Hands on with the Sony Xperia Touch

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The Xperia Touch is a very simple idea: a portable, Android-based projector with a display that can be used for inputs.

We’ve seen the various bits of tech that make up the Touch in the past, but neat little package with Sony’s name behind it is a different story, so how does it work in the real world?

We got our hands on a display unit at the Sony Mobile World Congress event today in Joburg, and we were impressed by what we saw.

In a dark room we used the Touch at the projected 23″, starting off with a piano app, which turned out to be a great test of the various systems.

Multiple inputs are handled well, even from more than one person. Standing head-on to the sensor works best, but using it from either sides works fine too. We were able to get a little medley going off with multiple people using different keys.

The quality of the projection is solid, and you’ll only notice some pixelation if you’re looking at it way too close. At a quoted 100 lumens it was working perfectly even with the lights turned on, but we did not get to see how it would fair outside. If you’re indoors, however, you’re good to go.

An impressive part of this system is the sound, both the quality and loudness of the speakers and the silence of operation. Again, you’re only going to hear it working if you press your ear right up against the perforated metal body.

From here we moved onto a Pong clone to see how the touch would fair with multiple inputs in something a bit faster than a piano, and it again worked flawlessly. Fruit Ninja was the last app available for us to try, and this is where we found one of the few problems.

If you’re intending to use apps that require a lot of swiping, your choice of table is going to make a difference. It was much more difficult to swipe around on the painted wood compared to a glass or plastic phone screen.

Back to positive points, however, and the Touch has a very nice look to it. The inputs are hidden under the unit and routed away by the stand, so it’s nice and neat when running off of power.

The few buttons on the top mirror those of Android, and you’re going to be tempted to shift it around due to its small size. There’s sensors on board to shut off the projection when this happens, and it will return after a few seconds. Handy when you need to re-position, which you can also do onto a wall, if the Touch is placed at a 90 degree angle to it.

The Xperia Touch delivers on everything its promises to with none of the jank we initially expected.

While we don’t have a local RRP yet, the US price is a crazy $1 700. At the time of writing the direct conversion is R19 657, not even counting any local markups or the new taxes.

This prices out a large amount of people, including parents looking to buy this for kids, where we can see it being really popular. It also takes away from the opportunity for makers to get a hold of it and do something innovative with the tech, which is a real shame as it’s so impressive.

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.