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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
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>> Donald: Hey, I'm Donald Bell for CNET.com and today we're taking a first look at the Sony Dash; this is a table-top touch-screen device that connects to the Internet over WiFi and displays a customized mix of news, games, music and video. It's a bit of a misfit. I web device that doesn't have a web browser and a media stream with only a handful of options. At $199 it does enough cool stuff that tech fans should take notice. The Dash is shaped like a wedge with a 7 inch resistive touch-screen on the front, built-in stereo speakers and a menu button up top along with volume controls. There's a port on the bottom for the included power adapter and a little door on the side here that includes a headphone output and the USB port. At its most basic level the Dash can be set-up as a bed-side clock with multiple custom alarms, a detailed description of the local weather and the ability to dim the screen completely. There's no battery back-up but there's also no power switch which means if there's a temporary power outage the Dash will turn back on as soon as power is restored. That said, it's a bit of an over-kill as an alarm clock. Personally I found this much more useful at the kitchen table. After installing a dozen or so apps out of the hundreds that Sony licensed from the folks at Chumby [phonetic]. I can use the Dash to glance at headlines, [inaudible] tweets and Facebook updates and see new photos on Flicker. You can't engage with the services the same way you could with a home computer but the smaller footprint of Dash makes it a nice geeky distraction while you're eating breakfast. Also, the extra screen size compared to something like a Chumby makes it easier to glance info at a distance. Some other unique advantages of the Dash include the ability to stream video from Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Crackle, CBS, Video Podcasts and more. You also get streaming audio options from Slacker, Pandora and New York Times Podcasts. As a touch-screen Pandora radio tuner alone I think the Dash is a decent value at $199, although, I do wish you didn't have to run audio out from the side just to connect this to your home stereo because the built-in speakers really don't do the sound any justice. So that's the Sony Dash, an affordable adaptable Internet media streamer with a relatively base screen and plenty of potential. For CNET.com I'm Donald Bell.
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