There comes a time in your life when you wonder how a certain thing can be put to use in such a way that it gives more utility than it’s meant for. One of such moments arise when you are standing in front of your team or investors, pitching your idea or presenting in a meeting and wished you had a white board on the projected display, where you can doodle using a marker, to elaborate your point or make others understand better. Especially in classroom where teacher feels the need to teach their students better, then have them.
Sony showcased its innovative and one of the most remarkable creations last year in which the company put forward an idea of an Xperia projector at the Mobile World Congress (MWC). Although they didn’t share any name, pricing or launching date details related to the product, but it sure did gain a lot of attention.
Now, after a whole year, Sony finally decided to release the name and specs of its extraordinary product; Sony Xperia Touch which is partly a smart speaker, a projector as well as acts like a virtual tablet.
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Sony Xperia Touch is a portable, easily manageable short-throw laser projector that comes with an astonishing capability of turning any flat surface into a touchable screen. The Sony Company has publicized its concept of this gadget at various Tech conferences, but is revealing the real product at Barcelona, and is said be available in spring at a price of $1,588 (€1,499), beginning its market sale initially in Europe and Japan and then later on in the US.
The device has an impressive metallic body of dimensions 134mm × 143mm × 69 mm. it has an LCoS Laser Projector instead of a screen, which comes with an auto focus. Along with that, it supports autorotation and keystoning; i.e. you can position it in whichever way you want and the screen will configure itself to the surface automatically. Putting into combination a 60fps camera and an IR array, Sony Xperia Touch gives you the ability to control it with ‘touch’.
The touch screen that is projected through this device on the flat surface is a 23” display with 10 point multi-touch control via IR array. Then, once it is set, you may ‘draw’ on the surface just with your finger and it will display your doodling. The Multi-touch phenomenon works insanely great as you can increase the productivity and get to use the display to carry out work that a typical 10” tablet display may not produce.
The Xperia Touch can also be used to project on a wall, just like the usual projector, to showcase your presentation, or teach your students. According to Sony, in this mode, the device will calibrate itself automatically, presenting an 80” projected display. The resolution of this display is claimed to be 1366×768 with 100 lumen brightness. This combo, however, is not a great one as it may not show you a very clear bright image, as it may also seem washed out under external lights.
How does the ‘Touch’ work?
If you stand at a distance from the projector and hold your finger in an upward direction, the device will present you a circular cursor on the display screen, which would function as mouse. You would be able to easily move the cursor by moving your finger and in order to click on something; you would have to do a pinch gesture. According to the company though, the controlling functionality with gestures would not be ready at the launching event.
There had been few reviews from people who got to experience the touch mechanism of Sony Xperia Touch and said that the finger tracking works fine but it was fussy and faced difficulty in getting the clicking functionality of the cursor to work. Also, probably the display is made to function in the landscape orientation whereas the gesture controls work when the camera is facing towards you, requiring you to set it in upright. But, since the company has not yet finalized how the gesture system would work, it cannot be said for sure as to how the range will affect the gesture touch and display.
The touch system does not come with any sort of sensory feedback i.e. it does not give you any vibratory feedback or lightening-up reaction when you are playing games, or in order to show that the device has registered your touch. This counts as a downside in the performance since you keep wondering without any certainty whether the thing you clicked actually got clicked/pressed or not.
One of the incredible features that Sony Xperia Touch comes with is the proximity sensor that allows the device to turn ON if someone passes by the projector and senses your presence, along with NFC and Bluetooth functionality. Other sensors include two Accelerometers, an ambient light, a Barometer, an e-Compass, a GPS tracker. It also has a Gyro sensor, Humidity detector, a Mic as well as a Temperature sensor.
Embedded inside the projector is a 13 megapixels camera that supports video calls, along with well suited 2-way Stereo speakers, which are not so good, but you may connect additional better sounding speakers via Bluetooth. It also comes with working ports; a USB-C Port and an HDMI Type-D Port that allows connectivity.
The projector is partly a mid-range Android device that runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with which you can set up calendar events, view real-time weather updates and have a ‘memo board’ on which you can doodle. It also allows you to browse web, download applications or games from Google Play Store or use it for Skype calls or selfies. Xperia Touch can also be used with PS4’s Remote Play that allows you to play the game connected over the internet, if you do not have a TV console available.
Powered by 1.6GHz Snapdragon 650 SoC, Xperia Touch has a RAM of 3GB and an internal storage of 32GB. Since the product is marketed as portable, it is obvious that it much has a battery, so to serve the purpose; Sony Xperia Touch comes with a battery with one hour battery life, if used in continuous video playback mode. Therefore, it is necessary that a power cord is kept along with the device to use it for longer period of time.
Another exciting feature that the Xperia Touch comes with is the voice recognition feature that allows the device to catch your voice and work with assistance from Google Assistant commands. It also makes use of certain hand gestures to wake up screen if the screen goes into sleep mode.
Available at a price of €1,499, we get to question if Sony Xperia Touch is worth its price. Taking into consideration its features, we think that other great options that can perform similar tasks also exist; like Moto Z with projector Mod or Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 2 Pro but tit sure does come with a unique Touch feature, which is fun to play with. Also, since provides Touch functionality, Sony Xperia Touch must be able to work at a distance too, but what if the projection from the projector is blocked and IR array does not work? But, if it is a success, this device, with gesture control would probably work like an Xbox Kinect or Playstation Eyetoy that allows the front camera to track the movements of your hands and translates your gestures to control the display on the flat surface. All in all, although the setup takes a few minutes, and requires pairing up with a PC via internet or Bluetooth, it is fast and precise and is great for an interactive presentation sessions.
Sony Xperia Touch usability:
- Browse internet
- Connect with external speaker via Bluetooth
- For presentations
- Play Android games as multiplayers
- Play PlayStation 4 games.
- Projection of a movie on a wall
- Search food recipes
- Stream videos and music
- Use Google voice control
- Video chat on Skype