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All posts tagged "sony"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sony's Tablet S: Late to the Party

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 12:30 PM

"To challenge the iPad, Sony knows that it can't just slap its brand on an Android tablet and expect shoppers to open their wallets. So the company took its time bringing the Tablet S to market. The goal: to deliver a one-of-a-kind design, a smoother web browsing experience than competing Android slates, and plenty of content to keep users coming back for more. This sleek device ($499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB) will access Sony's music, book, and video stores, and it comes with two PlayStation games--with more on the way."

Being late to the party, Sony needs to catch-up fast, and hope that their Tablet S will become a true competitor to the iPad. This tablet seems to have been mostly "done right," and its folding design is said to resemble a lightweight folded magazine. Sony did pay attention to details, but made some odd design choices, like very recessed power and volume controls, flimsy port covers, and a strangely configured AC adapter.

With Android 3.1, a great TruBlack 1280x800 display, crisp, loud sound, a very good onscreen keyboard, decent battery life, and NVIDIA Tegra processor, the Tablet S performs fairly well for a pre-release version. Once the production version is available, it should run apps consistently well, including potentially additional PlayStation apps besides the two currently bundled. Costs are expected to be $499 (16GB) and $599 (32GB) for wifi versions, with no availability date mentioned.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sony's VAIO Z Hands-on Review: Super Powerful and Expensive

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Sony Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:30 AM

"We see countless laptops come and go through the seasons, but a rare few have built up something of a following. Make no mistake: the Sony VAIO Z, a skinny ultraportable brimming with cutting-edge technology and powerful innards, is that kind of gem. So when it disappeared from Sony's online store earlier this year, more than a few techies took note. After all, the Z is part of a small fraternity of notebooks that combine an impossibly lightweight design with performance worthy of a larger system."

Sony has taken the newest generation of their ultralight, ultra-powerful and expensive laptop in a new direction. No more wedge. No more on-board optical drive, and even though it's still ultralight, Samsung's Series 9 and the MacBook Air are thinner, but not lighter. An included Power Media Dock now handles discrete graphics: with an AMD Radeon HD 6650M card with 1GB of video memory; a LightPeak (Thunderbolt in Apple's vernacular) port; and an optical drive. The Z is still constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber, and now uses integrated Intel graphics, along with a Sandy Bridge i7 processor, and keeps a large complement of ports along the sides.

Performance is still by far best-in-class, but at the expense of fan noise and heat, with the track-pad that is a bit troublesome, in part due to the integrated fingerprint reader. Battery life ranges from very good with the standard battery, to excellent when the optional ($150) sheet battery is added, with a tested runtime of about nine-hours. This a quite a system when the configuration is maxed-out, but it's expensive, at over $2700. Less expensive (but less powerful) alternatives are the Samsung Series 9 and/or the MacBook Air.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sony Ultraportable Shows Next Generation Dock

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:00 PM

"The super-slim and super-light Sony VAIO Z wasn't just designed to take on ultraportables such as the MacBook Air and Samsung Series 9. This 2.6-pound wonder (starting at $2,000) attempts to take the entire category to the next level with a very unique dock that's powered by Intel's blazing Light Peak technology."

The Sony Vaio Z has all the standard accoutrements you would expect of an ultraportable. Slim styling, light weight, blazing SSDs and a peppy CPU. However, like most ultraportables, some compromises are made, usually in the form of expansion and ports. With something this anorexic, you cannot expect 15 USB 3.0 ports, a PCI Express 54 slot, Blu-ray drive and three modular hot swap bays. Well, maybe you can try to expect it, but be prepared for disappointment. Enter LightPeak. Laptop Notebook docking stations have been around for a very long time, but until recently, they either were custom made for specific series of computers, or were USB based and very limited in what they could do. Some weird magic is at hand here, as it supposedly uses a power and USB 3.0 port, but the end result is some nifty expansion. Worthwhile? Maybe, but LightPeak and its uses are still very new. I think waiting to see what else they can come up with would be worth the wait.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sony Style Comes to the S1 and S2 Tablets

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:00 AM

"Now that Sony has spilled the carrier-exclusive beans on at least one of its tablets, the S2 clamshell, the company kindly gave us a chance to get some long-awaited hands-on time with both it and its sibling, the S1 slate. And at time when it feels like we handle a new Honeycomb Android tablet every other day, these at least usher in some pretty unusual form factors. On the one hand, you've got the S1, a 9.4-inch number whose rounded wedge profile was designed to mimic a folded magazine. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the S2, which opens to reveal twin 5.5-inch displays -- all the more of a novelty since we've barely seen Android 3.0 running on devices that don't have 10-inch displays."

