Thursday, January 29, 2009

A netbook that is NOT

The Vaio P would be available on February 18 in the local market. My source abroad is sending me one on Saturday :).

Sony Philippines announced yesterday the availability of the Sony Vaio P in the local market. First launched in Las Vegas during the CES this month, the Vaio P is the world's lightest notebook to date at 1.4 pounds for the SSD model and 1.5 pounds for the HDD model.

(note for the untechies: SSD or solid state drive has no moving parts unlike the HDD or hard disk drive that has spinning platters. SSD is based on flash memory smilar to a camera memory card or a USB thumbdrive. SSD is faster, consumes lesser power and weighs less compared to the HDD. One of the major advantages of SSD is that it won't crash even if you drop it. One letdown however is that it costs much much more than the traditional HDD)

The widescreen 8-inch 1600x768 display looks really nice and the tiny keyboard with isolated keys makes it one of the best looking mini-notebooks available.

I however disagree with Mr. Toshiya Kagita, Sony Philippines president and managing director when he said during our converstaion that it would be more convenient if it has a some sort of a touch pad instead of a pointing stick. He said that in place of a pointing stick a touch pad small enough like the touch pad of the Sony Ericsson X1 could be more useful, he then showed me his X1. I think he was giving me a hint of what the next version of the Sony Vaio P would be. I told him that I am more at ease with using the pointing stick because it gives me more control and precision. I was of course careful not to mention that I got used to using the pointing stick because I have a ThinkPad at home.

Mr. Kagita also stressed that the Vaio P is not a netbook but a full pledged notebook with features that could best even the bigger laptops. Mr. Kagita said that Netbook is a step lower than the laptop which the Vaio P is not.

My issues with the Vaio P

1) The P49,000.00 HDD model uses the Atom Z520 processor. A much smaller processor compared to the Atom N270 used by netbooks from other companies. Although the Z520 is 20% cooler compared to N270, it is also 20% slower. Did Sony sacrifice battery life for speed with this model?

2) The P69,000.00 SSD model is a bit pricey even for an 8-inch mini notebook with really beautiful finish. The HP Mini 1000 with a newer processor and the same speed costs only about P20,000.00. The SSD model uses the Intel Atom Z530 processor.

3) The Atom Intel Z series was not designed for notebooks. It was originally for Mobile Internet Device or MID. MIDs are positioned between a smartphone and a netbook. So why use a processor for the Vaio P which is one step above the netbook?

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