We compare Sony’s two new Android 3.2-powered tablets to see which is most worthy of your time

Sony has gleefully skipped carefree into the tablet world with two very individual devices, which are sure to attract attention – the wedge-shaped S tablet and the quirky clamshell P tablet. We take the time to compare the two and see which comes out on top.

Sony P Tablet – 180x158x14mm, 370g
Sony S Tablet – 241.2×174.3×10.1-20.6mm (tapers), 598g
The first thing which strikes you looking at both these tablets is how interesting and innovative Sony has been with the shapes and designs.

They couldn’t really be any more different, on the one hand you have the P tablet – a clamshell, split-screen device with a very space-age feel. When closed it looks like the world’s most stylish glasses case with its curved outer surfaces and long profile.

Open it up and you’re presented with two neat touchscreens cleanly surrounded by a shiny black border.
It all looks very prestigious and if you didn’t know it was a tablet you’d wonder what on earth it was as it could easily be mistaken for some kind of bespoke controller for a swanky home entertainment system – and we mean that in a nice way. Not in a Peep Show ‘megatron’ way.

The S tablet is not so extreme, but it’s still determined to be different.
On the surface it looks much more like a conventional tablet with its rectangular shape and sharp corners. However, a closer look reveals some very purposeful design tweaks which help it stand out from the crowd.
For starters, as we mentioned before it is wedge-shaped. Look at it side on and you’ll see it tapers from 20.6mm thick at the top down to a 10.6mm razor edge.

The devil is in the details here and that thicker edge is rounded-off and carries a continuous curve round the back of the device neatly. Plus it’s made of a snazzy carbon-fibre style material giving it a mean look.
We like the thoughtful design of the S tablet but it doesn’t have the same charm and portability of the P tablet, which is still sizeable when unfolded while being lighter and handier all round.
Winner – Sony P Tablet

The P tablet has a fixed internal capacity at 4GB but the S tablet is better equipped with options for either 16GB or 32GB. Both use 1GB of RAM to back up processor tasks.
External storage is similar between the two though not identical. Both support an additional 32GB of data via cards but while the P tablet supports micro SD the S tablet uses full sized SD cards, which could be considered something of a faux-pas on Sony’s part.

The S tablet has a lot more space to play with, which automatically makes it a more attractive prospect, however we’re not overly keen on the use of the larger SD format cards.

As tablets often make companions for smartphones, being hindered by potentially non-transferable external storage is not the best setup.

Obviously we’d rather have the internal capacity of the S inside the P tablet but 4GB is still not to be sneezed at and we think on balance we’d take the P’s versatility with micro SD over what the S offers.
Winner – Sony P Tablet

Again both tablets have very different setups here.
The S tablet once again sports a more traditional approach with a single continuous screen – it’s a 9.4-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen at 1280×800 pixels resolution.

Pixel density is a little less impressive at 161 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

The P tablet is up to some crazy stuff but we love it. It’s got a pair of 5.5-inch TFT capacitive touchscreens in a split arrangement, rather like a Nintendo 3DS, with each clocking in at 1024×480 pixels and a decent 206ppi.

Each tablet has the same run-down of display features – multi-touch input, accelerometer and gyro sensors are all included.

With two 5.5-inch screens you’ve got more room to play with and in a handier package to boot.
Not only this but the pixel density is a lot better than on the S tablet. The P tablet gets our vote this round.
Winner – Sony P Tablet

Processing power is identical between the devices. Both are equipped with a 1GHz dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor running Nvidia’s Tegra 2 T20 chipset.
Visuals are whipped into shape by another bit of Nvidia tech in the form of a GeForce graphics processing unit (GPU).
It’s a stalemate here but each is offering an impressive hardware line-up capable of some nifty performance.
Winner – Draw

Operating System:
Yet more similarities in this category with Sony’s duo of Android devices running the tablet-specific Honeycomb build.
Honeycomb is our favourite build of Android, at least until Ice Cream Sandwich arrives.
It resolves pretty much every gripe we’ve had with previous iterations of the system.
A slicker, faster and more intuitive interface makes it easy to get to grips with and, because they run on dual core processors, there’s not a hint of lag or stuttering.

Web browsing was a continual bugbear in previous builds of Android, but here you’ve got all the glory of Javascript plus fast site loading, tabbed functionality and silky scrolling and pinch zoom navigation.
Intensive apps and games are more viable than ever before thanks to newly added OpenGL graphics acceleration and a bespoke Renderscript 3D graphics engine.

Multi-tasking is as deftly handled as ever and now includes a useful apps tray for quick switching between active programs.

The notifications bar has also been improved to include more text and now image information in each alert.
Winner – Draw

Guess what? That’s right, identical setups again, but Sony has taken a thorough approach to the device’s imaging compartments, which we appreciate.
Both tablets have 5-megapixel primaries at 2560х1920 pixels and VGA secondary cameras.
Video capture in each case is at 720p and there’s also video calling support.

The features run-down includes autofocus, touch focus, geo-tagging, image stabilisation and face and smile detection.
All in all it’s good stuff here.
Winner – Draw

Final Thoughts:
We’re really liking Sony’s efforts here and the company has taken a very thoughtful and unique approach to making two tablets which will really standout from the competition.
Both are highly competitive offerings which should easily please most users.

However, we do have a favourite and that is the P tablet. There’s nothing else quite like it and we can clearly see how usable it would be in daily life.

We feel it brilliantly bridges the gap between the larger 10-inch tablets and the smaller 7-inch versions offered by many other manufacturers.


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