Sony at IFA 2013
The long awaited Sony flagship, the Sony Xperia Z1 (formerly the Honami and Xperia i1) was announced and shown off at IFA.
The much hyped "best of Sony" definitely hit high marks with this new Xperia.
It's an impressive phone that packs so much technology inside you can't help but enjoy all the treats on offer. In our hour-long session with the phone, Gareth Beavis found it to be "another step forward from the brand that's going from strength to strength in the smartphone market," concluding that "the Z1 is a decent phone that will rival the Galaxy S4 on the shop shelves - so if you can get over the bulk, it's one of the most exciting smartphones to check out this year."
The Sony Xperia Z1 release date is now set for some time in September 2013, with pricing to be confirmed in the near future. Hit the link below for our in-depth hands on.
Aside from the water and dust proof Xperia Z1, Sony also announced the arrival of three new Vaio laptops.
First off is the crisp and clean looking Vaio Tap 11. Packed with Windows 8 and apparently meant to compete with the Microsoft Surface Pro, this machine has a Full HD display, stylus and the Pro-esque kickstand.
This 11.6-inch slimline tablet with keyboard is slated for an October 2013 release.
The second of the trio is a hybrid device, called the Vaio Fit. Coming in three different sizes, the Vaio Fit is actually a trio itself boasting 13.3-inch, 14-inch and 15.5 inch screens respectively.
The Vaio Fit also comes out in autumn 2013.
Marc Chacksfield spent some time with the Fit, which can be used in laptop mode, tablet mode or 'viewer' mode - where you can prop it up to watch movies or show a presentation at work.
As a laptop, "the Sony Vaio Fit is one of the nicest Ultrabooks we have ever seen," writes Marc, noting that it's less impressive in tablet mode as it's a little chunky. That said, this is a stylish device and one that we're definitely looking forward to getting our hands on for a full review.
Additionally, Sony is upgrading its Vaio Tap 20 to the Vaio Tap 21 by making it bigger and providing an aluminum finish. It might not be a complete replacement but the Tap 21 will feature a 21.5-inch Full HD display with better resolution and the latest Haswell processors.
Sony also unveiled a couple of intriguing lens-style cameras, which hook up to your phone instead of having a standard LCD screen. The QX10 and QX100 are shaped like lenses, but contain all the things you'd normally find in a compact camera, including sensor, processor, memory card slot and optical zoom.
As TechRadar's Amy Davies notes: "For some time, camera manufacturers have struggled to keep up with camera phones in terms of instant connectivity and ease of use. This is the first time we've seen something designed to work with your phone, rather than beat it."
Amy got hands-on time with both cameras and you can read her thoughts below.
Also being shown off by Sony this year is an updated version of its personal viewer that what we'd already seen at previous IFAs. The Sony HMZ-T3W now has wirelessHD support, an improved display and better adjustment straps.
Hugh Langley slipped stuck the 3D viewer to his face to check it out and wrote that while it's "very cool in theory" it takes a bit of fiddling with the straps to get the device positioned for the best viewing experience.
The experience left us a little underwhelmed although a dedicated PS4 version could be something to get excited about.
Toshiba at IFA 2013
Toshiba introduced a couple of new 13.3-inch ultra-portables with detachable keyboards this year. The Intel-powered Satellite W30t and AMD-powered W30Dt are decent ultraportables and very powerful tablets.
The W30t ships in various versions with new 4th generation Intel Core Haswell processors while the more interesting W30Dt features not only a low power variant of the AMD A4-APU but also AMD's powerful Radeon HD 8180 graphics.
The Japanese firm also brought its new range of 11.6-inch thin-and-light Satellite and Satellite Pro laptops and the 8" Encore tablet, which houses Intel's Bay Trail Atom processor, meaning it will run all of your old desktop Windows apps.