If you have followed the news recently, you may have heard of Sony’s upcoming XPERIA tablet (and accessories, and specs) as a rumor. Well, at IFA, Sony is launching this new device officially, and we had the opportunity to have a quick hands-on before its official debuts. Before we provide our first impressions, let’s talk about what Sony is aiming for.

The XPERIA tablet has been built with a data-driven process. Sony has noticed that a lot of people were using their tablet in front of the TV. That’s why it has added an infrared emitter to turn the XPERIA tablet into a very (very!) fancy universal remote. Samsung has arrived to pretty much the same conclusion with the Galaxy Note 10.1 IR capabilities, and so far, this is a very good idea, and Sony’s remote functionality can handle more complex scenarios than Samsung’s.

This is the very nice remote control and TV guide…

Sony also realized that many tablets were family devices, so there is a built-in parental control system that is easy to setup and manage.

The design is very nice. We’ve held the tablet in our hands, and the build quality is higher than the previous model. Sony has done a great job at preserving the design language of the tablet, while making it thinner at the same time. Did we mention that it is also splash-resistant? Kitchens aren’t really safe for gadgets in general…

The Dock looks awesome

The tablet design also allows for great accessories. The best one that we’ve seen is the Docking Stand ($99). When the tablet is resting on it, the combo looks like an amazingly designed little computer (with HDMI out and 3x USB). It’s pretty awesome.

The Cover with keyboard ($99) is also a very interesting add-on. It looks like the Microsoft Surface light keyboard and it works fairly well — it adds typing speed, without adding real bulk to a tablet with a case. If you wonder, there is no keyboard with mechanical switches — too bad.

Inside, the Sony XPERIA tablet is available in 16/32/64GB and is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, which pretty much guarantees a certain level of performance that users will be undoubtedly satisfied with. To be honest, this is a very good surprise from Sony, and it’s nice to see design used in a real meaningful way, and not only for the sake of being different.

The pre-orders start now, and the tablet should ship on September 7th. It is priced from $400 to $600, which is relatively competitive for this particular feature set.

Specification highlights

9.4″ display (1280×800)
Android™ 4.0
NVIDIAR TegraR 3 Mobile Processor(1.4GHz)
16/32/64GB of storage + full size SD card
3.5mm audio jack
WiFi A/B/G/N and Bluetooth 3.0
Infrared (IR) emitter
8 Megapixel (back) + 1 Megapixel (front)
9.45” x 0.35”~0.47” x 6.87”, 1.26lbs

Filed in Tablets. Read more about IFA, Ifa 2012, Sony and Xperia.

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