HANDS ON: Sony's Christmas Offerings
Derek and I managed to have some hands on time at Sony’s Christmas Offerings showcase event in The Dean Hotel in Dublin city centre yesterday and we got to play with some of Sony’s newest and coolest tech. On display, there was everything from Sony’s flagship OLED 4K TV to their uber-fashionable e-ink fashion watch. Below is a breakdown of the various products we played with.
Upon entering the Penthouse of The Dean, we were greeted by the gargantuan 65″ Sony AF9 4K OLED. As you’d expect, the picture quality, and especially the black levels, were incredible. This new model uses Sony’s ‘Surface Audio+’ which basically turns the front of the display into one giant speaker with two downward facing subwoofer channels firing off from the rear of the device. We were played a small snippet of the Bladerunner: 2049 trailer and it was incredible to thing all of the sound and bass we were hearing was coming from the TV.
The new AF9 is also part of Sony’s ‘Master Series’ which, along with many other flagship features, also includes the ‘Netflix Calibrated’ mode which, in partnership with Netflix, ensure the TV is tuned to the correct settings intended by the creators of many of Netflix’s original shows. The demo we were shown showcased how, overall, the picture’s brightness is slightly reduced but it allows for more detail in the highlights to come through, just as the director/producer or whomever else was involved in the creation of the show intended.
The AF9 is also running the latest version of Android TV which is laid out in a more logical way and, with microphones now built directly into the TV, you can summon Google Assistant without having to talk into the top of the remote (like some wannabe popstar singing in your bedroom!)
The Sony AF9 is available now in Ireland with and RRP of €3,549
FES Watch U
Next we moved on to Sony’s new experimental smart watch, the FES Watch U. This intriguing new concept product allows you to ‘change up your look whenever you want’ as both the watch face and strap are made of e-paper which allows you to change the design of both on the fly.
It’s a very cool visual when seen up close and, with the ability to download hundreds of new designs via the dedicated app, you can have pretty much any black and white or grayscale design you want on your watch.
The Sony spokesperson was clear in stating that, even though the watch does have some pretty cool tech both inside and on its surface, they’re not claiming for this device to be a smartwatch as it simply tells the time and nothing else.
The FES Watch U is expected to arrive in Ireland in the coming weeks and will have a starting RRP of €599. We tried to capture a video of the watch in action but the below video does a much better job.
Sony SRS-XB01 Mini Bluetooth Speaker
The next product we got to look as were the very cute litte SRS-XB01 bluetooth speakers which, at only €35, packed an impressive punch in terms of audio oomph given their petite dimensions. They’re available in six colours and are water resistant which is handy. They also claim a battery life of 6 hours which, on paper, sounds very impressive but we’d need to test one of these little guys out to see if it holds up to this claim.
Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Finally, we got to play with Sony’s newest version of their award-winning wireless Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3’s. With both Derek and I owners of the 2nd generation models, we were eager to get our hands on these new cans and, unsurprisingly, we both wanted to upgrade our headphones immediately.
The new headphones are much more refined in terms of design, even from the 2nd gen models which weren’t badly designed to begin with. Sony has somehow managed to shave 20g off the weight of the headphones and when you pick the M3’s up for the first time, you can really tell. They’ve also added a Micro USB-Type C fast charging port which, for me, is probably one of the best upgrades on these new headphones.
They still have the impressive 30 hour battery life with upgraded internals to improve overall sound quality and noise-cancelling capabilities. Finally, the microphone for taking calls on the headphones has been moved down to the more logical position at the bottom of the left earcup so your calls should be a lot clearer on these too.
The new Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are avaiable now with and RRP of €389 but we’ve seen them for €339 in Dixon’s in Dublin Airport so maybe have a look there if you’re looking to take the plunge.