When Sony passed off its Tablet S to us for review, I was more than a little excited. While the company has been a bit slow on getting into the tablet game, the two devices we’ve seen (the Tablet S and the odd, folding Tablet P) have sparked quite a bit of curiosity. It’s not just about the unique designs, either. Sony is one of the few companies with a footprint and ecosystem big enough to potentially take on Apple in this one-horse game. The $499.99 (or $599.99 32GB) Tablet S is the more familiar of the pair, though with its folded-book styling, it stands out amongst a sea of tablets that look depressingly similar to Apple’s entry. Inside, the S is driven by a Tegra 2 chipset, meaning more than enough power to take on heavy gaming duties (good news for the PlayStation certified device) or help you work through gargantuan spreadsheets (if you’re the spreadsheet type). The Tablet S is also blessed with a handful of unique additions to Android 3.1, including a suite of Sony applications as well as a home theater remote app which takes advantage of the device’s built-in IR transmitter.

So, does Sony’s first move in this space change the game or move the ball forward? Or is the company dealing out another familiar entry into an already-crowded space? Read on for my full review and find out.