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Sony VAIO UX - First Take

The Sony VAIO UX is one of the best tiny tablets we've seen, but its high price, poor battery life, and less-than-ideal typing experience keep it from being a home run.

Taking some of the most innovative elements of the T-Mobile Sidekick and the OQO Model 01, the Sony VAIO UX is a tiny ultraportable with a 4.5-inch (diagonal) wide-screen display that slides up to reveal a QWERTY keypad. Despite its small size, the UX runs on a full-fledged laptop CPU as well as a full version of Windows XP, and it features a touch-screen interface.

Weighing 1.2 pounds, the VAIO UX has a 1,024x600 native resolution display and is equipped with some pretty modest components: a 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo ultra-low-voltage processor; 512MB of slow 400MHz RAM; a tiny 30GB, slow 4,200rpm hard drive; and integrated Intel 945GM Express graphics. Networking connections include 802.11a/b/g wireless, Bluetooth, and Cingular Edge WWAN. Remarkably, for such a small device, the Sony VAIO UX makes room for two cameras--a 1.3-megapixel one that faces out from the back and a 0.3-megapixel one that faces out from the front for Webcam use--as well as a biometric fingerprint scanner, headphone and mic jacks, a USB port, and a Memory Stick slot. Unfortunately, the small form factor comes at a steep price: $1,799.

Because supplies of the VAIO UX currently remain tight in North America, we ordered a Japanese version that cost $1,699 for a nearly identical set of specs. (The only exceptions were a slightly slower processor and the lack of WWAN connectivity.) We liked a lot about the VAIO UX but found its high price, poor battery life, and less-than-ideal typing experience tempered our enthusiasm. Find out more in our full review of the Sony VAIO UX50.

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