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Sony launches gaming Xperias

The Sony Xperia 10 and 10 Plus devices get longer screens to prevent thumbs from interrupting gaming, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Sony has remained relatively quiet in the smartphone space for the past year, but it has returned with a bang, and a new range of taller-than-usual premium devices with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

Sony owns PlayStation, one of the world’s best gaming products, and has subtly aimed the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus devices at the gamer on the go. It doesn’t show the PlayStation logo on the body of the device, but it does come preloaded with the PlayStation companion app, giving a nod in the direction of the device’s gaming capabilities.

Both devices feature a matte-metal finish on the back and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front panels. Gorilla Glass 5 is the latest standard to ensure the screen is less prone to scratches and cracks.

The Xperia 10 comes with a 6” screen, while the 10 Plus comes with a massive 6.5” screen. Although a 6.5” screen seems large for a device with bezels, its 21:9 aspect ratio make it surprisingly comfortable to hold. Both devices use Full HD+ panel technology, and this results in good colour replication and wide viewing angles, as one would expect from a Sony screen.

The devices house a fingerprint sensor on the right edge, above it is the lock button and below is the volume rocker. The fingerprint sensor isn’t the fastest to wake the device, and the placement of all the buttons on one side takes some getting used to.

The bottom of the device hosts a reasonably loud speaker and a USB C port. At the top of the device,  a headphone jack allows high-quality audio output, with a tiny microphone hole for stereo sound recording.

The battery capacity of the devices are on the smaller side for Android smartphones, but Sony makes up for this with its industry-leading battery management software. The 10 houses a 2870mAh battery, while the 10 Plus has a 3000mAh battery. Both devices have non-removable batteries, which can provide a day and a half of office usage and around 5 hours of graphic-intensive gaming.

A device’s battery capacity is becoming less important. Thanks to the latest version of Android Pie and Sony’s Stamina battery management software, one can have a smooth app experience with an all-day battery, all without the need for a massive internal battery.

The gaming performance was tested with the early release of Elder Scrolls: Blades. It ran smoothly and rendered far-away objects in detail. The attention to detail could even be seen in nearby fires shining off the character’s battle axe. What’s important about Sony’s cinema widescreen is that the controls are moved off the typical playing area, keeping one’s thumbs off the viewing area. This made the mobile gaming experience feel more immersive and a little less clumsy. This experience extends to Fortnite for Android.

A few apps are preloaded, which may be useful to some and not to others. These include the PlayStation app, Netflix, and Facebook. Thankfully, they can be uninstalled and aren’t locked to the device. Other than these apps, there is almost no bloatware, and the Android experience is mostly unskinned, compared to other devices.

What’s missing is the Sony ScreenShare app, which allows mirroring of the PlayStation 4 on the device’s screen. Even worse, the app isn’t available for download for either of the devices. Adding insult to injury, the app works on Sony’s previous generation Xperia XZ2. Hopefully, Sony fixes this with an update.

The 10 packs 3GB of RAM and the 10 Plus 4GB of RAM, making it good for gaming. The 4G-LTE capabilities are perfect for most high-speed broadband situations, with around 40Mbps download and around 10Mbps upload in an area with good cell service. The SIM/SD tray supports the standard Nano SIM and the SD card slot is microSDXC compliant, meaning SD cards up to 512GB are supported.

The dual rear camera follows Sony’s legacy of great camera technology. The 10 features a 13MP + 5MP combination, while the 10 Plus offers a 12MP (with a wider angle lens) + 8MP combination. The latter also supports 2X optical zoom on its second lens.

The device features a Bokeh effect that works most of the time. It doesn’t perform as well as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro or iPhone Xs.
The proprietary features of this camera set it apart from the average device camera. Sony’s SteadyShot technology ensures that almost every shot is clear, even when the camera isn’t held steady. The Hybrid Autofocus mode makes use of both cameras to ensure pictures are taken with accurate lighting settings.

For video recording, both devices capture video in 4K and offer a 21:9 recording mode. SteadyShot also features here to stabilise handheld video recording. It also has a 120fps slow-motion video recording mode.

The 8MP front camera also supports back camera features like SteadyShot and bokeh effect selfies. Most notably, the front camera has HDR for enhanced colour accuracy. There is a beauty face mode that makes one look like an alien if one isn’t careful.

Overall, Xperia 10 is for the casual mobile gamer while the Xperia 10 Plus is for a more serious mobile gamer. The camera is very capable and its proprietary features, like SteadyShot, set it apart from other smartphone cameras.

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Gaming gets rad at Rand Show

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With the opening of the 125th Rand Show at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, today, gamers and cosplayers have a new destination to strut their stuff.

A new addition to the show, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion, is offering anything from gaming and cosplay to dance-offs and  science displays.

