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Ahead of the holiday season, can Sony be far behind? The company edged in its contender in the super-crowded tablet market yesterday, hoping to find space alongside the Apple iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the more recent Microsoft Surface.  Its latest offering is the Sony Experia Tablet S, an upgrade on its Android Tablet S launched last year; and this one goes under the ‘Experia’ banner, previously reserved for its smartphone range.

The Sony Experia Tablet S is pricey like it predecessor, but then Sony wants the new tab to be seen as a ‘premium second screen’ to be used in the home, and it hopes the rebranding will help.

The Experia Tablet S retains the “rolled-back magazine” wedge design of the Tablet S, which got great reviews, but has shed some weight and flab. The new tab is slimmer, lighter.

Specs:

The Experia Tablet S runs on the Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, has a 9.4 inch (24 cm) screen with a screen resolution of 1280×800 megapixels. And now it is powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor that makes it faster, 1GB RAM and gives you storage size options of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB.

It has an 8MP camera on the back and a 1MP camera on the front.

It’s got an SD card slot, a USB or HDMI port, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 3.0.

You can watch the hands-on review video here.

The daddy of all remote controls

But what’s got more than a line out of most reviewers is the tablet’s remote control feature.  And on this, online tech magazine CNet writes

“As with the previous incarnation, the tablet includes an IR blaster that, coupled with the Sony-exclusive Watch Now software and its own remote control app, turns your tablet into a remote control and TV guide.

While Samsung and its recent tablet releases each make use of an IR blaster and Peel’s Smart Remote software, the Xperia Tablet S goes one step further to include the ability to power on multiple devices from the tablet. These devices include your TV, Blu-ray player, and sound system, via one button press (once the compatible devices are configured properly) a la most standalone universal remotes.”

The small things that count

Sony has been thoughtful about accessorizing its latest tab and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.  Sony offers a cover, docking stand, simple stand, carrying cover, charging cradle and a speaker dock.  The Experia Tablet S is also available with a keyboard that doubles as a cover a la Microsoft Surface that will cost an extra $99.99 (Rs. 5,502)

Price:

The company said in a press release that the Xperia tablet will be available in the US from September 7 and will cost $399 (Rs. 22,176) for a 16GB version and $599 (Rs. 33,292) for a 64GB model.

And yet again we wonder – as with every premium tablet launch – will it manage to dent iPad sales, and will it match the hype of the SIII?

Read the full press release here.

You might also want to check out the tech specs on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a phablet, that was also launched yesterday.

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