Sony Style is alive and well in the tablet space! The S1 is a 'standard' tablet, with rounded edges and a wedge shape, making it ergonomically efficient, as well as easy to hold. Results indoors were very good, and the 1280x768 display was great for viewing a movie, even from the side and at an angle. Results outdoors are unknown, as this was a very short hands-on.

The S2 is a clamshell form-factor, with two 5.5-inch screens. According to the review, when closed, it looks like a large case for eyeglasses. When open, there is a bezel separating the bright screens, making for a less than optimal viewing experience. No other details are available at this time.

Nothing reported on software other than to mention that Honeycomb (Android 3+) is there, and Sony has done some work at the UI layer to make the user experience "better." Speed of the S1 and S2 seemed similar to other Android tablets, described as "pretty zippy," and both devices are both PlayStation Certified (hello games!). I like this clamshell idea, so it'll be interesting to see how apps perform with two small screens available - or is it logically one screen with a chunk of plastic bezel in the middle?

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Quick Peek at Sony's S1 and S2 Tablet Love

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 12:30 PM

"We've already seen press shots and teaser videos of Sony's S1 Honeycomb tablet and dual-screen S2 (and had our eyes on them ourselves), but Germany's Golem website managed to spend a bit of time with both of the devices at an event in Munich"

Sony is preparing not just one, but two takes on the scalding hot tablet market. While the S1 looks like it could slide a cake mighty nicely, the S2 looks a bit more interesting. The S2 intruigues me more as it seems a bit more portable, but I honestly do not know if that would translate into more use. A decent smartphone probably provides a similar enough experience to a mini-tablet, so why have two devices fitting the same form factor? I can see where a tablet fits in, just like a netbook, and in working with computers, a desktop or powerful laptop is useful as well. Does anyone see why they might want a mini tablet, except where they do not want a smartphone?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sony Tablets Fail to Impress

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 04:00 PM

"Sony just announced out two new tablets. Announced that is, of course and there is just the promise that the products will likely be on the market by the end of the year, which is a sure sign that they will be old news when they finally arrive in stores. They seem to repeat the mistakes Sony, and others, made during the iPod wars and we know how that turned out. Sony got its ass kicked along with pretty much everyone else."

Let us all feel sorry for Sony. They just do not seem to be able to catch a break lately. Aside from certain security issues they are dealing with righ tnow, it seems as if their newly launched S1 and S2 tablets are not getting much love. The S1 and S2 certainly look interesting, but I double that they will get much traction among consumers. I have seen many impressive products come from Sony. The one I remember most is their VAIO UX series. Like the S1 and S2, the UX series was really ultra-mobile and portable. Unfortunately, it never really caught on, and Sony seems to have gone from one unpopular idea to another. Maybe someday, one of them will stick!

Sony Announces Two Tablets, One with Two Screens

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 04:00 AM

"Android Honeycomb tablets are becoming a dime-a-dozen, which naturally leads to attempts to set new tablets apart from the growing pack...What’s left for Sony to do so its tablets don’t get lost in the crowd?"

Sony has officially announced the S1 and S2 tablets. The S1 is a fairly conventional looking tablet but with a design that moves the weight to one end, making it easier to hold. It's also angled so it should be easier to view when resting on a table. It has a 9.4" screen, DLNA, and can be used as a remote for Bravia TV's. The S2 is a little more interesting. It has two 5.5" screens and can fold in half. The screens can be used separately for doing different things or together as one large screen, but with a break in the middle where the device folds.

I love the way Sony has supported things like DLNA, USB Mass Storage, standard Bluetooth HID profiles, standard USB keyboards, and standard Bluetooth headsets on the PS3 for a long time as well as all the features they have added to the PS3 over the years like improving the audio player, Flash support in the browser, streaming video services, and remote power on with a PSP. They've also added a ton of features to the PSP like customizable scene skipping thumbnails in video, a comic book player, letting you run music in the background while in the XMB or playing slide shows, and adding support for more audio and video formats.

