Sony's Tablet P offers something different in the tablet market, opting for a design with dual-screens that fold onto each other when closed.
Design and dual displays
The Sony Tablet P's dual-screen design certainly has its advantages. It's small enough to fit into any handbag and should also slide into a large suit jacket pocket. All in all, this is an extremely portable device that weighs less than 400g. We feel it may find a niche with frequent travellers who want to carry around something smaller than an iPad.
Despite its size the Sony Tablet P feels like a solid piece of hardware. It has sturdy, gloss black hinges that definitely feel well constructed, and the matte silver finish on the top and bottom of the tablet is a nice touch. You can open the hinge to any angle you wish and the Tablet P won't topple over. However, the pointy corners of the device dig into your hands after only a few minutes of use which makes it uncomfortable to hold.
You'll find all the controls and ports on the right side of the Tablet P — a power button, charging port, a micro-USB port and volume controls. Both the power and volume controls aren't raised enough and therefore require a real firm press to activate.
The removable battery of the Tablet P is a nice touch, but we don't like having to take off the bottom cover to access the microSD card slot. A SIM card slot for 3G connectivity lies beneath the top cover but we found it quite flimsy and accidentally damaged one of the plastic locks while trying to force it back on. The Tablet P is impossible to open single-handedly.
Once you do open the Tablet P you are be greeted with two 5in displays, both with a resolution of 1024x480. A glossy black bezel matching the hinges surrounds both screens and quickly becomes a grubby fingerprint magnet. The bezel is also too large for our liking. The screens themselves are bright and clear with good viewing angles and vibrant colours. Text is sharp with no visible aberrations, though the relatively high resolution does mean icons and text can appear rather small.
Using the Tablet P
Do the dual-displays work? The answer is both yes and no, depending on what applications you use. Most of Sony's default and pre-loaded apps make perfect use of the display. The Gmail and e-mail apps show your e-mails on the top screen and the keyboard on the bottom. The default calendar app can show a view of the full month even when viewing by day or week. The calculator shows the keys on the bottom screen and your results on the top. The reader app, Sony's e-book reading solution, acts as a real book with one page on the left screen and the next page on the right.
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