Pros SSD, Tablet PC features, built-in WWAN
Cons Scroll wheel would be nice
Summary It seems you guys really didn't make the effort on this "review". Where's the testing for speed of the SSD and effects on standby/resume and boot times, or other functions? Sony even makes the same device with a regular HDD (the 380 model, for $500 less with the same processor and RAM) so you could have easily done a back to back comparison of otherwise identical machines, and as to battery life as well!
Also, the device does NOT include EV-DO as the review erroneously asserts, but rather Cingular GSM/EDGE service, and perhaps UMTS or HSDPA, but who knows, it seems you never tested this feature! Is it fast or slow, reliable or not, global or US-only bands? One of the PRIMARY purposes of this device is for mobile data connectivity, and the review seems to have missed this altogether. This device is not just another nondescript UMPC (and the UX series predates the MS UMPC moniker and concept, BTW), with much higher specs, features, and of course, cost than most UMPC-category devices, and deserved an actual test rather than a rant about the UMPC category. (Does it even come with the UMPC OS tweaks installed and/or on?)
You mention having to scroll a lot using the 1024x600 screen, but not only is this only 22% shorter than a standard XGA screen (and only in that dimension), most tablet PCs include screen rotation functions that would make reading long and narrow text passages (like a CNET review) a lot easier using portrait mode. Does the Sony do this? Did you try it?
I'm no big Sony fan, not having bought anything at all from them since the spyware revelations. That said, overall, it seems to me that this "review" was short of the depth and quality that CNET readers do and should expect, missing key points, and I hope you update it with a more thorough and thoughtful look.
Pros Compact, powerful, usable, complete
Cons Single WWLAN carrier
Summary Would you take your Mercedes SLK off-road to go bolder hopping, or expect it to carry an average family( mom, dad and 2.2 kids) on a family vacation, then why would you expect an ultra-portable PC to have the visual and tactile characteristics of a desktop PC? The most quoted line in reviews of the UX-390N is that it is a concept in search of a purpose.
For those of us who have a desire to carry many office features to the field without the burden of suitcases of equipment, this device meets those expectations. Spread sheets, documents, contacts, internet access, email, money management, trip and routing information can be carried with you in a package not much bigger than a typical organizer device. All of this using the same software that is on you desktop back at your office, so that when you return it is a simple matter to transfer all accumulated and updated information to your main storage, without the need for transcription.
Issues raised with respect to the readability of text on the screen are easily remedied outside of the zoom features of the UX-390N by utilizing Vista and internal application controls. I have found no problems reading Excel spreadsheets, or Money data on the screen. Given that the screen is over twice the size of typical cell phone screens, that are being used to watch TV and video programming, this appears to be a smoke screen rather than a practical matter. I will grant you that some of the operating system error/warning messages are in very small print, and difficult to read under some conditions.
In several reviews, the 32GB hard drive capacity has been raised as an issue. Fully loaded with Windows Vista Business, Microsoft Office Small Business, Microsoft Money, Microsoft Streets and Trips, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Norton Internet Security and all of the assorted programs that are installed out-of-the-box, about 26GB of disk space is consumed. This leaves 6GB for data and information transported to, and from, the field. You do the math.
Finally, with respect to the battery life of the device, remember that we are not talking about a cell phone here. This is a device that is capable of performing all of the same functions that your desktop PC does, in a package that is less that 1/20th the size. Comparisons should be against other portable PC devices. For most portable PCs, two to four hours of operation of batteries is their limit. Sony has provided an optional extended-life battery that is designed to double the standard battery performance.
In summary, no this is not a device on which you would write your dissertation, create complex spreadsheets, draw detailed CAD projects or even watch the Super Bowl, but if you are looking for a portable PC that can execute the same programs as your office machine, allows you to access and update data created in your office while you are on the road, fits in the palm of your hand and can communicate across a variety of connection media, then this is the machine for you.
"HW rocks, SVC sucks"on by scr32
Cons keyboard, speed, and wireless svc sucks
Summary Obviously very small unit so easy to carry around. Keyboard is small but real problem is it's flat, so you don't get the feedback. Entire process a bit slow, but bearable. Now for the real problem: included AT&T 30 day free trial is a joke, because 1. it takes more than 5 minute to actually connect to it every time, 2. even after you are connected, internet speed is too slow to do anything useful, 3. connection manager says it's still connected, but after using it for a while, internet does not work anymore, 4. if you cancel it will cost you $175 early cancellation fee (unless you keep this horrible service for 2 years), 5. even if you cancel it on 1st day of the billing cycle, you will be fully charged for that month. All in all, great small device that can accomplish the light PC work, yet completely unreasonable wireless service that ruins the whole package. I will never buy anything related to AT&T again. New buyer should see this as offline PC (or maybe wi-fi PC) but don't expect WLAN work at all.
Pros Compact size
Cons too many compromises.
Heres another thorough review I have time to offer the readers here at CNET. I offer my review without recourse from CNET advertisers, completely unbias and very insightful.
I have tried all the UX series. I am currently on the UX360 which uses the SSD memory. They are all the same except for memory configurations and slightly different CPU speeds. In America they come with ATT/Cingular CF EDGE cards.
Good battery life with extended battery (5 hours).
Built in camera, one in the front, one in the back.
