It’s been a busy year over at Sony, and they had and still have some pretty cool gadgets to show at CES 2013. Although, this was not unexpected, Sony is after all, one of the biggest manufacturers of multimedia devices in the world. Their products range from smart TVs to smartphones and all in between, and this year, we’ve seen quite some interesting gadgets baring the Sony brand.
As part of our CES 2013 coverage, we will show you all new gadgets/technologies that Sony revealed, so you can be up to date with the latest news from Las Vegas, where CES is hosted. As a sneak peak into what Sony is offering this year, we’ll tell you that NFC, One-Touch and high resolutions are involved, so keep on reading and we’ll show you some awesome technologies.
Sony Google TV remote is voice-controlled
Since last year, Sony has produced Google TV remotes, but I’m sad to say, they didn’t impress anyone. This year however, the new Google TV Remote from Sony has gotten an overhaul and it definitely brings the very best features. The device is very similar to last year’s model, having a full size backlit QWERTY keyboard on one side and a trackpad and some buttons on the other. One feature that made the remote stand out is the integration of a microphone which allows users to search channels or shows by talking to the remote. The system is somewhat similar to the Google Now and it provides a much needed feature to the Google TV Remote.
Audio equipment gets redesigned
Waterproof Sony Walkman
One of the hallmark products that Sony has offered for a long time is the Sony Walkman. This prolific mp3 player has seen many changes and it has come a long way since it’s first versions. This year, at CES, Sony revealed the new design for the Walkman, which is targeted towards swimmers and athletes.
The device is a small size and very compact player that is waterproof and thanks to its lack of wires and compact design, it will be perfectly adaptable to anyone, regardless of what sports they play. The Walkman has 4 GB on integrated memory and it features Sony’s quick charge function which allows the device to work for a full hour on a 3 minute charge. The device will be available in white, black, blue and pink and its price will be around $99.
New speakers/headsets released by Sony
A few models of speakers were also presented by Sony, and to be honest, they are quite cool, especially due to their small sizes and good sound quality. Although smartphone docking stations are nothing new, these devices can connect wirelessly to your phone via NFC or Bluetooth 3.0, so Nexus users will have the possibility to play their tunes via NFC with no more hassle with wires or complicated pairing.
The smallest model that Sony unveiled is the SRS-BTV5, a orb-like device that puts out 360 degree sound for a period of 5 hours, with pretty decent sound quality, but its build materials are not as premium as we’d like, and so, the device is vulnerable to cracking when you up the volume. Apart from this, it’s a very nice portable speaker and when it comes out, it will cost about $69.
Apart from the orb speaker, Sony has also revealed two other new devices, one of which has a stylish purse-like look. The device is bigger than the SRS-BTV5, but also has superior sound quality, a better build quality and its battery can keep it going for an impressive 20 hours. The speaker also has a integrated handle which makes carrying a lot easier.
The last two speakers presented by Sony are top of line premium products that have a more conventional sound-bar style. The two devices, SRS-BTX300 and BTX500 are Sony’s best speakers, and they offer the best possible sound quality, with exceptional build quality. They also benefit from all the connectivity features as the rest of the speakers, and via the specialized Sony app, any NFC enabled smartphone can stream music to them. The SRS-BTX300 will cost around $199 and the BTX500 will revolve around $299.
Last but not least, we’ve seen a couple of headsets: SBH–20 and DR-BTN200M. Both devices are NFC enabled and take full advantage of the One Touch pairing. The main difference between them is the battery life, where the SBH-20 offers 400 hours of stand-by time and the other model peaks at an impressive 800 hours.
Sony unveils some awesome Home Entertainment products
In their presentation, Sony has unveiled some interesting products for home entertainment, although some of them are only in the concept stage, like the 56” OLED 4K UHD display, which has a gorgeous image quality. The device is only in the concept stage, and therefore we don’t know when it will be available or how much it will cost. Also on their list of products, there is an entire line of LED Bravia TVs, that cover the 720p and 1080p spectrum.
The two main names here are the 55” and 65” 4K UHD models (also known as XBR-65X900A and the XBR-55X900A) which will be available this spring and they plan to bring 4K TV prices down and make the technology available to a wider audience. Also, some models have the Sony “TRILUMINOS Display” technology which gives richer colors (blues, greens and reds), something that many people are interested in. This is a good move, especially because they are planning to introduce a 4K streaming service this year.
In the same 4k UHD category, Sony has presented their Video Distribution Service that allows owners of 4K Tvs to receive UHD signal. The service will be launched in the US in this summer, but no additional information is known at this time. This service will go hand in hand with the other UHD products that Sony have presented, such as the Mastered in 4K Blu-Ray Players.
These Blu-Ray players are not strictly 4K players, and this is because the lack of 4K content available. The video that they play will still be encoded in 1080p format. At the moment, this does not sound like much, but if the Video Distribution service will go live, they might pick up.
Traditional Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray players were also presented at CES by Sony. Models for each of the two categories were presented, although all of the 4 Blu-Ray players are 1080p Full HD compatible, only two of them are compatible with 3D technology. All of them have stunning video quality, and their design is awesome.
Sony’s new flagship smartphones are here
Of the two smartphones featured by Sony at CES 2013, the Xperia Z is the company’s flagship device that has some great specs but a design that might not appeal to some. The phone has Gorilla Glass on both faces, similar to the LG Nexus 4 smartphone, but it does not have rounded edges, and its design is somewhat blocky.
Although not a small device, it weighs in at 140 grams and 7.9 mm in thickness. Also, the device is waterproof (the device can be submerged for up to 30 minutes and you can use it even if the display is wet), having the connectors for MicroUSB, microSD and SIM card covered, this also makes it very stylish. The smartphone also features Sony’s own Bravia Engine 2 technology which enhances the picture quality of the display, and although there is a noticeable difference when it is turned on, the colors are still a bit faded out and the viewing angle is pretty narrow.
The other device from Sony, Xperia ZL is almost the same, but a few modifications to the exterior. The device does not have a glass back and it is not water resistant. Also, it is a little thicker than the Xperia Z, at 9.8 mm. Apart from this, the other specs of the two devices are identical, and we know that you are eagerly waiting to see what these are, so let’s take a look:
- 5” 1080p display with 440 ppi density
- 13 MP rear camera with Exmor RS sensor for HDR photography and video
- Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5GHz
- 2,330mAh Battery with Sony Battery Stamina software for enhanced battery life
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS (Sony mentioned that it will be upgradable to 4.2)
- LTE connectivity
Both of these devices are top notch and they will be available at the end of Q1. Also, Sony has not mentioned much about pricing, only that both devices will be priced at the high end spectrum. Do check out other smartphones that were released at CES this year, compilation made by us.
Personal Content Station storage hub
We’re getting more and more content in our homes and we want fast, instant access to it. That’s why, probably, Sony thought of the Personal Content Station hub, which stores your photos and videos and makes them easily accessible. It is also NFC-enabled, so if you have NFC devices, you’ll be able to copy the content without any wires at all. The storage device also supports memory cards, Wi-Fi and USB. Everything’s nice and impressive, but the price is probably a let down for some – $300.
Sony has also unveiled some new Cyber-Shot camera models, which have great features but also very accessible prices. For more information about them, please check out our story on CES 2013 cameras.
Radu Tyrsina contributed to this post