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  (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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