The pitch for the Sony Dash changes depending on whom you're talking to:
If a dad unwraps one this Father's Day, tell him it replaces his alarm clock and puts the Internet on his bedside table. If a grandparent opens it, you can hype how its touchscreen makes checking the weather and enjoying family updates on Facebook nice and easy. If a teenager receives it, point out how it plays Netflix movies, streams music, and juggles social networking. (Oh, and, shoppers, tell whomever balances the family checkbook that the Sony Dash costs a fraction of the iPad's price.)
With all of these features, the $200 Dash may find a spot on many people's shortlists this Father's Day. However, Sony Dash review scores deem this do-it-all alarm clock as a good gadget – not a great one. Here's a roundup of the pros and cons.
"Hardware-wise, the Dash is pretty straightforward: there's a seven-inch capacitive touchscreen and stereo speakers on the front, a snooze bar / menu button and volume buttons on the top, a USB port and headphone jack under a chunky flap on the left, and a power connection tucked into a recess on the bottom," writes Engadget. "Most of the wedge-shaped case is covered with a you-tell-us-if-it's-attractive grippy rubber material, which means you don't worry about dropping it when you pick it up."
"Above all else, you should know that the Dash takes 100 percent of its features from the Internet. If you don't have Wi-Fi in your home, the Dash is about as useful as a baked potato," jokes CNET, who rated the Dash as "very good." "There are thousands of apps to choose from, ranging from New York Times headlines and Twitter, to gossip news and a virtual bubble wrap popper. All of the apps are free. Like most app stores, however, the ratio of usefulness to silliness isn't in your favor."
"There are some basic limitations with the Dash that I just can't wrap my head around. The first is the lack of battery. A device like this would be so much more appealing if you could lounge on the sofa with it, or use it at the kitchen table," explains PC Mag, who thought it was "a fantastic alarm clock." "Alas, the Dash tries to do too much. Like the Chumby One, it offers a stream of Internet apps that are often underwhelming in their abilities. And the selection gets pretty thin after picking out the basics like Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube."
The final word:
"What you think of this device is largely going to depend on what you want from it. To me, this device's best tagline would have identified it as a 'wake-up station'...telling you everything you need or want to know as you wake up to begin your day," writes Amazon user "tsukata" in his 4 out of 5 review (the most common Sony Dash rating on the shopping site). "My rating of this device is based on what I expected out of it: in short, a glorified alarm clock."