All the new Samsung revelations slightly overshadowed some other cool new products that were released yesterday at IFA, most notably Sony’s latest tech offerings: a pair of Xperia smartphones, an 8-inch Xperia tablet, an Android wear smartwatch and a new activity-tracking wearable called the SmartBand Talk.
Despite always consisting of both excellent build quality and futuristic features (like waterproofing), they have still failed to earn themselves a spot as a top-end Android device, always outshined by rivals like Samsung and HTC.
Continuing to merge the distinction between phone and tablet, Sony’s newest device, the Z3 Tablet Compact, is a skinnier and lighter version of its predecessor, shrinking from 10.1 inches to a tiny 8, with a 0.25 inch thick body and weighing 0.61 lbs. Its display uses a trilumious LED panel with a massive 1920 x 1200 resolution to make sure you’re getting the most out of your massive screen. And inside isn’t so bad either, with the Z3 packing in a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Adreno 330 GPU. But most impressive of all is the enormous 4500mAh battery which apparently provides 13 hours of HD video playback, which it helps deliver through a special “stamina” mode which gets rid of all the pointless background work which drain your battery without you realising.
The camera is still decent, measuring in at 8.1-megapixels and shooting up to 1080p video, although the front camera falls a bit short, with just a 2.2megapixel 720p version - just like its predecessor. Black or white anti-scratch polycarbonate is found on the back of the tablet, and both LTE and Wi-Fi only versions will be available in the Autumn for an unspecified price.
After impressive sales from the Xperia Z2, Sony has released two follow up versions of the jam-packed, popular device. Potentially taking a leaf out of Apple’s book, Sony is set to sell two, different-sizes versions of its new smartphone: a phablet-like 5.2 incher and a much smaller 4.6 inch baby brother.
Like the Tablet, both devices have slimmed down a little (the Z3 is 0.28 inches thick and 0.33 pounds, while the compact is 0.34 inches thick and 0.28 pounds). The different sizes mean that each device has a slightly different resolution, with the Z3’s 5.2 inch reaching 1920 x 1080 pixels and the Compact’s 4.6-er just 1280 x 720. There’s also a different battery in them, too, with the Z3 powered by a 3000mAh monster, and the smaller Compact just 2600mAh.
A translucent polycarbonate lines the glass and aluminium cases on each as well as the interior all looking pretty similar. Both use the same CPU and RAM as the aforementioned tablet: a 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and 3GB of memory.
Each of them include a whopping 20.7 megapixel camera with a Sony G 25-millimeter lens (the first to have a light sensitivity of 12800 ISO), as well as the ability to shoot 4K 2160p video at 30 frames per second. The front camera is the same as its tablet counterpart, with just 2.2 megapixels and 720p video at 30fps. On top of these improvements to the already quite decent Z2, the LTE-capable Z3 will also be on sale in the US, unlike its flagship. Oh and its still just as water and dustproof as ever. The big version will be available in black, white and copper whereas the smaller Compact will also be made in “silver green”. Ooo.
But the best thing about the devices is that they can all run the PS4 Remote Play feature via a wireless connection, previously only available on PS Vita. Using a special Dualshock 4 controller with a Game Control Mount, its possible to hook the Z3 onto the mount and continue playing your game as you walk around the house. So no missing out when you have to go to the toilet... Just please remember to wash your hands.
As they are all Android devices, Sony has packed some extra special tricks into the software, such as Multicamera and High-Resolution Audio. Multicamera adds a few years of camera technology experience onto your videos, allowing you to connect up to different devices and get footage from different angles on a split screen. High-Resolution Audio however can be used when you’re listening to MP3s or AACs and apparently boosts the audio quality of your sound - a popular feature of the HTC One M8.
Wearables-wise, the company has finally decided to enter the smartwatch market. Even though it previously stated that it planned to develop its own software for the wrist-device, it seems to have re-evaluated it and is instead using Google’s Android-based operating system which has been specially designed for wearables. The SmartWatch 3 (catchy, I know) features a built-in microphone, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, GPS sensor and 4GB of storage space, which all interact with each other. f you’re too focused to touch the 1.6 inch clock face LCD display (320 x 320 pixels) you can just speak to Google Now through the microphone. Made of mostly silicone, bar a metal clasp and stainless steel back panel (where the microUSB charge port lies), the device is completely water (read: sweat). Unlike other Android smart watches, there’s no charging dock, and it has interchangeable straps in black, white, pink or bright green. It will retail at $300/€230.
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