Gadget review: Sony Tablet S16GB, 32GB, 16GB 3G

The truth is that internet tablets, excluding the iPad, have been struggling. The Blackberry Playbook, Motorola Xoom and HP Touchpad have all tried to jump onto the iPad bandwagon with limited success.

A £400 “fondleslab” of electronics is hard to justify at the best of times, especially when a laptop ticks most of the boxes.

I was initially thoroughly unimpressed by the Tablet S. Although it looks smooth, the plastic construction does disappoint, especially in comparison with the machined loveliness of Apple’s finest. Sony’s curved, weight- balanced design does reduce wrist ache, though, and provides the perfect angle for typing. The screen’s also a tasty 9.4in, 1280 x 800 LED with a couple of features borrowed from Bravia such as the TruBlack™display. There’s the relatively standard front and back webcams, 16GB internal memory (32GB also available), NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 1GHz processor and accelerometer.

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The sit up and take notice moment comes when you spot some of the extras Sony has included. First, there’s the built-in infra-red Universal Remote – the tablet screen transforms into an entertainment mission control at a button press. It also doubles as a Sonos-style remote, enabling “party streaming” of music to wirelessly connected Sony speakers throughout your house. The Tablet S is also the first tablet to be PlayStation certified. This means PlayStation One classics such as Crash Bandicoot, Twisted Metal and Destruction Derby are raring to go. At £349 I’m tempted, but this is more door wedge than design classic. Still, at last the iPad has a pedigree competitor.

16GB £349

32GB £429

16GB 3G £449