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Print 22 comment(s) - last by AlphaVirus.. on Nov 6 at 11:37 AM


  (Source: Sony)
ASUS goes for the low-end, Sony blankets the high-end

ASUS's Eee PC has been grabbing headlines for its relatively low price for an Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) and its relatively brisk performance in Xandros Linux and Windows XP. The $399 price point -- $200 above the initial $199 quote -- is still quite palatable given the $999 Fujitsu LifeBook U810 and $1,500 HTC Shift.

Sony is no stranger to top-dollar hardware, so the price tag of the company's latest iteration of the VAIO UX should come as no surprise. The new VAIO UX VGN-UX490N/C occupies a price point which is at the polar opposite of the Eee PC: $2,499.

$2,499 will get you a device that hasn't changed much physically since the VAIO UX series was first introduced in May 2006. Sony has, however, tinkered with the internal components over the past year and this latest edition is no exception.

Under the hood lies an Intel Core Solo U2200 processor (1.2GHz), Intel's 945GMS Express Chipset and 1GB of DDR2 PC2-3200 memory. Primary duties are handled by a 48GB solid-state disk (SSD), while a MemoryStick slot can accommodate additional storage needs.

Wireless communication is handled via Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, an Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection and WWAN (via AT&T EDGE).

The display is still a 4.5" unit with a 1024x600 resolution. The resolution is actually quite impressive for a UMPC device, but the small 4.5" screen is sure to induce eye strain on many users.

Likewise, the tiny keyboard offers little in the way of feedback, yet it is backlit for those that need to do some late-night typing.

Sony's 1.2-pound VGN-UX490N/C has an estimated battery life of 1.5 to 3.5 hours and runs Windows Vista Business.

The device is available for purchase now from Sony's SonyStyle retail site.



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Wow
By gradoman on 11/5/2007 10:54:15 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Sony's 1.2-pound VGN-UX490N/C has an estimated battery life of 1.5 to 3.5 hours and runs Windows Vista Business.


That's all? I was somehow expecting more.

Youch!




RE: Wow
By MFK on 11/5/2007 12:11:35 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly!
The first and foremost aim of such a small form factor is ease of mobility, is it not?
Then why must the user be tethered to an electrical outlet most of the the time?
0_o


RE: Wow
By therealnickdanger on 11/5/2007 12:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
Small form factor = small battery = poor battery life. They'll get better in time...


RE: Wow
By gradoman on 11/5/2007 1:12:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sony claims the entire devices runs on a mere 41W during normal operation, giving the unit up to 4.5 hours per battery charge.


hmm..


RE: Wow
By gradoman on 11/5/2007 1:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
meant to say that that was the previous model


RE: Wow
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 11/5/2007 1:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
From the SonyStyle specifications page:

quote:
Estimated Battery Life

* 1.5-3.5 hours (Standard Battery) 3.0-7.0 hours (Large Capacity Battery)


That's a big flash drive
By BansheeX on 11/5/2007 10:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
Primary duties are handled by a 48GB solid-state disk (SSD)

Uhhhhhhh, seriously? I thought those things were like $10k.




RE: That's a big flash drive
By JoshuaBuss on 11/5/2007 10:26:34 AM , Rating: 6
that's why it's $2,500


RE: That's a big flash drive
By bhieb on 11/5/2007 1:11:32 PM , Rating: 2
Don't let the Sony SSD thing confuse you. This is not a conventional SSD "drive" it is a proprietary Sony card not a standard SATA SSD drive. A VP ordered a viao with a 32GB SSD "drive", and once he realized it was too slow and not large enough he wanted me to upgrade it to a normal SATA drive. Well turns out Sony in their infinite wisdom did not make the drive a standard drive. I could not easily accesss it so I literally had to take the whole laptop apart. Once I did that I could see that it was just a card with some memory on it not a normal replaceable SATA drive. Needless to say I could not swap it out so he is just out of luck.

STAY away from the so called SSD offered by Sony, it is a proprietary POS that you cannot upgrade yourself, but at least performance sucks ;)


RE: That's a big flash drive
By daftrok on 11/5/2007 4:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
I know you're pretty much SOL on that laptop, but there are some nice USB external 2.5" HDDs you can get. I don't know how slow this Solid State "Drive" is, but if your VP is noticing its too slow then its probably slower than USB...which is sad...


Everything I Could Want...
By wrekd on 11/5/2007 10:02:38 AM , Rating: 5
...in a price I'll never pay.




RE: Everything I Could Want...
By Gul Westfale on 11/5/07, Rating: 0
???
By MangoSRT8 on 11/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: ???
By ss284 on 11/5/2007 10:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
The macbook weighs more than 4 times this, and in what way is it underpowered for its purpose? No office applications will stress those specs.


RE: ???
By fleshconsumed on 11/5/2007 10:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
It is useful, just for a very niche market. Think for example taking inventory either at a regular store or in an industrial setting. It's much easier to carry small UMPC with touchscreen interface around with a wireless scanner (802.11n wouldn't be needed in this situation) than a regular laptop. The first one is small, rugged, has great battery life yet still has full PC functionality, second is heavy and too bulky to use effectively.

Up until now in portable category the preffered choice were smartdevices/smartphones, however small screens made them hard to use and proprietary languages made it a real pain to develop software for those. UMPCs are a welcome addition because they do not require proprietary languages to be used, they are powerful enough to run any software, and they have the perfect size, not too big and not too small. The only problem of course is the price. A business might have no problem forking up $1500-2500 for a device like this, individual like me would find it cool to have, but too expensive to buy.


