Sony Tablet S hands on

We take Sony’s shiny new tablet and paw it with our greasy fingers

You’re looking at the first tablet from one of tech’s true giants; this is the Sony Tablet S, hot out of the IFA oven. It’s a flash of originality in a sea of homogenous iPad wannabes, but is it better for it? First impressions say yes, though a full review (to follow at a later date) will have to be the arbiter of that.

That curved form isn’t just to make it stand out from the crowd. The Tablet S really is comfortable to hold and the textured back feels neither fussy about being plonked down on a table, or greasy after a few minutes in a clammy hand.

The curved back also serves to prop up Sony’s new tablet (though maybe not as much as some would like) and it ought to help the stereo speakers sing out cleanly when laid flat.

Sony’s also used the eves under the Tablet S’s curves to stow away all its physical buttons and ports (these hidden beneath a flap). Those buttons are less intuitive than rival tablets’ front and side-mounted pressers, but we’re sure you’d get used to them soon enough.

There are tons of new tweaks, too… Sony’s overhauled it’s music service…

… and movies…

… and it’s PlayStation Certified. Here’s us playing Crash Bandicoot.

The familiar PlayStation buttons can be moved and resized at will – a very nice touch and a very real dealmaker for left-handed gamers. Or, indeed, anyone who’s found touchscreen button-mashing a joyless experience to date.

Not the most exciting feature, but one that’s bound for the folder marked “indispensible”, is the ability to use the Tablet S as a remote. It’s got an almost invisible IR tranny in the top of its curve, so it’ll work with any kit (not just Sony’s, and not just new stuff) and can learn from the remote you’re halfway to chucking in the garbage.

More sci-fi is the sling function that’ll let you “throw” movies at your TV – where they’ll beam over at Full HD – or music at a web-savvy hi-fi. It’s magic, we tell thee. No, really, it feels a bit like that.

Our first date with Sony’s Tablet S was short but sweet. But we’re already smitten and can’t wait to see what it can do in a real test situation. Like we said, that review will be along soon. Hold tight.

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