On Wednesday the 5th of September Sony released A whole bevy of interesting Gadgets and Gizmo’s at this year’s IFA. While I didn’t manage to go to the event in Germany, Sony were nice enough to supply me a ticket to this year’s Campus Party so I could get a hands on. I spent most of the day with Jason from sonyfanatic.com and he was kind enough to supply me with some shots to use in this article.
In case you didn’t know Campus Party is “an annual week long, 24-hours-a-day technology festival where thousands of “Campuseros” (hackers, developers, gamers and technophiles), equipped with laptops, camp on-site and immerse themselves in a truly unique environment” and Sony were sponsoring it this year.
Now let’s talk tech. FYI: this is not a review this is simply a “how I felt about the tech” I will give you full reviews as I get the devices.
The Z1 is Sony’s new flagship phone and is the direct successor to, what I think is, Sony’s best phone to date the Xperia Z. It is an incremental upgrade yes, but in all the right places. The Z1 feels better in your hand than Z with its curved edges and feels the right size for day to day use. I got to hold the Ultra while I was there and the Z1 is an infinitely nicer phone to hold and use. The screen is sharp as you would expect with all the technology Sony has pushed in to it and the whole phone feels polished and well presented. With a massive camera sensor in the back and some really cool filters and live camera tweaks the Z1 really has the potential to be great.
It really is great to see Sony coming out strong with this new line of phones. It now means that if you are after an Android Superphone you have more choice than HTC and Samsung, and that is always a good thing. More choice equals more innovation.
And speaking of innovation..
QX10 Lens camera
As we all know Sony brought us something this year that we haven’t really seen before, not just a new camera, but a new way of thinking about point and shoot cameras. I can say I haven’t used a point and shoo camera in years, not because I don’t think they are not a good idea but because I already carry around 2 phones, adding a camera just seems too much. Sony have found a way around this by streamlining the P&S down to its bare minimum; the sensor and the Lens. This means the qx10 is considerably smaller than a regular P&S and still packs a 20.7 MP and 10X optical Zoom.
The really clever bit about the qx10 is how you view and take the photos. Using your existing smartphone, which you can connect with Sony’s “one Touch” technology (NFC) you can view the live feed straight from your QX10 and take photos with the shutter button screen. The QX10 comes with a handy clip for attaching to your phone and works on most phones, although it didn’t fit their own Xperia Ultra. One of my favourite things with the QX10 is the Range. Because the Lens is not physically attached to the view finder it can be maneuvered in a variety of ways to give you better access to hard reach places and the WiFi direct signal seemed to work up to about 6 meters, more than enough for most people. The lens even has a tripod screw in the base which, when used with a phone not attached should help get that perfect, non-blurred shot.
I really liked the QX10. It is a clever way of trying to salvage some of the P&S market while still staying current with what people want today. The ability to instantly share our photographic genius to the world is something we now take for granted and rather than trying to stuff it into a P&S Sony have let us use what we already have.
My biggest criticism of it though is the lack of any flash system. Without a flash the entire rig is relegated to only certain times and certain situations which stops it being a worthy addition to your bag. My suggestion to get around that on this first gen model is fairly simple. Let the phone supply the flash. It is there after all and as we all know the flash on a smartphone is far too powerful for it! Maybe the QX10 could use it to better effect. It would also allow you to have the flash in a different place to the lens, which I am told is helpful in photography.
If any of you have followed my writing you will know I love the Sony Smartwatch. I don’t know what the rest of the blogging community wanted out of it, maybe to drive their car or something, but for me it was and is, one of my favourite accessories. I don’t use it for much if I’m honest. It’s used to have a glancing look at who wants to talk to me and helps me decide if it is important enough to take the call. But I love it for that reason. It does what I want it to do.
The Smartwatch 2 is a more refined version with the exact same premise. The screen has had a resolution bump and the touch screen is much better. The watch itself is designed much more fashionably and looks like any other oversize you might see. At the moment it uses mainly the apps from the old Smartwatch but with a new SDK and API’s I’m hoping to see some interesting 3rd party apps sooner rather than later.
Sony has really pulled the stops out this year to bring themselves into parity with the other Android OEMS. As most people know I am a big HTC fan and suffer Samsung as the biggest manufacturer but with this new set of devices and accessories Sony has shown me that it is worthy of being in the big leagues. The Z1 is easily in the top 3 android devices now and I think they may just stay there.
And good for them.
Images courtesy of sonyfanatic.com