Sony Vaio P : Ultra Portable Netbook

It’s not a Netbook — and don’t you forget it. Sony calls their nifty little device a Pocket Style PC. It’s an ultra-thin, 594 grams fully functional PC. It was one of the hottest item numbers in Vegas and we got our hand on one when we were invited for its India Launch. The India product head for Vaio pulled a familiar stunt by pulling out the device from his jacket pocket. But believe us this is no stunt — it can comfortably slip into a coat pocket. The device is as small as a PC can get without compromising on usability. It’s got an 8-inch ultra-wide screen with a stunning 1600 x 768 display, and 2 gigs RAM which is more than enough to allow the preinstalled Vista OS to not choke. Initially because of its small size we were skeptical about whether one can really use the keyboard comfortably. But Sony has engaged in some good reengineering there; they’ve got rid of the touch pad and put in a ThinkPad style ‘dot’ to operate the cursor. The additional space created is engulfed by the keyboard, making it 92 per cent of a full size notebook keyboard. Numbers aside, it’s very easy to use with both hands (unless of course you’ve got sumo fingers) and the tactile feedback is good.

Why is the Netbook tag blasphemy? Sony says this is because theirs is a fully functional PC with no compromises like other Netbooks. We say it’s because of the price. The two variants to be available in India will be priced around Rs. 49,990 and Rs. 64,990. The difference in both models is in the processor and the Version of Vista. The higher variant (P15) is based on the Atom Z530 1.6 GHz processor, while the lower P13 has a Z520 1.33 GHz processor.

The P has a lot of little features added to make it even more easy to use than it already is. If boot time is a concern it launched into a Linux based Cross Media Bar within 20 seconds, which lets you access mostly everything you want including internet access, email, music, and photos. Then there is the Window arrangement utility button which quickly arranges all open windows side by side. Plus the wide screen actually lets you comfortably work on both windows. So no more alttabbing. Sony has also thrown in noise cancelling in-earphones and apparently the noise cancelling circuitry is in the Netbook... err... notebook itself. With a supposed battery life of 3 hours it’s something that a lot of people ought to be looking forward.

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