Imagine my surprise last week when it turned out I had been invited to check out some new Sony gadgets here in Toronto, including a demonstration of some PlayStation 4 Remote Play on the company’s new line of Xperia Z3 touchscreen devices. I’ve been trying for some time now to establish a public relations contact like the ones I have at Nintendo and Microsoft to help keep me abreast of the latest gaming goings-on with the PlayStation platform in Canada for my other site, but to no avail.
As it turns out, I’m not quite there yet, as the folks showing off this new hardware worked with a different division of the company. I might be a little closer now, though, but in the meantime, I had some fun checking out some cool new gear.
The main product on display (and hence my decision to run this on PMO instead of Mario’s Hat) was the Xperia Z3 series. In addition to the regular Xperia Z3 phone, there was also the Xperia Z3 Compact phone and the Xperia Z3 Compact tablet. The general functionality in each of these devices, which run on an Android operating system, was similar for the most part, with some slight differences in the details (size, weight, 20.7 megapixels on the front-facing cameras for the phones versus 8.1 megapixels on the tablet, etc.).
The biggest selling point (beyond featuring some nice internal tech, of course) is the way these are built to last. Sony is boasting a tempered glass display, dustproof exterior (provided the panels are shut), an aluminum frame, durable corners, and the ability to even go underwater with it for 30 minutes and up to 1.5 meters, allowing you to take pictures underwater with little fear.
The battery is apparently a beast, too; whereas my Nexus 7 tablet’s battery ticks down in a matter of hours with no apps running and my iPhone 5S is only moderately better, lasting the day if I don’t do too much with it. Meanwhile, these devices boast batteries that are said to last two days (I didn’t get to put that to the test, of course), depending on what functions you’re using. There are even some additional modes built in to prolong the battery life even further, depending on what you need to use it for.
Xperia Z3 screens look pretty good, too, thanks in part to a feature which allows for improved viewing angles from different directions. This is particularly handy for the main function which caught my eye…
PlayStation Vita owners are no doubt already familiar with the concept of Remote Play, where they can play certain games from their PlayStation 4 on the handheld device. Put simply, it’s very much like using the Off-TV Play on Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad to play games without taking up the television, but with a device that can operate on its own separately as well.
Sony is boasting the Xperia line as the only devices to incorporate this same feature, which is ideal if you’re not sold on the PlayStation Vita for its core functionality and would rather put your money towards something a little more versatile. Unfortunately, while the company does pledge decade-long support for their consoles, that apparently doesn’t include the PlayStation 3 in this instance.
The phone/tablet attaches to the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller with a small clip-on mechanism, placing the display atop the controls in a fashion similar to many handheld gaming systems. Fortunately, these devices are quite light (I was surprised at how light the tablet was compared with my own), and everything combined didn’t feel like it weighed much more than the Wii U GamePad, making it a comparable device in some regard.
Though I ask that you don’t take this as a review of the product– I’ve not spent nearly enough time with them to give a true appraisal– I will say that Sony definitely has my attention. While my iPhone is still a relatively recent acquisition and is doing fine so far, my tablet on the other hand has been struggling to keep up with some rather basic functions after only a little more than a year of use.
That said, whenever I can afford to upgrade (ah, the perils of living off of a freelancer’s pay), my short time looking at what Sony has to offer puts them at the top of the list of replacements. At the very least, I recommend giving them a look if you’re in the market for a new Android device.