Sony used its IFA press conference to announce that the Xperia name would be making the leap from smartphones to tablet, with the launch of the 9.7in Xperia Tablet S.

Sony Xperia Tablet S

More of an update to the old Tablet S than an entirely new model, the Xperia Tablet S has an HD screen resolution of 1280 x 720 and is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core processor, an update from the old Tablet S's Tegra 2 chip.

Although there are no USB ports - Sony instead opting to give the Xperia Tablet S a proprietary port for connecting to a wide range of accessories, and for charging and syncing.

Inside, there's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 1GB of RAM and 16, 32 or 64GB of storage, and there is a microSD card slot to increase storage.

Sony Xperia Tablet S

We got hands-on with the Tablet S during a visit to Sony's IFA stand, and found the tablet to be surprisingly thin and light.

The side profile is tapered, with the thicker end at the top and roughly the same thickness as an iPhone 4S. Further down, the Tablet S narrows to become even thinner - the Sony table also feels noticeably lighter than the new iPad.

Sony is yet to make the jump to Android Jelly Bean, so the Xperia Tablet S gets 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Sony Xperia Tablet S

Sony also announced a number of accessories for the tablet, including a cover that flips open to act as a stand and keyboard - very similar to Microsoft's Surface tablet, due out later this year.

The cover protects the front and back of the tablet, and when open supports it upright, while what was the front cover becomes a keyboard.

This sounds great, but in reality we were not impressed with typing on the cover - the keys do not compress at all and feel too sensitive, reacted to the slightest glance that a physical keyboard would not notice.

Sony Xperia Tablet S

Not only that, but the keys are fairly small, making typing more difficult than it should be. We only had a few minutes with the case, so with time our typing may have improved, but for now we wouldn't recommend it.

Otherwise, Sony has done a good job with the Xperia Tablet S; it's fast and responsive, with a good screen and hopefully a Jelly Bean update is in the works.

As with the Xperia T and J smartphones, Sony was keen to point out that the Xperia Tablet S is splashproof. That doesn't mean you can take it swimming, but means it'll survive a bit of rain - or a constant drizzle of water onto the screen, as Sony showed on its IFA stand, below.


Sony announced that the Xperia Tablet S will go on sale in the US on 7 September, while the UK will get it later that month, but an exact date was not given.

As for prices, again the UK has been left in the dark, but the tablet will cost $399 for the 16GB, going up to $599 for the 64GB mode.

Must read:

IFA 2012: Everything you need to know