CNET First Look
Sony Vaio P Series VPC-P113KXSony's pricey ultramobile mini-laptop might have been cool a year ago, but amid cool smartphones and tablets it's lost a step.
Hi, I'm Scott Stein, Senior Associate Editor at cnet.com, and this is the 2010 Sony Vaio P. Now, this isn't the first time we've seen the Sony Vaio P. In fact, we saw the first generation in early 2009. It was Sony's attempt to get into the UMPC market and create a really highly mobile mini laptop that had some flaws because it was pretty expensive for what it offered. So now, we are in 2010 and the Vaio P is back and unfortunately, it's just as expensive and really forms a really strange in between, between Smart phones and Netbooks; and frankly, we're not really sure you're gonna find a use for it. Now, to be fair, here is what it's got. It's start at $899, goes up to a whopping $40.99, and its processors an Atom Z550, which is no great shakes; 1.6 gigahertz or 2 gigahertz. It's about where you find a Netbook, but even a little bit slower. This configuration comes in 2 gigs of RAM and a 256-gigabyte SSD solid state drive, which is nice, but that's a positive price to get really high up to $40.99 and it's also built in GPS. There is even Verizon and mobile broadband connectivity and a new feature is an optical touch pad on the side that allows you to hold and browse as opposed to having to use this really awkward track point. There is no touch pad on this device, which is really strange. Now unfortunately, holding this device in your hands and browsing like this is not nearly as useful as using a Smart phone. And now with tablets like the iPad on the market the landscape has changed significantly and this doesn't really answer to it. On the other hand, this does run Window 7, can run a number of apps and it's got a nice keyboard for its size; although it's still pretty cramp, more cramp than you find on the Netbook. But if you wanna type, I guess that's potentially a nice feature and because it's so long and thin, it doesn't have a small footprint depth wise, but the screen, the 8-inch screen has a high resolution, but it's really, really small, so it's hard to make out details and icons on this device. Now, for size comparison sake, I wanna demonstrate the size of the Sony Vaio P next to unfortunately 2 Apple products, but once that are pretty hot on the market; an Apple iPad and an iPhone. That gives you an idea of the dimensions you're dealing with. Now, certainly, even though the iPad's pretty compact, the Vaio P has it beat in terms of compactness. On the other hand, it's a little thicker, but it's actually about the same length. It's definitely bigger than a Smart phone. But the question is whether such as in between size is gonna be useful for you. It doesn't fit in your pocket, it can fit into my cargo pants on the side, but it pokes out a bit; so, you still gonna need a bag to carry this is in and that's why this is sort of strange clasp like in between the device and it also comes in a variety of really bold colors; hot pink being one of them. All in all maybe if these were a couple of hundred dollars, this could be an interesting pick up for tech fetishes, but really at this price, I don't even think it will be an interesting executive toy. Take it as you will, but I don't think UMPC is a really where it's at any longer in this technology world. I'm Scott Stein and this is the 2010 Sony Vaio P.