Built in keyboard.
Built in Bluetooth, cellular wireless and WiFi
Intels video chip is just fast enough to play non demanding video games. Its no Nvidia and don't hold your breath for a GeForce in a handtop device. A handtop device just cannt handle the colling, power and space requirement for such high power chips. But it does a good job for most tasks.
The screen is pretty good in terms of color and contrast. The screen is shinny though, but there are screen covers to help with this.
Touch screen is great when using it on a desk. Just point and click, no need to drag the mouse.
Built in cameras.
Built in fingerprint reader.
Extremely bad execution of most of the above good concepts.
Keyboard is extremely difficult to use, my tiny Blackberry keyboard works better. Aftter 7 months of use I still cannt type more then one word with out making typos. Even during slow, careful typing, one cannt help making a typo every 10 characters or so.
Thying anything requires going back and editing all the errors.
Camera - The camera is not compatible with most video capture software, even Sony's own video editing software is not compatible with the built in cameras. Its a $100 software that cannt even deal with its own hardware. The problem seems to be with the hardwarre and driver.
Cellular wireless Internet - Instead of using the newer and about 10x faster UMTS standard, it uses the old EDGE technology. Its too slow for web browsing and too slow for emailing attachments. ATT/Cingular mobile Internet cannt handle a moving connection. Anything the user switches from one tower to another the connection is lost. Both EDGE and UMTS from ATT/Cingular must be connected from a stationary point. Even then the connection times out after a few mintes of inactivity and requires the user to reconnect.
The screen is only vertically 600 pixels. Anything less then 768 pixels tend to be incompatible with XP and Vista programs. Often program windows will be off the screen. Especially dialog screens that require a OK or Cancel.
30 Gigabyte SSD leaves only a few Gigabytes for the user to install their own programs. A large portion of the memory is used right out of the box for the OS CDs and other software backup. The user has almost no room to install their own programs. Forget about installing itunes and a library of CDs. Forget about installing videos.
The volume from the built in speakers is sooooo low its impossible to hear something like youtube without a headset.
VAIO events manager is buggy. It often crashes. This manages the user interface for activating or disabling the various wilress conneections such as bluetooth, wifi and wiwan. So expect a lot of reboots to get the wireless working.
The touch screen is of the old simple type. It can only handle a single point. Unlike the iphone which has the multipoint detection capability.
The fingerprint reader, as all finger print readers of this type is very fussy, and requires several attempts to recognize a finger.
Its still a buy recommendation, but only for those willing to deal with the above compromises.
There seems to be a terrible marriage between the software engineers and hardware engineers. This is common on all computers.
Biggest problem is the keyboard.
Its is immpossible to type more then 10 characters without producing a typo. Most common typo is that characters are missing. 2nd common is that adjecent letter is pressed.
For those who require a high speed cellular data connection, WAIT ! until a upgrade to umts is offered or until a umts card is built into the device. EDGE is usless. Its about the speed of a dialup and latency is much slower then even a dial up.
Besides even with umts one has to use the device from a stationary point, because ATT/Cingualr does not support handing off a data connection between towers.
However, assuming the user is stationary, and patiently reconnecting every few minutes, and using a USB dongle for UMTS, the speed is very adirable. Over 1 mbps download and about 500 kbps upload. I was able to view youtube without any problems, except for the constant disconnections. But for UMTS I had to have a huge USB dongle sticking out the side of this handtop. Its very awkward and diffcult to use with it on.
The built in EDGE for ATT/Cingular is tooooooo slow for anything but simple text email and cannot be used in a car or even while walking. UMTS option for the CF slot is not offered and ATT/Cingualr has no word out that they will allow EDGE/UMTS to be mobile.
The unit can be hacked to use tmobile EDGE with little better results in terms of staying conected, but its still slow.
"Terrible drivers"on by Shinster
Pros small pda substitue
Cons buggy drivers, sony stopped support
Summary various applications and drivers are loaded under the vaio name at boot.
a list can be seen in tasks manager (ctrl + alt + delete, under processes)
unfortunately the first thing the buyer has to do after turning on the unit is trim the amount of background applications running (PROCESSES under task manager). why? because sony has loaded the tiny 1 gb of ram all the way upto 750mb + 128mb video = aprox. 900mb out of 1000mb total. leaving only 100 megs ram. tiny.
not enough ram left to run anything.
sony loads up the ram with "vaio" labeled processes such as media server, download managers etc... which pushes sony's multimedia market. things we never use.
problem? yes, the only vaio process needed to operate the device is the driver to use the extra short cut bottons on either side of the screen. but to load that driver sony forces all the other useless stuff also be loaded. attempts at manually deleting files will cause errors on bootup. its sony's way of saying "keep everything".
but there isn't enough memory to even run ms office without erasing a bunch of vaio background apps. so i now just deal with receiving errors on boot.
also after service pack 1 for vista the vaio apps also cause the app bar on the bottom of a vista screen to crash. its makes the screen look ugly and unreadable but a veteran user can just guess and make out the mess enough to use it.
overall the device suffers terribly from unusable drivers and total lack of support from sony.
is sony as bad as dell and hp now?
should we bother paying extra money for sony anymore?
its obvious u.s. corporate practices have consumed sony's vaio division.