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June 27th 2013 11:29 am

What does the name Sony mean to you?

At the turn of the 21st century Sony was a name that I always thought meant you were getting a quality top of the line product. After some of the debacles with the PlayStation 2 and some personal experiences with other Sony products, I started to feel like they were riding around on their good reputation.

Lately, however, I think the company is starting to make some solid, quality products.

What do you think?

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I really appreciate what Sony is doing, and I think that they're taking one great decision after another, with some exceptions.

While some tend to bash Sony for including last year's best SoC (Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro) in its 2013 flagship smartphone (Xperia Z) instead of waiting just a little bit to join the Snapdragon 600 frenzy, I highly commend them for calling "dibs" on this year's flagships' race-to-the-market, as they gained a lot more marketshare than they would have if they launched the Xperia Z at around the same time as HTC launched the One, or even worse - trying to go head-to-head with Samsung's beast right from the start. Though I definitely cannot understand why it took Sony so long to partner with only one major US carrier for its very popular Xperia Z.

I really like that Sony is trying to make a real family of devices with the Xperia Z series, that shares the same OmniBalance design language as well as water- and dust-resistance. Also, the circular aluminum power button has now become basically universal to the entire Xperia lineup of Android devices, and I really do admire consistency.

I love their aggressive marketing of the PlayStation 4. Taking advantage of Microsoft's controversial announcements has been nothing but brilliant so far, by letting Microsoft do all the job of ruining their own image, without doing anything to stand in their way. (Microsoft has since rescinded its statements and policies, but Sony has gathered so much attention that can end up as the deciding factor between the two consoles as to which one will succeed and sell better.)

They are not shying away from the competition whatsoever, repeating several times that their Vaio Pro line of ultraportable notebook computers is "Thinner and lighter than Air," obviously as a reference to Apple's wildly popular MacBook Air line.

And then there's the cameras. Sony has clearly established itself as one of the top photography giants, alongside veterans like Nikon and Canon. Their Alpha NEX mirrorless cameras are clearly the best in that department. Their Alpha DSLR line is also getting some high praise, but not quite as much as its other lines. The Cyber-shot DSC-RX cameras are the best in the business, but its the Cyber-shot DSC-HX line of high-end superzoom cameras that I'm not such a fan of, as they try to pack too many pixels into a very small sensor. (I might be a little picky in this category, as its the category of cameras I use most.)

To me, Sony means smart, for the most part, and very high-quality design and build in every category. I've turned into a big fan in the past few months.
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as close as a company could come to being the Japanese Apple.

The Apple part is that their products can work together and share software and certain features across categories. Also, the sleekness of their designs and being that most products are priced above the market, at least at release. The products work and work very well.

The Japanese part is that they make a lot of things, but not necessarily all good and practical devices. Being an American, some of the choices for products confuse me since they are very similar to something else they make or simply not something I could imagine being interested in. If there's a consistent criticism it's that there's so much packed into their products it's confusing to use or that you realize that certain functions are unnecessary.

Where Sony really differs from Apple is the willingness to cut their losses and decrease the price of products when sales are slow. It has kept me from purchasing a device at full price from them in the past knowing that the price will decrease soon, but not every company has to have the rigid sales policies of a company like Apple.

They are a market leader in a few categories like video games and televisions. They are gaining market share with photography and are a stable competitor with laptops and PCs.

I own a lot of Sony products and will continue to buy more as they continue to make innovative, great, affordable products.
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