Sony's, the Vaio TT, is a well-needed reminder that not every tiny laptop needs to be a low-cost, low-power .
In fact, the Vaio TT is about as far from the standard $500 Netbook as possible, given the relative physical similarities. The TT's highest-end configuration (named the
The Vaio's 11-inch screen follows the 16:9 aspect ratio trend we've seen in new 16- and 18-inch laptops (including, naturally, Sony's new multimedia laptops). The 1,366x768 resolution isn't too far removed from the 1,024x600 found on most Netbooks, but the extra RAM and Intel Core 2 Duo processor makes a difference, allowing it to run Windows Vista smoothly, instead of XP.
Not too long ago, high-end ultraportable laptops were considered desirable status symbols, and many consumers were willing to part with more than $2,000 for a small, easy-to-carry system. With the advent of Netbooks, which covered a lot of the same basic ground (Web surfing, sending e-mail, etc.), everyone's expectations were lowered, and a much more workmanlike industrial design took over.
The Vaio TT eschews the cheap plastic look (and for $4,000, it had better), instead presenting a slick carbon fiber chassis, incredibly thin backlit LED display, metal accents, and soft, rounded curves. It's an evolution of the previous
A handful of other companies are still putting some effort into the high-end ultraportable market--notably Lenovo with its attractive
The Vaio TT's MacBook-like keyboard has flat letter keys, widely spaced, making for a surprisingly comfortable typing experience, considering the actual keys are no larger than those found on something like Dell's 9-inch
While the high price may keep the Vaio TT out of the hands of all but the most well-heeled buyers, it's still gratifying to know that not every PC maker is in a race to the bottom end of the market, and there's still room for a few high-end experiments in conspicuous consumption.