Catching up with the Sony Dash

Since I originally took a look at the Sony Dash ($200) home widget station about two months ago, it’s already seen a pretty significant update that improves touchscreen sensitivity and lag – a ding amongst the early reviews. Additionally, there’s a cool, new theme (above) which allows you to quickly scroll through and launch your preferred apps. Unfortunately, Sony’s multimedia Bravia apps are still somewhat isolated from the Chumby apps – unless it’s simply a case of user error on my part. Either way, I’d really like to access Slacker from this screen.

Also, since Dash launched a new competitor has arrived… Best Buy released a similar product under their Insignia brand. However, given some experiences with prior Insignia products (HD Radio, connected GPS), I wouldn’t necessarily count on regular updates and early product abandonment isn’t out of the question. Whereas Sony seems pretty committed — they’re running television commercials and have already clued me in to upcoming enhancements (Shoutcast, lifting regional/IP restrictions).

Lastly, I’ve had a few inquiries regarding the possibility of charging an iPhone via this next generation Internet-connected clock radio. And I’ve verified the answer is YES. There’s a USB jack behind a side cover that can be used with an iPhone sync cable for charging. It’s a little messy for my liking, but it gets the job done. So I’d suggest removing the Dash’s flap and getting a back cable if you plan to go down this path.

Click to enlarge:

12 thoughts on “Catching up with the Sony Dash”

  1. I love my Sony Dash. :-)

    We’re still trying to find the ideal use case for our house. I don’t really need it as a clock radio (the kids wake us up every morning) so it’s currently in the dining room/kitchen.

    It’s kinda fun having an internet-connected device that isn’t a full computer. It does what it does.

  2. I am thinking of buying one to be our clock radio. How is the clock / radio app? Can the screen dim at night?

  3. Mine’s a loaner and I’ve used it in two places – the kitchen/common area pass-thru and on the night stand. I kind of like it on the night stand, but know it’d get more Internet app use beyond the bedroom.

    CJ, there is a very nice night mode – the brightness can be adjusted. The screen is backlit, but it can get pretty dim. Had my doubts after trying similar with an iPhone, but I’ve been satisfied with that aspect.

  4. Nice to hear the updates are flowing in and Sony’s committed to it. Sony does great designs, even if the functionality is somewhat lacking at times.

    I’ve been on the fence about buying one because of some of its early short comings, particularly the internet radio part of it. How easy is it to add your own radio streams?

  5. @gonzo90017 The Bravia interfaces for Pandora, Netflix, and Slacker are pretty nice.

    @mari It doesn’ really store any data. All data is pulled from either the Bravia or Chumby widgets. There are widgets, say, for Google calendar to show upcoming events. I’m not sure if there’s a way to add events. Have to dive into it more.

    Check out the widgets to see what’s out there. There’s a lot, though it’s not a perfect selection.

  6. I was relatively pleased with the Bravia Netflix UI, but the Slacker app needs help on the station selection screen. For example, on my screen of favorites there are no channel labels just album art representing the channel. Once a station is playing, it’s all good though.

    Dan, will try it out and report back.

  7. Dan, got it going no prob. You name the stream and then enter the URL, which is saved as a bookmark of sorts. I fat fingered 358 into 538 and since the keyboard has no arrow keys or ability to insert, I had to back up and type it all again. It’s not as efficient as say typing on an iPhone, but it’s fine for occasional use like this. Once I kicked off the polka, I jumped back into one of the main themes with time, Engadget app, etc while the music continued to play.

  8. ShoutCast was mentioned in this article, and now Shoutcast lists the Sony Dash as one of their partners on, but the dash itself doesn’t list Shoucast…
    Did Sony give an indication when they’d be adding ShoutCast?

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