Sony Tablet P review: First Look

Reviews 6 Sep, 2011

The quirky and distinctive design of the Sony Tablet P sets it apart from all the other tablets out there. Seth Barton cracks it open to see what all the fuss is about in our first look.

Verdict: 
With the Tablet P Sony is stating that it's big enough and bold enough not to follow Apple's lead, and for this we applaud it. However, it's certainly a try before you buy device, especially if video is more important to you than portability and convenience.

Our Sony representative claimed that the company's new Tablet P had proved particularly popular with women, and the clamshell design is reminiscent of make-up compacts - plus there are interchangeable fascias for those who want to colour co-ordinate. Our first reaction though, was to see it more as a Nintendo DS for grown-ups.

The Tablet P is the second, and more innovative, of Sony's two designs. That's really saying something too, as the Sony Tablet S is hardly what you'd call a conventional tablet design.

Sony claims the Tablet P is built for life on the go. That clamshell design means you can wake it up by simply flipping it open, and when you're done you snap it shut - protecting the displays inside - and chuck it in your bag. Yes, it's far fatter than a traditional slate-style tablet, but at 180x26x79mm it will slip easily into small bags, or even a big jacket pocket. There's no need for a protective case here, and when the outside gets scuffed, you simply replace those fascias for a box-fresh look.

Typing on the Tablet P's bottom screen as if it were a laptop.

Inside are two LCD displays, each measuring 5.5in across and having a 1,024x480 resolution. The total screen size is roughly similar to that of a 7in tablet, and gives a total resolution 1,024x960, again roughly equivalent to the usual 1,280x800 seen on many single screen devices. The big difference then is that break between the screens, where the hinge is.

The Tablet P feels well-made.

Rather than a love it or hate it divide, the split screens immediately created a hate it or don't mind it division. We think it's not that bad, and well worth putting up with if you love the Tablet P's compact design.