Tag: Sony

By March 7, 2014 Read More →

Sony Xperia Tablet Z Review

xperia-tablet-zSince their split from Ericsson in 2011 Sony have battled hard to achieve a status they once owned in the mobile arena. 2013 has been a very successful year for Sony after releasing an array of satisfactory phones using a lot of the alphabet for their names they came across their most successful at the end of the alphabet. The letter ‘z’. The Z phone was followed on by the successful Z1.

Sony announced their Xperia tablet Z in January 2013 and released it in May 2013, still currently priced between £349.99 and £379.99 its main competition lies with the iPad air. At the time of this press release it was to be the lightest 10inch tablet around, feeling threatened by a lighter product Apple rushed production for the iPad air. The difference in weight is minimal; the Sony tablet Z weighs 495g the iPad air weighs 469g compared to the heavier and bulkier iPad 4 weighing a massive 652g.

By February 24, 2014 Read More →

Sony announces Xperia Z2, Z2 Tablet, and M2

xperia_z2With Mobile World Congress underway in Barcelona, Sony have used the event to officially announce their latest flagship device, the Xperia Z2.

Aiming to build upon the successes of the Xperia Z1, the Z2 will come with a 5.2″ Display, just 0.2in larger than the existing Xperia Z1 but in a thinner and lighter package. At just 8.2mm thick, Sony has now chosen to follow HTC in using an  aluminium frame construction.

There had been much speculation about the Z2, particularly with regards the screen and many expected that it would be among the first phones to launch with a 2K display. However, the Z2 sticks with a 1920×1080 Full HD screen bust also includes the X-reality picture engine and Triluminos display technology, rather than a straight focus on pixel count.

The Xperia Z2 maintains the IP55 and IP58 dust and waterproofing that we’ve now come to expect from Sony but perhaps one of the best boast-worthy features of the Z2 is that 4K video capable 20.7 megapixel camera which has a 1/2.3-type Exmor RS for mobile CMOS image sensor and a Sony G Lens.

The full press release follows…

Posted in: News, Phones
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By January 31, 2014 Read More →

Sony DSC-QX10 and QX100 Firmware v2.0 is available to download from Sony Asia

IMG_4172Towards the end of 2013 Sony announced that a firmware for the DSC QX10 and QX100 lens cameras for use with Smartphones would be released in January. With only a few days left to meet this target, the promised update has appeared on the Sony Asia support site. At the time of writing the UK site still doesn’t show the download.

New features for the version 2.0 update are:

  • ISO Setting added
  • Movie Recording size changed: MP4 1440 x 1080(30p) to MP4 1920 x 1080(30p)
  • Shutter Speed Priority Shooting mode added (DSC-QX100 only)

I updated my QX10 yesterday and the time taken to connect to my Nexus 5 has reduced drastically and the connection itself seems to be much more stable. These were two issues that I highlighted in my review and once I have had a chance to play with the the camera with the new firmware some more I will update the review with my new thoughts.

The update was painless and all of the steps required are clearly explained in the updater software. It seems that the existing firmware on the lenses is a mix of v1 and v0.1 so it looks like some units were sold with an earlier release and no update was offered.

If you’d like to grab the update now, try these links.

http://www.sony-asia.com/support/product/dsc-qx100

http://www.sony-asia.com/support/product/DSC-QX10

Posted in: Cameras, News
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By January 14, 2014 Read More →

Sony announces Xperia E1, claims it best in class

1_Xperia_E1_White_FrontToday Sony have announced its latest Android smartphone, the Xperia E1, and claim, based upon its specification, that the E1 is the best device in its class.

The Xperia E1 is powered by Qualcomm’s MSM8210 1.2 GHz Dual Core processor, 512 MB RAM and features a 4 inch (233 ppi) display combined with a large 1700 mAh battery, which is the basis for the ‘best in class’ claim.

Full press release and further details follow:

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By January 7, 2014 Read More →

Sony introduces Xperia Z1 Compact announced

Xperia Z1 Compact Yesterday Sony announced a new little brother to the huge Xperia Z1. Featuring their handy and now somewhat standard waterproof design in a range of four colours – white, black, pink and lime

Unlike some companies that launch mini versions of their phone Sony are not cutting the corners right off. The Compact includes their award-winning “G Lens”, 20.7 MP “Exmor RS for mobile” CMOS image sensor and “BIONZ for mobile” image processing engine. This compact version actually features a very agreeable 4.3” HD Display.

“With the addition of Xperia Z1 Compact our global range of premium products is now broader than ever and offers our customers a wider choice.” said Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications. “Xperia Z1 is a no-compromise feature-packed smartphone with a beautiful yet durable design. With Xperia Z1 Compact, we bring all of these premium features and performance, into a smaller size to give you the ultimate compact smartphone.”