The organisers provided the following information (although several million exclamation marks and exaggerations have been removed!):

Fortnite Tournament

There was a time when Gaming was a considered a solitary pastime, confined to single player consoles; but that truly is a thing of the past with a fully immersive Fortnite Tournament open to all Fortnite afficionados and even those just starting out. Players can battle it out over both show weekends, including a final on each weekend. Family fan clubs can also get in on the action with live broadcasts of the game as it happens across screens – a full-on Fortnite family affair. Sponsored by PlayStation, gamers are truly going to be spoiled and should get in on the action as fast as they can because R 100 000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

Smart Technology Centre will deliver a super-fast FibreMAX 500Mbps fibre link, wholly dedicated to the gaming pavilion to ensure that absolutely nothing ruins the thrill of the National Fortnite Tournament. 

“As the exclusive connectivity provider, we have gone all out to ensure an amazing experience for gamers,” says Dillynn Els of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner. “When it comes to gaming and the best experience possible, it’s all about ensuring we provide a dedicated, uncapped, unshaped connection that makes every second count.”

Keen players can come along and enter on the day, but don’t delay because space is limited.

Fortnite Inspired Dance Off

Visitors can come along and be entertained by the finalists in the Fortnite inspired dance-off. There will be daily dances to enjoy for the entire duration of the show.

Come and play – Cosplay, to be exact.

The stage is set for a celebration of creativity and imagination that is going to be literally out of this world. Super hero heavy weights and masters of the mysterious will be letting their creative vision loose and take part in various Cosplay Tournaments and a visually stunning Cosplay Masquerade. Come see what all the fuss is about and get lost in this world costumes, colour and creative talent.

Games, Games and Science

For those wanting to get their gaming on, there will be three free play areas sponsored by Xbox with a host of games available to play. Xbox will be giving away 3 Xbox 1’s and an awesome Xbox 1X, but you truly have to be in it to win it, so make sure you don’t miss out.

The Kalahari Scientist will be onstage delighting visitors with his explosive displays that are guaranteed to up the ooh and aah factor with audiences young and old.

But wait, there’s more

Along with the larger-than-life gaming entertainment offering, visitors will also get to be the first gamers on SA soil to get a sneak peak of PlayStation’s brand new Mortal Kombat 11. Don’t miss your chance to experience the continuation of this epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. The iconic showcasing brutal battles like never before, along with a host of customisable fighters with enhanced graphics and animations.

Other activities at the Pavilion include VR Experiences, a full-on NAG Nerf Arena, Gaming vendors with awesome gaming content, retailers selling gaming related products and software, and tutorials and workshops on how to improve your gaming skills, Celebrity Fortnite match off for charity.

With huge sponsors such as PlayStation, Xbox, MMS, NAG, SABC 2 and Smart Technology, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion is geared up to become a hot zone of entertainment.

Win big

In case the entertainment offering just doesn’t get the heart beats racing fast enough, an all-expenses paid trip to TwitchCon USA, sponsored by PlayStation, in conjunction with 94.7 Highveld Stereo, is waiting for one lucky visitor to grab it. Every ticket purchased into the Entertainment Gaming Pavilion qualifies as an entry, so bring the whole family along for the ride.

Tickets to the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion can be purchased at the show for R 20 which gives the ticket holder access for  two hours.

The pavilion will be open from 14h00 to 19h00 weekdays and 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends from 19 to 28 April 2019.

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Riaad Moosa show debuts on Vodacom Video Play

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Riaad Moosa’s comedy special, Life Begins, will be the first major local title to be released on Vodacom’s video-on-demand service, Video Play.

As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most renowned funny men. His one-man show is available for download on the platform from today, 26 April 2019. Life Begins is rated PG-16L

Vodacom’s says its affordable video-on-demand service, Video Play, has had an incredible uptake since its launch in August 2018, with over 2-million subscribers. 

“But with a proliferation of affordable video-on-demand platforms available to the South African market, what is it that gives Video Play the competitive edge?” it asked in a release this week. “Recognising the consumer’s need for flexibility and freedom of choice, Vodacom has ingeniously developed an adaptable subscription model that puts the power in consumers’ hands. Forget being tied down to a monthly subscription. Video Play gives consumers the liberty of choosing a daily, weekend or even monthly package. 

“Blockbuster movies can even be viewed for a once off cost, without subscription. Furthermore, these bundles can be purchased according to niche categories and genres, from Bollywood movies to gospel music.”

Consumers are able to pay for movies and series by using their airtime or adding it to their bill, eliminating the need for a credit card. Subscribers are also able to purchase video-specific data at a fraction of the regular price to consume constant content without overspending. Daily subscriptions start from R5 a day.

Zunaid Mahomed, Group Digital and Fixed Services Officer, says: “Video Play has enabled the company to provide a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. With the addition of Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins, we’re excited to offer consumers even more quality content and a wider variety of entertainment on demand than ever before. We’re putting quality entertainment, into the hands of anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection.”

Riaad Moosa describes his show as “very philosophical and existential”.

“It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head.  It’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude. Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement.”

To access Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins comedy special, register for Video via the Video Play website (www.videoplay.co.za).

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