There was a time when Sony was the ultimate name in consumer electronics. It had a superb range of high-end products in a number of sectors that were just better designed, better built and crammed with more useful and innovative features than its rivals.
Then about a decade or so ago things started to go a little awry. Hamstrung by its ties to content companies it let some of its leading brands ie the Walkman slide to be superseded by the brilliant products coming out of Cupertino.
The level of innovation declined and even in gaming it found itself running a poor third behind Microsoft and Nintendo.
More recently there has been a subtle change at the company. Maybe it has just focused more on product design (maybe taking a cue or two from Apple) or maybe it has decided to really give consumers what they want (and not agonise about the impact on its music, games and video sles) but its products have once again become, whisper it, rather cool.
The ditching of the unwieldy Sony Ericsson combination has certainly helped and the arrival of 4K TVs and tablets has opened up new opportunities for the company, but it just feels like Sony has rediscovered its mojo.
Here then are five examples of how Sony has returned to form.
1 The new PS4 trumps the X Box One
The two new games consoles are fairly similar in terms of looks, hardware and range of games. But the Sony has a few trump cards. Firstly it has removed the restrictions regarding the playing of used games – which has been massively well received by gamers. Also you don’t need an online connection to play games and the console is region-free. The clincher though might just be the price, with the PS4 coming in at £349, which could be as much as £80 cheaper than its Microsoft rival.
2 Sony has the only Android tablet to seriously rival the iPad
In fact a few writers have even suggested that the Sony Xperia Z tablet has the edge over its 10inch Apple competitor. It is an absolute stunner. Incredibly thin and light, yet a breeze to use and has a superb screen and excellent sound quality. It is waterproof so you can watch movies in the bath too. If you have £400 to spend on 10inch tablet you need to look at this beauty first.
3 Sony is leading the way in 4K TVs
Super high resolution 4K TVs are set to become big news later in 2013 and Sony is already setting the standard. On its books it has the flagship monster screen 84-inch 84X9005 and coming soon are the Sony KD-55X9000A and the Sony KD-65X9000A.55 and 65inch screen sets respectively which have prices tags starting at £4,000. This will start to begin the coast of 4K Tvs down and Sony is very well placed to dominate the 4k market.
4 It is rumoured to have an amazing smartphone on its way
As if the excellent Xperia Z with its groundbreaking waterproof screen wasn’t enough, there’s already quite a buzz about the next big smartphone from the company. The rumours are that the Honami will pack Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip clocked at a staggering 2.3GHz – way faster that any of its rivals. It will also be powered by a huge 3,000mAh battery pack that will deliver running times that are well clear of rival smartphones. The screen is rumoured to be stunning too in that it is a 5-inch Full HD 1080p display running ‘Triluminos’ technology. The phone will be made from glass, metal and carbon fibre, and be absolutely stunning to look at. And to top it all it will sport a 20-megapixel camera accompanied by a huge 1/1.6-inch Exmor RS sensor.
5 It is making great laptops again
For while now Sony laptops have been also rans. Which a shame because there was a time when if you wanted a Windows laptop the extra you paid for design and build quality for a Sony was a very sensible investment. The new Vaio Pro is definitely a return to form. It is light, made from carbon fibre and has an Intel Haswell heart. There’s a lovely screen, very good quality battery life and a decent keyboard – which not all Sony laptops have featured recently. It might be pricey at around £1000 but this might just be the best Windows 8 laptop on sale.