The Sony Vaio P is a weird device. It’s much smaller than a netbook, but much better-equipped. It has wireless broadband access from Verizon, onboard GPS, a ThinkPad-style pointing stick, and an eye-straining high-resolution screen. It’s also incredibly expensive. So who exactly is the Vaio P for?
At just 9.8 inches across, 0.8 inches thick, and 4.8 inches deep, and weighing just one pound, five ounces, the Vaio P is made for mobility—it makes a 10-inch netbook look like a desktop replacement. Into those tiny dimensions Sony crams parts that—on paper—put your old Atom netbook to shame. The Vaio P uses a 2GHz Atom Z550 paired with the US15W chipset and GMA500 integrated graphics. By comparison, last year’s typical netbook used a 1.6GHz N280 on an Intel GSE945 chipset with GMA950 graphics. The Vaio P also ships with 2GB of DDR2/533 and a whopping 256GB Samsung MLC SSD, which itself is responsible for $700 of the Vaio P’s price tag. The full Windows 7 Professional OS is a welcome change from Windows XP—or worse, Windows 7 Starter.
The Vaio P’s eight-inch screen offers an eye-watering 1600x768 resolution. This is the first time we’ve ever seen a screen that was too sharp; reading text on it for more than a few minutes hurt our eyes.
PC manufacturers still haven’t arrived at a consensus as to what is a netbook. Sony’s perception of a netbook manifested itself in the form of the Vaio P earlier in the year. With the launch of the Vaio P, the Japanese giant prolonged its time-honored tradition of setting outrageous prices for its products. However, Sony has tried to justify Vaio P’s exorbitant price, which starts at $900, by deliberately referring to it as an ultra-portable as opposed to a netbook.
In our recent roundup of netbooks, we dubbed these little PCs to be a “great second computer” but a “pathetic first one.” At CES 2009, Sony’s introduction of the new Vaio P has turned some heads about the full potential of this so-called netbook-in-disguise. Weighing in at only 1.4 pounds and measuring in at just under an inch thick, this little guy packs an 8-inch widescreen with a 2.08:1 aspect ratio and a supported resolution of up to 1600x768.
Inside the Vaio P you will find a 1.33GHz Atom processor, 2GB of ram and a SSD drive ranging from 64GB to 128GB of storage space. Built-in is wireless WAN 3G (Verizon Only), 802.11 Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The P’s instant-on OS allows for quick access to the Sony’s Xross Media bar interface making access to photos, music, videos, and the web seemingly fast. Included also is an integrated real-time GPS functionality with turn-by-turn directions. An internet connection is not required in the United States or Canada.
Expect a starting price of around $900 and shipments beginning in February.