Sony Tablet P first look review
What is the Sony Tablet P?
The Sony Tablet P is a tablet, but not in the way we’ve become accustomed. It’s not a slab-like touchscreen with some chips bolted on, but a clamshell device designed to fit easily in a pocket. Indeed it’s actually got two screens measuring 5.5-inches each, though depending on what you’re doing they appear and act as if they were one.
Like its sibling the Sony Tablet S, the Tablet P runs on Google’s Android operating system for tablets.
What’s unique about the Sony Tablet P?
In a word: design. It’s not often one can say this, but there’s nothing quite like the Tablet P on the market. Each of the two 5.5-inch screens is ultra-wide, so although they measure 5.5-inches diagonally the two combined don’t add up to a screen similar in size to the iPad or the 9.4-inch Sony Tablet S that Sony also officially announced at IFA 2011.
Each screen is exceedingly sharp, however, sporting 1,024 x 480 resolutions that make photos and videos look excellent. In normal use the two screens act as one, the standard Android tablet interface spanning across the two. This isn’t always the case, though. Some apps will split into different segments – a good example of this are PlayStation games, where the top screen shows the game and the bottom screen the touch controls.
Principally, though, the clamshell design is an attempt to create a ‘pocketable’ tablet. This is reflected in the weight of the Tablet P, which is a meagre 372 grams. By comparison, the larger Tablet S weights slightly less than 600 grams.
Related: Tablet buyers’ guide
Does the clamshell design work?
While it’s too early to judge definitively, the Tablet P’s innovative design is a difficult one to digest. Innovative it may be, but it’s hard to imagine the concept catching on outside a small select group. It may be good for reading books on, but not significantly better than other ‘normal’ tablets and certainly no improvement on a dedicated ebook reader.
Price is the real issue, however. Though the basic spec is similar to that of other tablets, the Tablet P will come with just 4GB of storage yet will cost 599 Euros compared to the 479 Euros of the Tablet S – a UK price hasn’t been announced yet. Ultimately buyers must ask themselves whether a ‘pocket’ tablet is desirable when smartphones, many with large screens, are already so common.
What else do I need to know?
Connectivity is fairly basic. A micro-SD card is included, as is a headphone jack, but there’s no video output to speak of. There’ll be just one version of the ‘P’, which will include 3G in addition to the standard wi-fi so you can connect to mobile internet networks.
There are built-in rear- and front-facing cameras for video calls, videos and photos. Sony claims battery life in the region of 7 hours, a claim we’ll put to the test when we get the Tablet P to our labs.
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