Previously reserved for smartphones, Sony has extended its Xperia line to include tablets with the unveiling of the Xperia Tablet S at IFA 2012. The successor to the Tablet S (originally known as the S1) released last year, the new tablet is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM and comes running Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich), with Sony promising an upgrade to 4.1 (Jellybean) in the future.
The Xperia Tablet S is lighter and thinner than it’s predecessor, with the wedge-shape design replaced by a “folded magazine” form factor. Boasting a 9.4-inch, 1,280 x 800 resolution IPS display, the unit will be offered with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of onboard storage, upgradable via a full-sized SD card, with Wi-Fi and 3G models on offer.
The tablet also features an aluminum splash-proof outer casing and a new Multi-Port on the side that is designed to accept dongles to turn it into an HDMI port, USB port, charge port, etc. The cord from the included charger can also be removed from the power adapter to become a standard USB cable. Wireless connectivity features include Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, with 3G to be offered as an option.
Other features of the Xperia Tablet S include an ambient light sensor, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, GPS, microphone, headphone out port, stereo speakers, plus a 1-megapixel HD webcam on the front and an 8-megapixel HD camera on the rear. Sony estimates the device’s 6,000 mAh battery is good for up to 10 hours of web browsing or 12 hours of video playback.
Sony has also incorporated an infrared universal remote control into the device that couples with an included remote control app and Sony-exclusive "Watch Now" software to turn the tablet into a combination interactive TV guide and remote control. As a universal remote, the device can control various pieces of home entertainment equipment, such as the TV, cable box, sound system and Blu-ray player, while a customizable Macro function lets users carry out a sequence of commands with a single button press.
The tablet also boasts a “Guest Mode” that allows the creation of individual profiles for multiple users. As well as allowing users to set personalized wallpapers and icons, this can also be used to restrict access to apps – something particularly handy for stopping junior running up a bill on Google Play.
There's a range of accessories designed for the Xperia Tablet S on offer, including a case that does triple duty as a cover, keyboard and stand, a stylish docking stand that sports three USB ports and an HDMI port, a speaker dock and a charging cradle.
Measuring 241.2 mm x 174.4 mm (9.5 in x 6.86 in) high, the Xperia Tablet S is 8.8 mm (0.35 in) deep at the bottom and 11.85 mm (0.46 in) deep at the top. The Wi-Fi models weigh 570 g (1.25 lb), while the 3G models tip the scale at 585 g (1.29 lb).
The Xperia Tablet S will launch on September 7 priced from US$399 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model, $499 for the 32 GB model, and $599 for the 64 GB model. Pricing and availability of the 3G models is yet to be announced.