One week after Sony's press conference and about a ton of email exchanges later, we managed to snag their latest VAIO P for some hands-on action. Let's however, start with the questions first: Is it pretty you ask? Is it as sleek and sexy as what the pictures show? And lastly, is it as pocketable as what's reported in the media? Well, if you've read our coverage then you know that it is, but the real question that we have here is: besides pockets, where else can we put the Sony VAIO Pocket??
Now, you may be thinking that the VAIO Pocket will be like other Intel Atom based machines and have only 1GB of RAM and this may explain the slow performance that we've encountered thus far. Sorry folks, the VAIO Pocket comes with 2GB RAM so this excuse is moot and as such we were unable to determine the cause of the sluggishness but our past experiences have shown that Vista on an Atom platform just doesn't cut it.
Props to Sony though for their effort to differentiate the form factor by trying out something new in removing the trackpad and packing in a super high resolution screen (1600 x 768). Too bad this combination doesn't work out quite well as the high resolution screen with small icons and buttons on a trackpoint mean a lot of trouble and effort just to navigate around the desktop. We foresee possible mishaps like opening the wrong program or activating the wrong command due to a slight slide to the side when you are tapping down on the trackpoint to click.
As for high definition playback well, we did manage to get some HD videos running smoothly on the unit but it also depends on the video's bitrate. It's safe to say though that its newer Atom platform using the Intel GMA 500 integrated graphics engine does fare somewhat better than the Intel GMA 950 of the other traditional Atom machines.
Also, going with such a small form factor only means that connectivity options are limited to just two USB 2.0 ports but Sony has thought this over and provided a port extender that uses the thin docking port located on the right side of the unit. This port extender provides a VGA analog out and a RJ-45 port for times where perhaps you're about to do a presentation and there's no wireless access available.
You may be a little jaded and weary about the Pocket right now, but this nifty little machine does have a few things going for it and the one we really liked best was the weight and form factor which we've yet to see from other similar Atom-based machines. At just 635 grams and an unconventional but interesting form factor, we certainly acknowledge Sony's efforts on these grounds. Furthermore, the keyboard is great for its size and we could type pretty well with minimal flex.
All in all, it's a decent enough portable machine that should do well with the ladies (and believe us, it's a chick magnet). However as noted above, better navigation and a more reasonable screen resolution would do wonders for the VAIO Pocket - which will also directly affect its price for the better. Here's hoping to a second revision of this nifty little machine.
Now if only it was running on something else other than Vista...