Sony Xperia Touch beams out Android you can tap (hands-on)

Trust me -- it's really, really cool.

Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt Editorial Director / CNET Franchises, How-To, Performance Optimization
Jessica Dolcourt leads the CNET Franchises, How-To and Performance Optimization teams. Her career with CNET began in 2006, and spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; mobile software, including the very first Android and iPhone apps and operating systems; and mobile hardware, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
2 min read
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You won't have to unlock your phone ten times to follow online recipes as you cook.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The next time you want to share a hilarious video around the dinner table, you could all lean in and crane your necks to see the tiny phone screen, or instead, you could beam Sony's Xperia Touch -- officially changed from the Xperia Projector -- directly onto the table.

That's because the projector, which is pretty close to its official launch, is basically an Android phone, minus the part where you make cellular calls. The neat thing here is that you aren't just viewing things on a counter or wall. You can interact with them, too. An infrared sensor makes the projected image a virtual screen that you can tap and type on.

The projection is touch-capable at 23 inches, and view-only at larger dimensions up to 80 inches.

You can use the Xperia Touch to:

  • Browse the internet
  • Stream music and videos
  • Beam a movie onto the wall (I'm envisioning using it in a kid's room instead of a TV.)
  • Video chat (it's got camera on it for that)
  • Play games with the PlayStation 4 controller
  • Play multiplayer Android games
  • Trigger Google voice search ("OK, Google")
  • Connect to a Bluetooth speaker (for enhanced audio quality)
  • Make a shared family wall calendar
  • Research and follow recipes
  • Plan trips with others
  • Carry around for work presentations

It took me seeing the Xperia Touch in Sony's demo space last January to really understand why you might want to have one. And a major part of that is the sharing-is-caring nature of a screen you can easily and conveniently turn off and on, move around and beam anywhere that's flat. You aren't closing people off by staring into your own small screen, so it makes the experience more social.

See how Sony Xperia Touch turns any table, counter or wall into an Android 'phone'

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But I also liked the format because it gives tired thumbs a break from using a mobile phone. It's more natural to tap and type with more of your fingers.

It isn't all rainbows and moonbeams, though. For most people, it'll be an extra gadget that doesn't fill an essential need. It works better in the dark, and won't ever be as crisp as a TV, laptop or phone display. And if you move it, it takes a few seconds to recalibrate the image.

Sony doesn't have exact pricing or availability information yet, but keep an eye out for the official launch to come as early as next month's Mobile World Congress phone show, where the Projector prototype made its debut last year.

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