 

Xperia Z1 Compact - back

Here is the rest of the Xperia Z1 Compact press release:

The world’s best camera in a compact smartphone

Xperia Z1 Compact sets a new standard in premium smartphones. It featuresSony’s proven camera technologies to deliver the same level of performance and quality that you would find in a conventional compact digital camera – all in a beautifully crafted compact smartphone. The 20.7 megapixel camera phone is matched with 1/2.3-type CMOS image sensor Exmor RS for mobile, Sony’s award-winning G Lens and intelligent BIONZ™ for mobile image processing engineresulting in superb photo quality.

 

Thanks to this unique combination of technologies, you can capture beautifully sharp and bright images even in lowlight conditions when a flash won’t do. High shutter speeds and 3x clear image zoom prevent shots from being blurred while allowing you to capture from a distance, so that you never miss the moment. Superior Auto helps you shoot perfectly, with intelligent scene recognition technology to capture incredible images in an instant with no complicated settings. And because it’s both waterproof and dust-resistant, this durable and versatile smartphone fits neatly into your life, so you can use it anytime, anywhere.

 

Unique social camera apps to enhance your camera experience

The Xperia Z1 Compact comes pre-loaded with a suite of innovative XperiaCamera Apps to take your photography experience to a new level:

  • Timeshift burst: Captures an impressive 61 frames in just two seconds so you get the perfect shot first time, every time.
  • Info-eye™: An innovative visual search using your camera to provide information on landmarks, books and wine amongst others.
  • Social live: Broadcast your videos live via Facebook and get your friends’comments right on your screen for the ultimate interactive sharing experience.
  • AR effect: Have some creative fun with your pictures with SmartARTMaugmented reality animations

 

In addition to these great pre-installed social camera apps, there’s a whole range of extra apps for you to enjoy including Wikitude Places, Evernote, VI Sports and more.  Simply go into your camera viewfinder, turn on Superior Auto and then click on ‘+Apps’ to see all the latest apps to enhance your smartphone experience. 

 

Beautiful and durable design

Xperia Z1 Compact includes all of the features of the acclaimed Xperia Z1, but offered in perfectly palm-sized proportions. Featuring Sony’s stunning OmniBalance design, this dust-resistant and waterproof (IP55 & IP58) beauty is both sleek and durable from every angle. And with the dedicated camera button, you can even take photos or videos underwater. The Xperia Z1 Compact takes the style stakes a step further offering a choice of vibrant colour finishes including white, black, lime and pink to suit your individual taste.  A clever design refinement is the new Glove Modethat lets you use your Xperia Z1 Compact even while wearing gloves, making it even easier to use your phone, no matter what the weather.

 

World’s best battery performance in a premium compact smartphone5

Xperia Z1 Compact offers ultra-fast performance and breathtaking graphics, thanks to the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 processor with 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU and 4G LTE for amazing speed. The Xperia Z1 Compact also includes a 2300 mAh battery which provides outstanding, class-leading battery performance, despite its compact size.

 

Sony’s Battery STAMINA Mode helps you stay connected for longer, as itautomatically turns off functions to save power when you don’t need them and restarts them when you do. So now you can leave the charger at home and never have to worry running out of power when you need it most – the Z1 Compact takes everyday demands in its stride.

 

Enjoy the best colour and sharpness 
Built with Sony’s latest BRAVIA® TV technologies optimized for mobile, the Xperia Z1 Compact incorporates a 4.3” TRILUMINOS™ HD Display for mobile, for a wider palette of rich, natural colours. Sony’s exclusive X-Reality™ for mobile is an intelligent super resolution technology that finds and reproduces any lacking pixels, so you’ll always be able to enjoy the clearest and sharpest videos.

 

Sony’s media applications

Xperia Z1 Compact offers seamless access to both online and offline entertainment with these integrated Sony’s media apps:

  • PlayMemories Online6 - a cloud-based image and video service that is integrated into the Album application. A new ‘All Sync’ feature enables users to instantly auto-upload all of their photos without storage limitation7.
  • “WALKMAN” and Movies applications provide access to more than 22 million songs on the “WALKMAN” app through Music Unlimited8 and more than 150K movies and TV series on the Movies app through Video Unlimited8 from Sony Entertainment Network.
  • TrackIDTM TV9 - enhances your TV-viewing experience as it lets you search, share and explore information from broadcasted TV shows such as cast & crew, biographies, filmography or show related Tweets.

Switching to Xperia has never been easier
Xperia™ Transfer Mobile makes it easier than ever to switch from your existing Android or iOS handset to Xperia. It’s the simple and easy way to seamlessly transfer your contacts, photos, bookmarks, apps, messages and much more from your old smartphone, swiftly and securely. And better still, no PC is required – simply transfer directly from phone-to-phone using NFC or the supplied cable10.

