Sony Tablet P Review: Two Screens Better Than One?

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Reading and typing emails is one of the few experiences that benefits from the Tablet P's two screens. Checking your emails means one screen can display an email while the second screen displays your inbox.

When it's time to compose an email, the bottom screen becomes a virtual keyboard, while the top screen displays the email body. It's like having a mini-netbook, and it works well, especially when you grip the bottom screen on either side and type with your thumbs.

Alternatively, you can hold the Tablet P vertically like a book, and create a kind of flexible keyboard by typing with the two screens slightly bent towards each other.

Making video calls with Skype also works nicely on the Tablet P, because it has both front- and rear-facing cameras and one screen becomes entirely dedicated to video of the person you're calling, while the other displays video of you. As it was in other cases though, audio output is not the greatest here, so videoconferencing works best with some assistance from headphones.

The Tablet P runs on an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor and uses Android's 3.1 (Honeycomb) software; the resulting experience is smooth and fluid. I found the user interface intuitive and easy to navigate.

Coupled with AT&T's 4G network (which the company claims is the fastest mobile broadband network in the nation), my overall online experience was snappy. Web pages loaded quickly and videos streamed with no issues.

The tablet has 1GB of internal memory with the option to add up to 32GB via microSD card.

Another nice extra is the ability to wirelessly sync the Tablet P with other devices that are DLNA-compatible, like a network-enabled HDTV. The feature comes in handy for viewing personal photos and videos on a larger screen, but stops short of letting you stream content, especially of the copyright-protected variety.

Sony deserves credit for pushing the design envelope here and wins major points for the sheer portability of the Tablet P. But whether this tablet succeeds depends largely on how many consumers can embrace a smaller, dual-screen tablet experience. At $550 a pop, that might be a tall order.

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