means two things – Sony isn’t in the mood to create iPad lookalikes and it's treading a thin line between being outrageously creative or outrageously pointless. The second debate more or less carries forward throughout this review. We’ve seen this design on a portable gaming console, the Nintendo DS, but by terming it a tablet, you’re throwing in a lot more variables into the picture.
On Video: Sony Tablet P
In terms of plain aesthetics, the Tablet P has got every bit of oomph and class you’d want in your device. Smooth curves, metallic finish, few plastics and brilliant colour tones – this one has stylish written all over it. However, the insides are glossy black and are quite prone to fingerprints. The dual screens feel immensely small when you compare them to the size of the tablet itself. The back (or the top, if you want to take it that way) consists of a 5 megapixel camera, while the headphone jack is located in the front. Moving on to the sides, we’ve got a power ON button, a charging port, the microUSB slot and volume keys. There’s an almost invisible notification strip that’s very neatly placed at the front. The microSD card slot is located underneath the bottom flap and is non swappable, whilst the SIM card slot is located under the top flap. Also, the Tablet P is one of the few tablets to have a removable battery.
With detachable covers
The biggest thing missing though is HDMI out. Imagine using a PlayStation certified tablet to play your PlayStation games on your TV and using your tablet’s screen as a controller. Well, it would require some tweaking around, considering both the displays could get projected on to the big screen, but if they'd have managed to map it well and get the idea to work, then it would've been a brilliant addition. One that would have affected our overall score of the Tablet P, greatly.
Coming back to the design, the P (we’re calling it that for the rest of the review) is quite chunky in its closed form. Plus, it’s got a very small footprint, which makes it feel a lot more dense and heavier, than other tablets. But at 372 grams, it is just that slight bit heavier than the seven inched Galaxy Tab 620. When it’s shut, it might just slip into your front pocket, but it's not really comfortable, so it’s best suited for a jacket pocket. This one is definitely more portable, than most other tablets out there, but is it as ergonomic? Let’s delve into that after the break.
From the sides
The P has a dual 5.5-inch screen with each one having a resolution of 1024 x 480 pixels. That’s great, but there’s a lot of bezel around the sides, so if you’ve got slightly smaller hands, you might have a problem reaching the far end of either of the screens, with the opposite hand. The hinges are strong and there’s absolutely no wobbling when you flip it open, so it will surely survive a few falls.
The design is quite catchy, no doubt, but we would have loved a slimmer and a smaller version. In terms of build as well, you’re pretty much getting the best from Sony.
Updated 20 May, 2013, 10:05 am IST
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