 

Unrivalled ecosystem of companion products and smart accessories

Sony offers the most comprehensive range of innovative companion products and accessories to give you new ways to use and enjoy your smartphone. With 132 NFC enabled one-touch connected products – including TVs, headphones, audio speakers, tablets, and more – it has never been easier to connect and enjoy your content across multiple devices.

 

Key smartphone accessories to enhance your Xperia Z1 Compact experience include:

  • QX100: High-performance ‘lens-style’ cameras designed for mounting on smartphones and operated through the smartphone screen.
  • SmartWatch 2: Use as a second screen for Xperia Z1 Compact. Read messages, handle calls, easily access notifications – all from your wrist. Trigger the Xperia Z1 Compact camera shutter.
  • DK32: Magnet charging cradle that offers a perfect viewing angle as you talk, watch and listen whilst charging your smartphone.
    • SBH-80: Stereo Bluetooth Headset in a unique neckband-style design crafted from premium materials and supporting NFC, HD Voice and aptX.

 

 

Posted in: News, Phones
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By December 2, 2013 Read More →

Sony Xperia Tablet Z unboxing video & hands-on

l_21313382Continuing our look at the Android tablets currently on offer we turn our attention to the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

Whist the Sony Xperia Tablet Z has been around for a little while it still has a specification sheet that should impress, with a high-res display, IP57 rating for dust and water resistance and decent CPU and memory housed in a thin 6.9mm body it looks like it could do the business but being a Sony branded product there is, perhaps predictably, a premium price label.

The question we’ll be looking to answer when we get the the Sony Xperia Tablet Z review is whether or not this 10.1″ Android tablet deserves the circa £400 price point for the 16GB WiFi version, and whether or not it should be included on your Christmas list!

In the video below you’ll see me unboxing the Sony Xperia Tablet Z with a look at the included accessories and a tour around the hardware and software elements. I also run a quick benchmark, the results of which may surprise.

Posted in: Tablets, Videos/Unboxings
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By November 30, 2013 Read More →

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 Review

IMG_4168The Sony DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 lens cameras for use with smartphones seem to have polarized opinions in the press with regard to their usefulness with some critics claiming that they are products that are looking for a purpose. Here we will be reviewing the base model DSC-QX10 camera using both Apple and Android smartphones.

If you haven’t already seen Matt’s unboxing and hands-on video, please take a few minutes to get an idea of what the Sony QX10 is all about.

Unboxing and Setup Video

The 10 Second review:

  • Device: Sony Cyber-shot QX10
  • Price: RRP £180. Available from £135 from various on-line retailers.
  • Summary: An add on camera for iOS and Android devices.
  • Best of: Picture Quality, focus speed, 10x Optical zoom.
  • Worst of: Occasional connection slowdowns. Currently not fully compatible with Android 4.4.
  • Buy it now from: Amazon UK
  • Also consider: Stand alone compact camera

 What’s in the box?

  • Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens
  • Rear cover to attach lens to phone
  • Battery
  • MicroUSB sync/charge cable
  • Wriststrap
  • Instruction Manual

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 Review Specifications

Sensor 18MP, 1/2.3in BSI CMOS
Lens 10x optical zoom, 25-250mm in equivalent terms
LCD n/a
File Formats JPEG, MPEG 4
Shutter Speeds 4 – 1/1600 sec
Exposure Modes Auto, i-Auto, Program
Metering System Multi
ISO Range 100-3200
White Balance auto
Flash Modes n/a
Memory Card microSD, micro SDHC, micro SDXC
Connectivity USB 2, Wi-fi, NFC
Power Li-ion rechargeable
Dimensions 62 x 62 x 33 mm
Weight 105g
Video 1440 x 1080 @ 30fps

General

I think that it is probably worth starting off by saying what the QX10 is and what is does and doesn’t do. Put simply the QX10 is a compact camera that is missing a screen or viewfinder and most of the controls. The reason that these normally important features are missing is that you can access them by using your smartphone!

The QX10 incorporates WiFi into it and by connecting the two devices together. On an iPhone it is simply the case of switching the camera on and going to the WiFi settings on the phone and pairing them. On a Android phone with NFC it is even more simple. Just touch the two devices together and the paring process starts. Once that is done The Sony Play Memories App can be downloaded form either The Apple App Store or Google Play and off you go.

IMG_1098

Whatever the lens sees is shown (almost) immediately on your smartphone screen. The reason that I said almost is that there occasions when it seems to go a little laggy but generally it is fast and stutter free.

IMG_1097

Settings for the camera can be adjusted using the app. These include the photo or video mode, the photograph resolution, the image size that is automatically transferred to the phone and the sounds that the camera makes. It is a very simple app and for the most part performs very well. One current downside to the Play Memories app is that it currently does not support Android 4.4 KitKat. As I have a Nexus 5 as my personal device this did cause a few moments of head scratching but I discovered that Camera360 has recently been updated to connect to the QX10 although video mode is not supported.

