Sony Tablet P review

Price when reviewed

But what about apps that Sony can’t control? Although most open on the top screen alone, compatible apps will bring up a small symbol in the notifications area that lets you toggle full-screen mode on and off. The best example is the browser, which fills both screens when displaying a page, but brings up a large keyboard on the lower screen when required – it works nicely, and makes typing a very comfortable experience.

Unfortunately, in full-screen mode, apps span the 8.5mm bezel between the two screens, and while that isn’t an issue in an app such as the browser, it’s unwieldy with any app that relies on fast, accurate swiping. Try playing Fruit Ninja across the two screens: swipes that cross the bezel often stop dead, or register but with a gap either side of the hinge. Angry Birds’ angles are more difficult to judge with an 8.5mm gap distorting your lines. And some apps meant for smartphones scale horribly to full-screen mode, chopping off the top and bottom rather than using black bars to fit the aspect ratio.

Sony Tablet P

Of course you can still play the worst-affected games on a single screen, but that makes it little more than a very large and unwieldy phone replacement – and that’s if you find the games at all. For some bizarre reason the Android Market has no full-screen option, leaving you browsing its large tablet interface (it’s Honeycomb after all) on a single phone-sized screen. It’s a horrible oversight for the most important app of all.

Then there’s the PlayStation Store, which Sony believes can make the Tablet P appeal to gamers. At the time of writing it had only ten games – Sony’s glacial pace at launching new ones is well known to Sony Ericsson Xperia Play owners – and charging £3.99 for unenhanced PlayStation classics is optimistic in today’s ultra-cheap mobile gaming market.

Sony Tablet P

You get Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes free with the tablet, and the latter is simple enough to work reasonably well in full-screen mode. Crash Bandicoot might hold some nostalgic appeal, but it’s plonked in a small box on the top screen, with an awkward touch controller laid out on the bottom screen. That setup worked quite well with the Xperia Play’s physical controls, but here it’s difficult to keep your eyes on the main screen and your thumbs on virtual buttons that give no tactile feedback.

It’s this not-quite-there feeling throughout that leaves us scratching our heads. We commend Sony for trying to innovate, but where the Tablet S felt like a creative reworking of a well-honed formula, the Tablet P rips up the template with no real idea of how best to put the pieces back together. Yes, it’s uniquely portable, but the trade-off in user experience is simply too high, especially when Sony is charging £499 inc VAT for it. That’s the same price as a 16GB iPad 2 with 3G. The Tablet P is inventive enough not to be written off, but it needs an awful lot of work before it can live up to that kind of comparison.



Dimensions179 x 22 x 84mm (WDH)


Primary keyboardOn-screen
Screen size5.5in
Resolution screen horizontal1.000000000000000000000000
Resolution screen vertical480
Display type2 x colour touchscreen LCD
Panel technologyLED TFT

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz1,000MHz
Integrated memory4.0GB
RAM capacity1.00GB


Camera megapixel rating5.0mp
Focus typeAutofocus
Front-facing camera?yes
Video capture?yes


WiFi standard802.11n
Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes
Upstream USB ports1
HDMI output?no
Video/TV output?no


Mobile operating systemAndroid 3.2

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