The Sony VAIO P Series – The Debut Sony Mini Laptop

At last, a Sony mini laptop is here, the Sony VAIO P Series. Although not in the form some originally expected, an adapted Via Openbook, the Sony VAIO P series has all the size and weight credentials that a netbooks should have. It weighs a minuscule 638g, that’s around two thirds the weight of the original netbook; the Asus Eee PC 701. Like the heavenly thin MacBook Air, the P-series is also under 2cm thick at 19.8mm and only “slightly larger than an office envelope.”

But the impressive specs don’t stop there…

The LED backlit screen, 8 inches across and in a widescreen format, has a surprisingly high 1600×768 resolution (compared to 1024×600 for your everyday netbook). At that resolution, it’s unlikely you’ll ever need much side-scrolling again, since most webpages aren’t that wide. Battery life is stated as 4 hours for the standard model, or 8 for the large capacity battery – enough for a full days work.

My jaw hit the deck when I saw how much SSD drive storage the P series is offering – up to 128GB. SSD or Solid State Storage requires no moving parts and is thus very durable. But it’s very expensive to produce a large storage SSD facility which has meant most netbooks have had around 16GB tops. A hard drive version is also available offering 60GBs storage.

Sony has incorporated some really clever extra features. Firstly, a GPS which needs no internet connection (in the USA and Canada only – more of that later), Windows Vista – a first for a computer this small and an array of connectivity options; Wireless LAN 3G Broadband, 802.11n LAN and Bluetooth so you’re connected wherever there’s mobile phone signal. Other more standard features like the ‘Motion Eye’ webcam and microphone are also included, not to forget the Sony ‘xross media bar’, common with the PlayStation 3 and Bravia HDTV range.

The inclusion of Vista is interesting. Most netbooks haven’t strayed above 1GB of RAM whereas the new Sony has 2GB. Processing power is a bit on the light side however since the P series will only come with a 1.33GHz processor from Intel, not the Intel Atom common with most netbooks – perhaps suggesting how much Sony wants to disassociate itself with the “cheap and cheerful” netbook look. As we previously mentioned in our article on the VAIO TT – try searching netbook on Sony’s VAIO site – nothing.

Of course, it’s only just been made available in the USA (today 8th January) – starting at $899 which works out about £600 at today’s (painful) exchange rate. And here’s the good bit…

It hits the shelves in the UK as well as in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia in February. We can’t wait to get our hands on one.

Related Posts