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04 August 2017

Sony’s Xperia Touch turns (nearly) any surface into a touchscreen

Image: yvette tan/mashable

It’s a portable projector that plays sound, and outputs an image you can interact with.

Sony’s newly-launched Xperia Touch says it can convert any flat surface into a 23-inch wide touchscreen.

In practice, we found this worked pretty well, but with some caveats that we’ll get into.

The Touch detects movement using an infrared light and built-in camera, essentially projecting a tablet-like experience onto a surface. 

The device runs on Android 7.0, so you can expect it to run a ton of compatible apps in the Google Play store.

So feel free to load up a game of air hockey: 

Image: yvette tan/mashable

Do some flashy DJing:

Unleash your inner DJ with the Xperia Touch

Unleash your inner DJ with the Xperia Touch

Image: yvette tan/mashable

Play the piano:

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Or even ask Google for food recommendations:

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Overall, the Xperia Touch was easy to use, but there were times that it wasn’t as responsive as it could be.

While writing a math problem for example, the Touch misread a number:

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The Touch also appears to require a purely flat surface. When we tried it on a slightly textured floor, the projected touchscreen refused to respond to any of our gestures.

You can also take the device and position it vertically to project a screen onto a wall — though the Touch does take a couple of seconds to re-calibrate itself every time you move it round.

The default projection size is 23 inches, but can go up to a maximum size of 80 inches — perfect for a home movie night — though the resolution does get noticeably less sharp at the largest size. 

Image: YVETTE TAN/MASHABLE

Its sound quality is pretty impressive, as you would expect from a device that prides itself on its two-way stereo speaker.

Have a listen:

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It also has USB-C and HDMI Type-D input, so you can also plug your laptop or phone in, and use it as you would a normal projector that mirrors your device’s screen.

Image: YVETTE TAN/MASHABLE

Image: YVETTE TAN/MASHABLE

The 5.3″ by 5.6″ device is also pretty small and portable, and I can see it getting carried around the house by kids wanting to play a game, or placed on a coffee table to watch a film in the living room.

The battery life however, does leave quite a bit to be desired.

According to Sony, it can last some “1.5 hours on intensive usage,” which means if you’re watching a full-length movie, you might have to plug it in halfway through. 

Image: YVETTE TAN/MASHABLE

Image: YVETTE TAN/MASHABLE

The company also says there has been interest in using the Touch commercially, such as in mall spaces that might want to replace their screen-based directories with a touch projection on a wall, revealed Vincent Yip, Director and Market Head of Sony Singapore.

All that said, the Touch is a pretty sweet device, and might come in handy if you’d like to take your screen into a group setting.

But is it worth the hefty $1,694 (S$2,298) price tag? I think I might just stick to my laptop and iPhone for now.  

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