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Great Tablet with One Major Misstep
on September 7, 2012
The thought of waiting until Monday was just too much for me, so I picked this up at Best Buy (sorry!), but I actually got it a day early and have been playing/testing it all day. I've been waiting for a Tegra 3 version of Sony's tablet for awhile, and I have to say it's everything I was waiting for, with one boneheaded play by Sony.
First the good stuff:
This tablet is FAST and responsive. There's no setting for power saving or performance. It does it automatically, scoring well over 11,000 in Antutu which places this tablet ahead of the Transformer Prime by a good 10%. It's not running Android 4.1 yet (Jellybean) but Sony has stated that they'll roll out a JB update in the near future. Let's hope they mean in one month instead of several.
The display is GORGEOUS! And the non reflective surface is quite effective without sacrificing sharpness. Yes it's only 1280x800, but without content that supports the higher resolution Acer and Asus tablets, those extra pixels are being wasted, save for text. I purposely picked a standard resolution tablet. I don't think the higher resolution tablets are quite there yet. Anyway, the display is IPS, and can be turned up quite bright. Colors are vivid, and contrast is excellent. They did a great job with their display design.
The sound is also excellent, with Sony's ClearFi technology making this one of the loudest tablets I've heard. You can even simulate Surround Sound for a more enhanced video playback. Sound reproduction is excellent, and the graphic equalizer with presets works very well.
I like the infrared universal remote a lot. It works well and is easy to set up. You can even make macros now that turns on everything at once, like your TV and Blue Ray player and sound system with one button press. Quite nice!
Sony's design is one of a kind. The "folded" magazine form factor really does make holding this tablet a joy. It's not just another slab of tablet. It's also thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and sports an aluminum back for a more solid feel.
Now for the bad:
The original review units that Sony displayed at trade shows featured a USB and HDMI port. They opted to instead remove these and install a proprietary Multiport (which is on the bottom and not the side as shown in the photos here on Amazon). This was a cold, calculated move on Sony's part to squeeze more money out of consumers by forcing them to spend at a minimum $50 for a USB host cable and HDMI cable. What makes it worse is that you can't use both at the same time. One port, one cable. I find this redesign infuriating, because otherwise this tablet would have been the closest to "perfect" that I've yet seen. It's a terrible shame that some suit at Sony pushed this idea through. One saving grace is the full sized SD card slot, which makes expanded memory quite affordable and easy, although it kind of ruins the need for a 32 and 64 GB model in my opinion. 16GB works fine for me with a cheap ultra SDHC SD card for 32 gigs of extra room.
The other potentially bad news is that, despite what all the major review sites state, this is NOT a Playstation Certified device. I verified this with a call to Sony's tech support. As far as being compatible with Sony Mobile, which might have ps one games, the same tech stated that they aren't even sure that They'll ever release Sony Mobile. Sorry folks.
Overall, I still really like this tablet, and it would have deserved five stars, were it not for that stupid multiport. Dumb, dumb, dumb move Sony.
UPDATE: I wound up returning the tablet after discovering a couple of potentially killer issues:
1. The WIFI issues continue. I got it to stop turning off when sleeping, but after a hard shutdown, it does not want to connect, even telling me that the router is out of range (even though it's 5 feet away). The only remedy is to disable/re-enable the WIFI. This is generally indicative of poor software and or hardware issues.
2. It simply shuts off completely in the middle of activities. Don't ask me why. I have no idea, but for now I'm done with this tablet until they get the bugs worked out And make some improvements.