Sony Vaio P Not-netbook, A Bargain We Think

The Sony Vaio P will surely win gongs for its superb aesthetics which makes it look more like a posh micro notebook (or an ultra mobile personal computer).

At under 640g and with a tiny footprint, you will hardly notice it. Open it up and you will see a gorgeous screen that displays more pixels than your usual laptop.

Surprisingly, Sony's Vaio P series is the cheapest UMPC around and you won't get a cheaper/lighter laptop anywhere.

Not surprising given that most laptop manufacturers do not even have a UMPC/Handheld competitor.

Netbooks, in comparison, are twice the weight and twice the size (although available at a third of the price) of Sony's micro laptop.

Sony has marketed the Vaio P as a fully functional laptop, bringing in Vista Home Basic and an Intel processor but normal laptop it ain't thanks to its 8-inch LCD screen on which 8-point text appears smaller than on a mobile phone screen.

The problem is that like its predecessor, the Sony VAIO PCG-U1 Ultra subnotebook, the Vaio P's processor - an Atom CPU running at 1.33GHz - is way under powered and the choice of Vista is not the best option even with 2GB memory and a 64GB SSD hard drive.

The lifestyle laptop shed Sony's trademark carbon fibre enclosure for plastic - to make it as thin as possible - and there's no trackpad, only one trackpoint, which one reviewer found very sensitive. Another said that it was "underpowered, bloated and needs a price adjustment."

The "edge to edge" aluminium keyboard is worth it and feels very sturdy although your fingers might feel a bit cramped. The Sony Vaio P costs £849 for the basic version up to £1369 for the souped up, top of the range version and will be available as from mid-February.

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Our Comments

The Vaio P is deliberately pitted as an exclusive device and although it won't sell as well as the Aspire One, Sony set the trend as far as size (and price) is concerned. Quintessentially, it is a successful cross between a netbook and Sony's UMPC range.

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