An evening at Sony Europe HQ checking out their 2015 Product Lineup. #SonyPreview

Earlier today I went to Sony Europe’s Headquarter in Weybridge, Surrey to experience Sony’s 2015 Product Lineup. This included TV, Digital Imaging and Sound.

 

 

 


Let’s start with TV.

Sony were keen to show off their new 4K Processor X1 technology. They did this by having a side by side comparison between a 2014 TV and a (not fully final) 2015 TV. While it’s hard to judge the difference in quality from the picture below, hopefully it gives you an idea of the technology in action.

In a Paris and London demo they had playing, you could really see the detail in the bricks, detail in the grass, detail in the water on the 2015 TV, way more evident than the 2014 one. They couldn’t tell us how the technology works, it’s all proprietary secret stuff.

After this we were taken to the lineup room to see more of the TV’s, new for 2015. This was kicked off by the ultra thin X90. It really is a sight to behold. The circular table on which the TV lay was spun around so as to provide a closer look at just how thin it is and with virtually no bezel, it truly allows you to immerse yourself in the content you’re watching. There was also a curved S85 model on show.

Android TV

Then came one of the most highly anticipated demos, Android TV. Now prior to the event, I hadn’t looked too much into Android TV, I heard about it but didn’t look at any screenshots or videos (wouldn’t even know if there were some out there). I went in expecting a clean, modern design as is common with Google nowadays and it didn’t disappoint. One limitation however before I go on, this was an early version of Android TV running on a Sony TV and as such, I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures or videos. Boo 🙁 But I am allowed to share my initial impressions so let’s get started. Also the Sony spokesperson had to use the Nexus Player to show off some of the more advanced capabilities like Voice Search and playing a game because the software on the TV itself was a very early work in progress.

The user interface is very clean and simplistic. It’s Android version 5.0 Lollipop and the Material Design goodness really lends itself well throughout the whole experience. There is a so called “Sony Shelf” which will show you tailored content depending on your interests. What’s also cool is Sony have been able to integrate TV settings into the Android TV settings meaning you can adjust picture quality, check inputs etc.

There are a specific number of apps which have been optimised for Android TV and one of the games that they showcased was RipTide GP by Vector Unit, a game I really like playing. This was also one of the games that supports the use of Gamepads, including third party controllers too. The game looked really clear on the TV and ran very well. The last thing they showed was Voice Search. From simple functions like “show me pictures of the grand canyon” to “How Old is Barack Obama” to “What’s the weather tomorrow in London in Celsius” Android TV didn’t break a sweat. Users of Google Voice Search from either iOS or Android will make themselves at home here.

Voice Search on Android TV (Image Credit: Phandroid)

Voice Search on Android TV (Image Credit: Phandroid)

I did ask if later on system commands would be added for example “change the channel”, “turn off TV” etc. and was told this is in the works and should be added in the final version of the Android TV Sony TV which is expected to be released around June-July.

Next up, imaging!

With imaging, Sony was keen to mention that the larger a sensor is, the better picture quality you can get as the larger sensor means it can capture more light. They showed a APS-c sensor against one found in the RX 100 M3 against one found in an Xperia phone to really nail the point home.

They had a park like area set up with a small pond full of (what I assume were) artificial ducks. This was to showcase the Phase 4D autofocus capabilities of their new camera compared to contrast autofocus from the predecessor. The key thing here is you have a lot more autofocus points with the Phase autofocus and thus it maintains a clear image even if it goes off centre.

I also got to play with the Sony AX P33 4K HandyCam and the 4K ActionCam.

Another product I was looking forward to trying out was the Sony Alpha 7 Mark 2 and this was mainly because it’s the world’s first full frame camera with 5 axis image stabilization. For those unfamiliar, that’s pitch, yaw, x, y and roll. When you remove the external lens and look at the sensor while shaking the camera, you can see the sensor moving as it’s trying to stabilize the image.

Finally, sound!

There was a demo showing off the Sony SRS X1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker. This speaker has the feature called “stereo pairing”, allowing you to pair up with another SRS X1 speaker to give stereo sound. The music playing sounded loud and clear with a decent bass response.

One of Sony’s flagship headphones as part of it’s Hi-Res range is the Sony MDR-1ABT and the unique feature these phones have is touch gesture control on one side. This saves you from unnecessary searches for buttons and keeps the interface simple. Just make sure you swipe on the correct side, because the non touch gesture side while having NFC will not pick up your swipes, no matter how hard you try. The speakers were comfortable and did a good job of noise isolation. I did find the controls a bit fiddly initially but I quickly got the hang of it and could see it being very convenient for a lot of people. The audio was also very clear even at high volumes.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, this was a really great event. I would like to thank IT Pro Portal for allowing me to cover the event on their behalf. I’d also like to thank Sony UK for their hospitality and putting on a great night. Finally I’d like to thank my friends Ayobami and Jack who came with me to the event and helped me to film some footage too. I wish they had some of the LifeSpace UX products to show, I was particularly looking forward to seeing the Symphonic Light Speaker but never mind. It was fun to see Android TV in action, even if an early prototype and it was great to hear Hi-Res in action as well as playing with some cool cameras. All in all, a great night.

What do you guys think of Sony’s 2015 Product Lineup? Has anything in particular caught your eye? Let me know in a comment below.


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Written by Purav, PDTechHD (My personal account is PDTalkinTech)

 

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I’m a 23 year old Maths Graduate, who has a great passion for technology and in my spare time I make videos on YouTube to show my passion. I'm also co-admin here at TeckComesFirst and I joined this site back in January 2012.
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  • Rbert Cper

    Looks like it was an interesting event, the Android TV sounds very nifty and will hopefully make Apple pull their finger out and bring out a newer version of the now dated Apple TV.

  • Excellent write up as always Purav. As Mr Cooper says the TV will be a great bit of kit especially if you’re prone to losing the remote. I reviewed some headphones with a touch interface myself for MPow and I have to say I also found that interface a little fiddly at first but you very quickly get used to it.

  • NaijaMan

    This was a great event. Really loved the demonstration of the Android TV, one of the products that really stood out for me. Also, the innovation of the televisions and headphones is awesome,

  • Jack Harnett

    Great article, Android TV looks great from the demonstration that we received. The cameras we saw looked really impressive, I highly suggest those who are interested in photography and filming to invest in one. All in all, the event was fantastic, me and ayo are very appreciative that Sony allowed us to attend this event.

  • Gareth Bayard

    Looks like you guys had a great night! Like the look of an Android TV actually – look forward to hearing more content about it 😛