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Laptops

Sony Vaio VGN-UX1XN: The devil's UMPC

What should have been the ultimate ultra-mobile PC has turned out to be the mother of all gadget frustrations

We've spent the last week or so playing with the Sony Vaio VGN-UX1XN -- a device that, on the surface, should be the perfect ultra-mobile PC. The 95 by 150 by 32mm chassis feels good in the hands; it's super-light (480g); it runs Windows Vista Business Edition and has a Qwerty keyboard below the screen.

But then it all goes horribly wrong. The 1,024x600-pixel resolution is way too high to be usable on the UX1XN's 114mm (4.5-inch) screen -- how Sony expects bespectacled geeks not to strain their already failing eyes is beyond us.

Then there's the keyboard, if you can call it that. The keys are way too small for typing and are grouped too closely. Plus they have very little travel, which means it's hard to tell when you've pressed one -- or four simultaneously, as is common. Sony's designers (presumably a gaggle of retarded baboons) have a lot to answer for.

It's a real shame because we desperately wanted to like the UX1XN. Unlike the Samsung Q1 or the Asus R2H it really is an ultra-mobile PC. You can't knock the 1.33GHz CPU, 1GHz of RAM and the 32GB solid-state flash hard drive, but you'd be an idiot to spend £2,000 on a product that is, in our opinion, damn-near unusable. Watch out for a full review shortly. -RR

Update: We now have a full review of the Sony Vaio VGN-UX1XN live in our Reviews channel.