Here’s a riddle: Why is Sony not like Apple and Amazon? Sony is a multimedia powerhouse with a long history of solidly designed products, a full-fledged movie studio, a massive record label, and one of the world’s top gaming brands. The Sony Tablet S ($499 direct for 16GB, $599 for 32GB) tries to bring all of these legacies together, and it’s one of the best-looking Android tablets around. But where Apple’s and Amazon’s tablets fuse device and content seamlessly, the Tablet S does not.
Physical Description and Battery Life
A truly unusual-looking tablet, the Tablet S is wedge-shaped, made of a very high-quality textured plastic. It’s supposed to look like a magazine, with the cover folded back against the spine, and it does. The effect is to concentrate its weight in the part you’re holding, making the 9.4-inch-screen tablet unusually comfortable to hold single-handed. The 9.7-inch Apple iPad 2 ($499, 4.5 stars) tires my wrist very quickly, but the Tablet S feels like it weighs much less than its 21.2 ounces. The tablet measures 9.5 by 6.8 by anything from almost-zero to 0.7 inches, since it’s sloped. (It works for both righties and lefties, though, since the screen changes orientation depending upon how you hold the tablet.)
Tablets are everywhere today–and many more are on the way. We tell you what to consider, before you buy.
As more tablets come to market, be prepared to be wowed by the power that some of these slates are capable of. You’ll find plenty of models out there, including tablets with impressive dual-core processors or even quad-core chips. And many tablets can satisfy specific needs. The iPad 2 shines bright, but it isn’t the only star in the tablet universe.
Be aware, however, that the lower-end models you may see advertised at rock-bottom prices come with lots of gotchas. The following three key points are critical to keep in mind before you buy.
It is big! That is the first reaction the moment the Samsung Galaxy Note popped out from inside its rather slim box. It reminded us of the Dell Streak, which walked down the same path, but apparently came well before its time. This device is aimed at someone who finds the traditional smartphone display (4-inches approx.) too small, but the tablet uncomfortably big as well. The 5.3-inch display does offer the in-between alternative. Maybe this is the niche category that was needed in the gap between the smartphone and tablet.
In Favour of the iPad 2
My need for a tablet was growing by the day, and I decided to go get a hands-on of the handheld touch goodness that was on display in a nondescript corner of a largely-TV-dominated-electronics store.
Immediately, I asked the not-so-informed executive to point me to the iPad 2, a product that I had my mind set on for a while. Here’s why.
It looks and feels amazingly sleek when you hold it. As Steve Jobs pointed out at the launch event, the device is thinner than the astoundingly thin iPhone. Of course, it’s still not exactly light, weighing in at 1.33 pounds.
Apple has a new 1GHz dual core chip it’s calling the A5, which has more than enough muscle for graphics processing.
Welcome to The Assistant. Lord Sugar may be seeking a new Apprentice, but we’re searching for something much more important: a new phone. A phone that can become a true assistant by answering your questions and fulfilling your every need — all at just the sound of your voice.
We’re pitting Apple against Android in the battle of the voice command apps. Which will hear those devastating final words: “You’re fired!”
The battle of the boardroom is on. Siri on the iPhone 4S goes head-to-head with the Android voice control app Vlingo Voice talk on the Samsung Galaxy S2. Which voice command phone will triumph?
Deciding between these two contenders won’t be easy, but we’ve got just the man for the job: nobody knows voice commands — by which we mean shouting — better than CNET UK’s own cockerney barrow boy-turned-techology supremo Lord Trenholm.
He’s a straight talker who says what he means and means what he says, and he needs a phone that understands you and gives it to you straight. No excuses, no fancy patter — just results.
The stakes are high as our two contestants arrive in London to face Lord Trenholm. They’ll be put through their paces with a series of tough tasks to see which has the voice-control chops to take their place in your pocket.
We’ll test the S2 and 4S to the limits of their abilities and beyond, so you witness which voice control technology is worth laying down your wonga for. Will Vlingo come up trumps? Can Siri overcome its lack of UK information? Does Apple trump Android? For the love of all that’s financially sound, who will be fired? Click play on the video to find out!
Amazon officially made its entry in to the tablet market on Wednesday by announcing its Kindle Fire Tablet at $199.
At $199, the 7-inch Android based tablet is priced 60 percent below tablet competitors, as well as e-reader challenger Nook. The market was expecting a price range of $250 to $300 for the tablet, which runs on the Amazon’s customized version of Android.
In addition, Amazon developed its own browser – Amazon Silk – for the device that would leverage Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure to provide faster Web browsing. As Amazon seeks to capture more of the video market, it has enabled Whispersync.
Amazon.com is widely expected to unveil its Android-based Kindle tablet. Already, silly bloggers are suggesting this could be the iPad-killer. You remember the iPad-killer, right? First it was the Dell Streak, then the HP Slate 500, then the LG Optimus, then the JooJoo (aka “CrunchPad”), then the Motorola Mobility Xoom, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (admittedly the first to register with the market in terms of sales to customers and get good reviews), then the Acer Iconia, then the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, and most recently the HP TouchPad. I’m sure I missed a few!
So when you see anyone claim “iPad-killer,” move on. Certainly, at some point Android tablets will become competitive to the iPad. But even when they do, the Amazon Kindle tablet won’t be part of the iPad’s competitive landscape.