IMG_1101IMG_1100

What is it like to use and does it really serve a purpose?

I am quite a keen (if not very good) photographer and I am generally not keen on using the cameras on phones to record anything other than quick photos for social media sites. I’ve usually got a camera of some kind available whenever I am out and about and often with a collection of lenses in a bag. I very often take a shot with my camera and then a second with a phone to share straight away.

With the QX10 these issues suddenly disappeared! I was able to keep the QX10 in one pocket and my phone in another and when I wanted to grab a shot, there was a simple less than 10 second process to switch on, attach to phone and open the app to get the shot. You can also use the lens in one hand and the phone in another to get shots that you normally would find hard to frame.

The QX10 has a thread for a tripod so it can be set up in a location and remotely controlled and viewed which might be useful if you like to do wildlife photography.

I would not try to claim that this camera could ever replace a DSLR, m4/3 or Sony NEX camera but it allows another option when choosing the kit that you need. I would happily take it out on its own though and know that the shots that I brought back would be excellent!

I found the QX10 to be a really fun camera to shoot with and a couple of my photographer friends who tried it out agreed and have ordered their own.

As a video camera the QX10 is very capable and is able to capture 1440x1080p video at 30 frames per second. Matt recently used it to record the unboxing of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra recently.

Why not have a look at the video and see what you think? Sony Xperia Z Ultra unboxing and hands-on

Here are a few sample shots taken with the Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10

All shots are straight from the camera memory card and were taken hand-held.

 

Conclusion

The Sony DSC-QX10 was the 1st device in a long time that has truly amazed me! The slightly laggy response from the viewfinder was forgotten every time I used the camera. I would say that if you are considering the QX10 or that if you are curious about it, you would probably enjoy it as much as I do. If you think that it’s a silly idea then you should try one out – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

By November 26, 2013 Read More →

Sony Xperia Z Ultra unboxing and hands-on

sony-xperia-z-ultra-1Hot on the heels of our Sony Xperia Z1 review we have its big brother, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

With its 6.4″ screen, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is the largest of the ‘Phablet’ form devices to hit the market and just tops Samsung’s Galaxy Mega 6.3.

However, unlike many of the other phablet devices on the market, the Z Ultra follows other devices in the range and is IP58 rated making it both dust and waterproof and able to submerge in water to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Making it possibly an ideal device for using in or around the pool when you’re on your holidays.

At just 6.5mm thick, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra packs quite a lot in to its slim chassis. Inside we get a 2.2GHz Quad-core CPU, 16GB internal storage, 2GB RAM, 8MP camera and all of the usual bells and whistles in terms of GPS, WiFi, etc.

As always, we’re kicking off with an unboxing and hands on video. Here you’ll see the hardware in more detail and I’ll show you what the OS/UI is like before running that ever controversial benchmark test.

By November 19, 2013 Read More →

Sony Xperia Z1 Review

Sony Xperia Z1 ReviewSony have have been releasing some excellent phones recently that are capable of competing with the the best in the market. The Xperia Z1 in this review has a specification sheet that has everything that one could ask for and uses all of the latest internal hardware.

Can it bring everything together to create excellent device?

To find out please read on, but not before watching the Sony Xperia Z1 unboxing and initial impressions video from Matt,if you have not already done so.

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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By November 10, 2013 Read More →

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 unboxing and setup video

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10The quality and pixel count of cameras built in to smartphones is improving all the time but there are always compromises to be made when you’re cramming a sensor and optics in to a package small enough to fit in to a smartphone where anything over about 10mm is considered too ‘fat’.

There have been obvious leaps forward particularly with the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Ultrapixel sensor on the HTC One but even though these cameras are good there’s still no beating the optics and sensors in ‘proper’ digital cameras.

So enter the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10, a lens camera system from Sony. Sony have taken the G Lens and ExmorR CMOS sensor from one of their digital cameras and put them in to a package that’s the same size as the lens itself. The result is a camera with 10x zoom and 18.2MP sensor in a package that looks like it’s just a small-ish lens.

The idea here is that you can use this “lens camera” with your existing Android or iOS smartphone to give you a really good camera experience, far better than you could expect from the built-on camera and with a 10x zoom and optical image stabiliser to boot.

You connect your phone to the QX10 via WiFi direct and then use Playmemories Mobile app as the interface and viewfinder for the camera.

I decided to get a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 because the camera on the Nexus 5 isn’t great… However, word of warning, the Playmemories App, which is essential to using the QX10, doesn’t work on the Nexus 5, presumably doesn’t support Android OS 4.4 yet!

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