I can't wait to see what Sony Does with the S1 and S2. I think there is a lot of potential for interaction between these tablets and the PS3 or maybe even PSP. I'd love to hook a tablet to a TV with HDMI and then use my PSP as the controller for a game on the tablet that I'm watching a big screen! Hopefully, whatever they do, they'll do a reasonable job at keeping the base OS up to date. With the Xperia Play on the way as well Sony is really showing a strong commitment to Android and whether you like Sony or not the competition is always good! I know Sony is getting a black eye right now since their network has been down for the last week but I'll definitely give them another chance. Do you have any interest in an Android tablet from Sony? What are your thoughts?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Holiday Signature Collection 2010 Laptops from Sony

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Sony Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:30 AM

"Sony has launched the VAIO Holiday 2010 Signature Collection laptops."

Sony's 2010 Holiday Signature Collection has arrived. Starting with an 8-inch VAIO P mini-laptop in black or pink crocodile casing for $999, up to a 13.1-inch Glossy Premium Carbon VAIO Z at $4699 (and in limited production), there are several models in-between to fill the gaps. Sony is going the Vertu route this holiday season, adding some fashion to their products.

I do like the premium carbon VAIO Z model ( link ) shown above, configured out-of-the-box with a Core i7 processor, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, 13.1-inch backlit LED display at 192-x1080, backlit keyboard, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA 1GB VRAM Hybrid graphics card. At 3.04-pounds with standard battery installed (large capacity battery optional), expect 6-7 hours of usage, or 9-10.5 hours with the upgraded battery. Not much missing in this beauty, but, if you'd like additional upgrades to push past the magic $5K mark: VAIO Z Series Docking Station, $200; Large Capacity Battery $250.

Price aside, is this perhaps the perfect laptop?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Sony Vaio Is Notebook Power In Netbook (Almost) Size

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 10:00 AM

"Sony's little mid-range Vaio just got a little more little. The Y series, launched back in January, is shrinking from 13.3 to 11.6 inches with the new VPCYA19FJ/B model, but still offers a perfectly respectable resolution of 1366 x 768."

The new Sony Vaio offers a complex sequence of letters and numbers for its model number and some decent specs for those that are ready to move up from the world of netbooks but do not want to compromise on the size. Unfortunately, this one has only been announced for Japanese release. Why do manufacturers limit where they release a product? Do they really think that the other markets would sell so poorly that it would not be worth the investment?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Winter Refresh for Vaio Line

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Sony Laptops & Netbooks" @ 07:00 AM

"It’s not just new winter coats you’re seeing this fall hit store shelves. Today, the Sony VAIO® division has released a variety of updated models in preparation of this holiday season. Available today on, this fall’s update reveals not only new CPU options but a few other enhancements."

The Vaio E series sees new color options, screen sizes, and processor upgrades. The F series snags some USB 3.0 goodness along with an upgraded processor and graphics card. Finally, the L series sees the return of Blu-ray. If you are a fan of Sony's hardware, be sure to check out their latest offerings.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sony VAIO EC Series Desktop Replacement Monster

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Sony Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:00 PM

"Sony's always had a knack for making some of the best multimedia laptops around, and the VAIO EC Series is all about continuing the trend. The desk-dominating 17.3-inch laptop is a monster of a machine, and has the internal guns to match – it's got a Core i3 processor, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics card, 4GB of RAM, 500GB of storage and a Blu-ray drive."

Sony's VAIO EC Series desktop replacement multimedia laptops are the next in a long series of "almost good enough to really be a desktop replacement" laptops. A robust processor and graphics, a very good display, coupled wth a 4x Blu-ray drive start things off well. But then comes the disappointment of mediocre speakers, no standalone multimedia buttons, lots of shiny surface, and an off-center trackpad with some reported quirks.

As with nearly all systems with this much power, battery life suffers, with 2.5 - 3.0 hours of use being all that one can expect. This is not a light machine at 7.3 pounds, so one could reasonably expect that it'd remain in one place (as a desktop replacement) and not rely on the battery. Bottom line is that this is a good, but unexceptional multimedia laptop for the price, and that Sony still commands and gets a premium for its products.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cool Your Vaio! BIOS Fix for Overheating Problem

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Sony Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:30 AM

"Sony has issued a software fix to prevent a recent batch of Vaio laptops from overheating. Over 500,000 new laptops could be affected by the problem, in what could well turn out to be a PR disaster for the consumer electronics giant."

Sony Vaio owners continue to be plagued by overheating problems. After the massive battery recall of 2006, estimated to have cost Sony $250 million, the latest problem impacts about a half million laptops. Sony has issued a software fix that updates the system BIOS. ( Link )

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