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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Sony has finally taken the wraps off its first netbook at this year's CES show at Las Vegas, and we had a brief hands-on with it. Is it a stylish Eee PC killer or an overpriced, under-performing PDA?

Ty Pendlebury is attending CES 2009 as a guest of LG.

One of the first things that struck us when using the P-series is that the SSD model uses Vista Home Premium, which is a bold move for a 1.3GHz Atom machine. At least it has a goodly amount of RAM — 2GB — enabling it to run Microsoft's resource hog with some semblance of urgency. In our brief use we didn't notice any slowdowns, and the operating system loaded in a reasonable time.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia

The netbook is very light at only 620 grams with a hard drive or 594 grams with an SSD on-board, and its compact 279x200x24mm dimensions make it small enough to fit in a pocket or even a small manbag.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia

The keyboard had a decent feel for a device of this size, but we weren't as convinced by the mousing "nipple" and edge-mounted mousing buttons — it brought back memories of the poor mouse on the Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Media Center.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia

Unfortunately, the local model lacks the 3G or GPS of the US model, but retains the noise-cancelling headphones (only on the VGN-P15G), built-in 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth. The P-series has an LED-backlit 8-inch display, which features a native resolution of 1600x768. For some reason, the device also includes Sony's Xross Media Bar via a Media button, and also includes a built-in webcam. Available colours are Garnet Red, Olivine Green, Obsidian Black and Crystal White.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia

The device is pretty expensive though, with the cheaper VGN-P13GH with 60GB HDD setting you back AU$1,599 while the VGN-P15G 64GB SSD model costs a staggering AU$2,299. On price alone, a competitor to the Eee PC this is not, but the P-series certainly looks pretty. We look forward to testing the device more fully in our labs. The two models will be available from mid-February.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia
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