RE: ???
By SunAngel on 11/5/2007 11:11:16 AM , Rating: 2
Totally disagree. A big international corporate company I am aware of is issuing these as standard equipment to 2nd level managers and up as replacements for regular desktops and notebook desktops. That is to those that prefer to have them as replacements.

The past few article on DT I felt the same way as to why anyone would use these. But frequently traveling managers and executives I guess have grown to like them.


RE: ???
By MangoSRT8 on 11/5/2007 12:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
I love how DT readers vote you to zero simply becuase they may disagree with your opinion....

Has anyone actually ever seen one of these used in the real world? I've seen it once, at a Starbucks, and the guy was hunched over it clacking away with his thumbs. What purpose would this thing serve?


RE: ???
By retrospooty on 11/5/2007 12:24:13 PM , Rating: 3
"I love how DT readers vote you to zero simply becuase they may disagree with your opinion...."

I don't think its your opinion that got voted down... You seem to have placed your opinion of UMPC's onto everyone else.

"I wish companies would divert their resouces to something much more useful to the consumer, such as ultrathin tablets with touchscreens."


BTW, tablets are the ones that most major laptop manufacturers HAVE made and are not selling very well. UMPC's are becoming quite popular. Also noteworthy, you may not see as many because you don't notice them because they are not in a giant tote, they are in pockets and purses.


RE: ???
By fleshconsumed on 11/5/2007 12:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Totally disagree. A big international corporate company I am aware of is issuing these as standard equipment to 2nd level managers and up as replacements for regular desktops and notebook desktops. That is to those that prefer to have them as replacements


That totally depends on how it is used. In a mobile setting where you don't need to type and can get away with a very simple interface touch screen UMPC is a great device. However, if you need to type some emails or god forbid make up a quick presentation/excel spreadsheet, an UMPC like this which has to be typed using your thumbs is a very very poor choice for productivity. In a case like that I would prefer sub-notebook like Toshiba Portege R500. R500 is marginally bigger and heavier, but it still weighs under two pounds and yet has optical drive bay and full keyboard.

Personally I think managers who are choosing this are making a very bad choice. Big advantage of UMPCs is touch screen interface and small size while retaining full PC functionality. Keyboard on these things is an afterthought because it is implied it will not be used frequently (if at all). Managers typically live by email and frequently need to quickly type an email/make up some demo, so UMPC like this is typically a bad choice for them.


RE: ???
By Ajax9000 on 11/5/2007 7:51:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That totally depends on how it is used. ..., if you need to type some emails or god forbid make up a quick presentation/excel spreadsheet, an UMPC like this which has to be typed using your thumbs is a very very poor choice for productivity.

... Big advantage of UMPCs is touch screen interface and small size while retaining full PC functionality. Keyboard on these things is an afterthought because it is implied it will not be used frequently (if at all). Managers typically live by email and frequently need to quickly type an email/make up some demo, so UMPC like this is typically a bad choice for them.


Well, my previous manager and my current director both loved the O2 XDA-II Mini they were given. I think they are typical in that middle & upper managers' need to read e-mail (and attachments) on the road is far greater than their need to write them -- if the mesage is that important to respond to straight away they will typically try phoning in any case.

(My director in particular is spitting chips that IT want to stop supporting the O2 XDA-II Mini.)

I agree that "afterthought"-type keboars generally suck. personally I'd prefer a UMPC+phone with a minimal keypad and the option of a bluetooth keyboard.


RE: ???
By MGSsancho on 11/5/2007 5:35:25 PM , Rating: 2
the grandparent mentioned small devices for inventories in warehouses. I think he also means to use devices like this for shipping and receiving., companies do make devices like this. those they have a more rugged design..

you are talking about using an UMPC in an office environment. your experiences are valid yes I agree. But flaming someone for wanting to use this for a totally different environment that your own is childish I'm sorry. office workplace used by VPs and Managers is different that workers in supermarkets and warehouses. also doing powerpoint presentations, excel, CRM, and other SAP applications would run well on UMPC. SAP applications have a server/client architecture. now since this this if running vista business, it can easily do domains (all win products in the last 6 years) and it can run vmware. meaning IT dudebros could emulate others systems to run POS apps or custom warehouse/inventory applications. this way all the millions spent on custom software isn't lost. maintenance would also be cheaper.

either way, each person is tittled to their own opinions. Any business looking at these have their own people to do a cost benefit analysis to see if an UMPC will benefit their bottom line.


RE: ???
By AlphaVirus on 11/6/2007 11:37:40 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Honestly...who in the world NEEDS such a device?! With 13" laptops and macbooks being so much better

You mentioned who needs such a device and an apple product in the same sentence, think before you type. People buy things they dont need all the time.

quote:
The screen is far too small to do any "work" on as well.

Based on this sentence I can see you probably have not worked in very many environments. There are alot of people who "work" on pda's and palm pilots. Couriers always work on devices similar to this when they need to inbound items.

quote:
I wish companies would divert their resouces to something much more useful to the consumer, such as ultrathin tablets with touchscreens.

This is a biased statement because not all consumers want ulrathin and touchscreens. I for one dont want a touchscreen because they become smudged and you have to constantly wipe it clean. As far as ultrathin, I have dropped my laptop on a few occasions and it has never broken, dealing with lightweight and thin seems to fall apart easier.

Remember the world does not revolve around you and your opinion really does not matter to a company. They will make what they want, when they want, how they want...only stockholders have a say-so.


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke














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