Sony Vaio P

Once I saw the $899 starting price tag for the Sony Vaio P, I pretty much decided to stop covering the device on this site. It’s just too expensive to seriously put in the same class of devices as an Asus Eee PC, MSI Wind, or Acer Aspire One.

And Sony doesn’t really want to be in the same class as those devices. The company is trying to convince customers to pay more for a premium computing experience. I’m not convinced that Sony is delivering on that promise, with an Intel Atom processor, a kind of awkward pointing stick instead of a touchpad, and a ridiculously sharp display that will give you a headache if you look at it too long.

But anyway, long story short, I happened to be wandering through the Sony booth yesterday and there it was right in front of me. So I had to at least take a look. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the computer gets a Windows Vista rating of 2.7, which isn’t bad for the hardware. But I found that it was extraordinarily difficult to control the cursor with the pointing stick. I’m not generally opposed to pointing sticks, but this one is incredibly tiny that it takes some serious fine motor skills to direct the cursor across the Vaio P’s 1600 x 768 pixel display. 

The keyboard was surprisingly good though. It’s obviously a bit smaller than any keyboard you’ll find on a 10 inch netbook, but it’s pretty close thanks to a little bezel around the edges of the screen. You can certainly touch type on it. 

You can check out a few more pictures after the break. And then I’m going to stop covering this device unless Sony cuts the price in half.

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17 replies on “Hands on with the Sony Vaio P”

  1. What netbooks need is a device launched with all the style approach that Apple brings, whilst still maintaining the form factor. This device comes close but in actual fact may be a little small, as indicated by the mouse nipple rather than a trackpad. This sort of device though is really needed to jumpstart the acquisition of the netbook by the hipster dudes.

  2. I dont know why people keep on saying the resolution is so hard on the eyes. The pixel density is almost the same as 17″ 1920 x 1200 displays on many of the most popular laptops including the 17″ macbook pro. I find this density a very good balance of readability / screen real estate.

  3. Friends I don’t think he will really stop covering it. That was irony and maybe a good deal of disappointment mixed in for flavor. I’m sure as news about this device is produced it will be faithfully recorded in this blog.

  4. I think disqualifying a device from coverage based on price is, um, shortsighted. I have your sight in my daily bookmarks and you guys do a great job but if you exclude certain devices which meet all criteria of what you call a ‘netbook’ but arbitrarily decided one criteria (price) makes something not worthy of covering, visitors that normally use your site may be going elsewhere for their news (and potentially ad clicks).

    In the future if Sony lowers the price, you’re out of the loop on this device and have to play catchup.

    If you’re going to selectively cover devices, please list that on your homepage along with your criteria so potential site browsers know not to look. Otherwise, it fits the criteria that everyone else uses for netbook. You covered the Dell Mini 12 which isn’t a netbook.

    Just because you have a beef/bias against a device, don’t take that out on your site viewers 🙂

    1. From the About page:

      “Liliputing is a news and information web site covering low cost,
      ultraportable notebook computers, often refered to as netbooks. A
      netbook is loosely defined as a laptop computer with a 10.2 inch or
      smaller display, which weighs around 3 pounds or less, and typically
      costs $500 or less, although some netbooks push these limits.”

      I’ve been covering low cost devices since I began this site. There are
      plenty of other web sites out there covering UMPCs, MIDs, and other
      devices which often run around $1000 or more. But what really got me
      excited about the netbook space was the idea of low cost ultraportable
      computers. If Sony decides to drop the price or to offer a lower cost
      version of the Vaio P, great. But this device is most certainly not a
      netbook.

      That said, I chose the name Liliputing instead of something more
      specific like “netbooksonly” because I want to have some flexibility
      in what I cover. But generally, my interest and those of many of my
      readers lie in the area of cheap and small computers.

      1. Cheap and Small…

        Hmmm, I have some old 80’s computer mags and the prices in those… well, let’s say today’s value is amazing. It’s always been the trend for technology to get cheaper. Small isn’t something new either. Sharp were making small DOS based computers back in 1992. That seemed amazing at the time.

        Yes the price on this Sony thing seems out of whack but when you look at the features…

        I just bought a GPS. 4″ screen. If I added that price onto a netbook (and saved on carrying two devices around) it would be getting up towards the price of the new Sony “netbook”.

        I understand you arguments for what you carry but the lines are blurring on computers and associated functionality. How useful and popular they are is always open to debate. (I’ve yet to see a phone that takes great photos yet how many people have to buy a phone with a xx megapixel camera???)

        Sony should look at the pricing if it wants to make sales but maybe they are trying to push the envelope a bit and that always carries a price premium (initially).

      2. More power to you. I come here for netbook news that doesn’t rate a big mention elsewhere, whereas everyone’s talking about the Vaio P anyway.

  5. Oh I dunno, the name of the site is ‘liliputing’ and it certainly IS liliputian in size, if not in price. The thing is small, cute and strange as heck. Bummer about the pointer being hard to use, I had been waiting for a small netbook like device with one of those pointers, being spoiled by Thinkpads. Had they got that part right and the word came down that Penguins can live on one I’d have considered it.

  6. If you think the USD 899 price point makes the Vaio P expensive, try buying one in the UK where it *starts* at GBP 850 (that’s USD 1290 at the current exchange rate). The same amount would get you two Samsung NC10s and a Dell Inspiron Mini 9…

  7. If you think a price tag of $899 is bad try the ludicrous price of £849 for the base model here in the UK. Absolute joke.

  8. Did they allow people to see the Vaio P running in its “limited” quick start environment? I would like to hear more about that…then you can stop covering it, I promise.

  9. This looks like the followup to their Picturebook line which ran a Transmeta Crusoe chip. Except they move from Transmeta to Atom since Transmeta went into the tank. So I consider this a ultraportable.

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