Sony's VAIO U series makes its U.S. debut today with the VAIO VGN-U750P, bringing another contender to the fledgling domestic palmtop PC market. Back in September 2004, CNET reviewed the VAIO VGN-U750P's predecessor, the Sony VAIO U50, which was (and as of November 2004, still is) available only in Japan and from importer Dynamism.com.
Upside: With a 1.1GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 20GB hard drive, the VAIO VGN-U750P is equipped with a handful of laptop-caliber components, as well as a full version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional. The Japanese VAIO U50 that we tested had a slower processor and half the RAM of the new U.S. model, and it still absolutely whipped the OQO Model 01 palmtop PC in CNET Labs' tests. In fact, it even beat the Sharp Actius MM20, an ultraportable laptop, making the VAIO VGN-U750P a likely candidate for the most powerful PC of its size.
Downside: Its size. Despite its 1.2-pound weight and small form factor, the VAIO VGN-U750P is too big to hold in your hand comfortably for a long time, and its lack of a built-in keyboard makes it difficult to type in a URL, not to mention write e-mail or work on a Word document. At approximately $2,000, the VAIO VGN-U750P is less expensive than the similarly equipped VAIO U70--the Japanese VAIO U50's more-powerful Japanese sibling--but it's still an awful lot to spend on a product from an immature category.
Outlook: Although we're still not sold on the palmtop PC concept, the VAIO VGN-U750P looks to become the most powerful palmtop PC in the United States. We'll run CNET Labs' tests on the little guy when we get him in, but for now, check out our head-to-head comparison of the Japanese Sony VAIO VGN-U50 and the OQO Model 01.