The Sony Dash Is Not Your Father’s Alarm Clock (But You Can Win One For Him Right Here)

Just in time for Fathers Day…

My friends at Sony recently sent me a Dash Personal Internet Viewer. Don’t be fooled by the name. Some call it an alarm clock on steroids, but I think it’s defining a new category of “casual, passive Internet media consumption devices.” Following is my review of the Dash, and below that are details on a special Fathers Day Dash Giveaway.

My Review Of The Sony Dash

The Dash is a seven-inch touch-screen Internet device that sits neatly on your kitchen counter, your bedside table, office desk or any other surface in your home where you pass casual time (that would include the bathroom, too). It connects to the Internet via WiFi, and plugs into an outlet for power. It runs over 1,000 Internet applications from software partner Chumby.

We set up our Dash in our kitchen, the busiest room in our home. In the past month, the Dash has earned its place as one of our family’s central appliances. I highly recommend the Dash and here’s why:

  • The Dash is prompting a new genre of passive Internet media consumption. While most cutting-edge Internet devices deliver on their sophisticated interactivity, the Dash does a great job of simply playing my favorite casual Internet applications for passive enjoyment.  I’m talking about Netflix instant streaming, YouTube, Pandora, Flickr personal photostream and weather apps. These are great apps to have going on in the background, and the Dash has introduced them to my kitchen for the first time.
  • The Dash is simple and rugged. There are only a few buttons — a volume toggle and a “return home” button. All other functions are performed with the touchscreen. There’s only one wire (an AC power adapter) and a few hidden inputs and outputs for audio and USB. The device is built well — meaning that it’s standing up well to daily kitchen abuse from two toddlers, a nanny, a mom, me and random guests.
  • The price is right. At $199 (at the time of this writing), the Dash is priced right for all it offers. While it could stand to go even lower, the Dash is priced at a point that allows it to become a ubiquitous household appliance. Most people would never purchase multiple, dedicated iPads or computers for various rooms of their home, but it is feasible to purchase multiple Dashes. The price, coupled with the ruggedness, makes the Dash even more attractive for outfitting multiple rooms of your home. You won’t worry that people will break it because it probably won’t break, and it’s not a huge loss of it does. It’s practical, not a piece of jewelry to be paranoid about.

As with all devices you admire and want to grow with, there are some aspects of the Dash we’d like to see improve.  The signup and registration via the Chumby software platform was not the most intuitive. Fortunately, there were highly competent customer support people to help me through a few challenges. Also, the interface is good, but we’d like to see it eventually rival the user experience set by leading mobile touch-screen interfaces.

But let me be clear: Despite any shortcomings in its early history, the Sony Dash is an awesome device and I highly recommend it as a key Internet appliance for any room in your home. It will dramatically improve your enjoyment of some of the Internet’s best apps.

Win A Sony Dash For Your Father!

Between now and Fathers Day, Sony is giving away a Dash every day to the person with the most compelling Tweet explaining why dad deserves a Dash. The judges for this contest include my cohorts in the Cast of Dads podcast, who also were members of Sony’s seminal daddy-blogger project, the DigiDads. They include: Brad Powell, C.C. Chapman, Jeff Sass and Michael Sheehan and me.

How to enter? Use your Twitter account to send a Tweet to @sonyelectronics telling them why your Dad deserves a dash. Include #sonydash. Each day one winner will be chosen and announced on Twitter the following morning by 9:30 AM pacific standard time. I’ll be the judge on Friday. Visit Sony’s blog for full details.


I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. Read more.

(Photo credit: Shekhar_Sahu)

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

Join the Conversation


  1. Are we seeing the decline of laptops? Soon, the Internet will be available on most every type of device, making laptops useful for document processing, photo editing, etc. These new portable devices make Web browsing more convenient and on the go. You hit the nail on the head with your point about buying multiple Dash devices, while most consumers will probably not buy extra iPads, etc. This was a great invention by Sony, and I look forward to checking it out.

  2. I think there's a lot of applications where you don't need a laptop — particularly ones that are passive and consumptive. However, I don't think that laptops are going away. If typing and sophisticated inputs are important to your interaction or production, you need a keyboard. Frankly, I don't think iPads are great even for responding to short-answer emails. However, iPads are great for running and viewing the New York Times app, IMHO. Oh, I recommend the dash, especially if you were every considering a standard photo viewer.

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