IFA 2013: The Rest of Sony’s Shock & Awe – Cameras, Speakers, and Laptops, oh my

Sony was a busy bee today, unveiling all kinds of goodies in Berlin.


1237130_10151672757411997_128816263_nFor those wanting to rock some HD video with great audio, the HDR-MV1 might be just the trick. Pairing a small HD camera to a pair of stereo mics, this looks to be an improvement over previous Flip-style cameras. A wide angle lens is built into the front so you shouldn’t have to stage it too far away to get the whole band in the shot. NFC and WiFi are also built in allowing you to quickly tap and share pics and vids to your favorite online destination. No current pricing info or availability.

1208825_10151672823256997_1561317119_nIf you need something a bit more “pro”, the FDR-AX1 Handycam might be more your speed. Sony’s first 4K camcorder records video at 60 frames per second in four times the resolution of HD TV. Pro mics are built into the front, with the ability to plug in XLR cables for additional audio options. Sony is using a 20X zoom lens (31.5mm-630mm) so you should have most shooting situations covered in that range, and built in ND filters can help you cut bright light out of your frame. $4499 is the pre-order price and it’s expected to ship early October.

Speakers and Headphones

1233473_10151672757861997_1430604708_nPortable wireless speakers are hot right now, we’ll be covering a few audio solutions in the coming weeks here on SGG. Sony showed off their Splash-Proof Bluetooth wireless speaker today. Looks like a great solution to bringing audio to small gatherings and spaces. Plus you don’t have to fear a trip to the pool or beach as they’re water resistant. Available now in six colors for $129.99 each.

555336_10151672757451997_688780776_nIf you want to keep your tunes to yourself however, Sony is also dropping a new pair of noise cancelling headphones. The MDR-10R feature a comfortable looking on the ear design which should help with isolation, and active noise reduction will sample the background audio around you and block it. $269.99 pre-order and they should ship the middle of October.

Laptops and Tablets

Sony is moving into its Windows 8 strategy nicely.

1229954_10151672756976997_685812621_nThe Vaio Tap 11 is Sony’s response to the Surface Pro and Asus Transformer Books of the world. It’s an 11″ slate running a full version of Windows 8. Built into the rear of the Tap is a kickstand like the Surface, which allows the tablet to stand and interact with a wireless keyboard cover accessory. Folded up together, the keyboard and Tap 11 are about as thick as the Surface pro alone, and Sony might just be telling us the truth when they boast this is the world’s thinnest PC.

Standard Ultrabook options are built in behind the 1080p display, and you have your choice of Core i3, i5, and i7 paired with up to 512GB of solid state storage. USB 3 and Micro HDMI are on board for connectivity, and the screen has a wacom tablet built in for pen touch computing. Front and rear facing cameras help with your video needs, and an IR blaster is built in to use the Tap as a universal remote for your TV and cable box. No pricing or availability yet.

sony-vaio-flip-575x368The Sony Vaio Flip is an interesting twist on the convertible laptop (see what I did there). A hinge in the middle of the screen allows the display to flip outwards from the keyboard in a kiosk-like setup, or to fold flat on top of the keyboard to use the computer as a slate. And that display is a very high resolution 2880×1620, while the guts of this mobile work horse are also capable of driving a 4K display.

Screen sizes will come in 13, 14, and 15 inch flavors with your standard CPU and storage options. 14 and 15″ models will also have the option for discrete graphics, here an NVIDIA GT735M, a welcome option for graphics professionals really wanting to get the most out of that UltraHd screen.

1185589_10151672757711997_764467108_nLastly, the Tap 21 is pretty much what it sounds like, a 21.5″ version of the Tap 11. Obviously more of a desktop replacement, it does only weigh eight pounds, which could make it an interesting semi-mobile solution for things like presentations where we would normally carry a computer and a monitor or projector. Improvements to the Tap 21 include a new hinge which allows the system to reach just about any angle from near perfectly flat to completely upright.

Well done Sony. I think I might need to take a nap now…

Video Review: DreSuit’s Bamboo Bed Stand for iPad

dresuit bed stand ipad inexpensive bamboo review somegadgetguyAdmit it.

You use your tablet so much it’s starting to give you back and arm pain. You’ve tried propping it up on pillows or on cradles. It’s embarrassing. I get it. It’s ok. This happens to the best of us. No judgement here.

Well DreSuit might have just the trick to help you use your iPad in creative positions. Best of all, it’s quite inexpensive!

DreSuit Bed Stand for iPad on Amazon: http://goo.gl/t6jQRs

IFA 2013: Sony 4K TV’s and Video Unlimited 4K movie streaming service

What’s the point of having a TV with four times the resolution of HDTV if you don’t have 4K content to watch? Sony gets it. They’re unleashing 4K films and TV episodes on Video Unlimited.

sony the video unlimited 4K movie download ultra hd somegadgetguyThanks to a new video codec, Sony thinks they can pack more movie into a smaller data footprint and claims the upper limit download should be around 60GB. That’s still a terrifically large file however as most of the country struggles to adopt faster broadband. To stream a 4K film, you’d probably need a sustained 15+Mbps connection, which my “50 megs innernet” can sometimes struggle to provide. Damn you lucky people who live in a Google Fiber zone.

Individual TV episodes should run $3.99, movie rentals around $7.99, and $29.99 to buy the films outright. You’ll need to put a Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player under your TV. This large puck will house 2TB worth of content, which at 60GB per film might not be as many films as we’re used to storing. The FMP-X1 is going to sell for a hefty $700, making it a somewhat pricey home media server. I’m really hoping, for the sake of Sony’s ecosystem, that the PS4 will be able to engage with this content. I don’t want any more boxes under my TV than I need.

That said, I think 4K looks gorgeous, and hopefully we see some good transfers of our fave films. I’ll be much more inclined to give 4K a try than I was during the fight between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

sony x850a ultra hd tv somegadgetguy

Of course what fun is talking about 4K content without a 4K TV to watch it on?

Sony took the wraps off of theirX850A series 65″& 55″ XBR Ultra HD TVs. Not only featuring an insane screen resolution, this WiFi enabled set will also come with one year of Netflix and Hulu Plus out of the box. Not a bad little perk for a premium TV. Plus with all those pixels, gamers may appreciate local multi-player without having to go split screen.

The 55″ XBR is expected to ship this October, and you can pre-order now for $3499.99, which really isn’t too bad in terms of high end TV’s.


(Video) Synthetic Benchmarks: Motorola Moto X

Much has been made of Motorola putting a slightly older dual core into their new phone. In a world of premier quad core handsets, Moto X has an up hill climb communicating its message of software optimization. I spent a little time playing with X, and ran it through some synthetic benchmarks just to see how it compares to other phones on the market.