Sony has upped the bar of mobile computing yet again with the unveiling of its smallest VAIO UX series in Japan and USA recently. These micro PCs are all loaded with impressive features such as a built-in keyboard, an Intel Core Solo processor, 512MB RAM, a 30GB HDD, a 4.5-inch LCD display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity all in a remarkably small package. It didn’t take long for the UX micro PC to quickly find its way to Singapore and with us today is the UX17GP that's targeted at the ASIA market.
Do not mistake the UX17GP for a UMPC like the Samsung Q1 that we previewed recently. Although the UX17GP is smaller than most UMPCs circulating in retail channel right now, we couldn't but feel that Sony could have really gone the extra mile with the onboard 4.5-inch WSVGA touch screen LCD by having Windows XP Tablet edition installed over the plain-Jane Windows XP Professional SP2 operation system to better position its smallest VAIO to date. Due to the latter that is installed as standard, the UX17GP does not offer hand writing recognition. Instead, the UX17GP offers a mini QWERTY keyboard that hides behind the UX17GP's screen for primary input purposes. As for the bundled stylus, its usage is mainly that of a pointing device (pen mouse) and for doodling via the PenPlus application.
In short, Sony engineers summed up the experience of owning and using a UX17GP as: "Go ahead. Put the future of PCs in your pocket today and then go for a walk. You never know when you might need it. You'll be surprised at just how handy the future is".
Like the UX180P, the UX17GP also runs on an Intel Core Solo 1.2GHz processor. On that basis, it's best that you lower your expectation on the computing performance of the UX17GP. The built-in 512MB RAM should be sufficient most of the time but it might not be good enough to support Windows Vista even though the device is ready for the operating system when it is scheduled to be released early next year.
The UX17GP also features a 30GB HDD with G-Sensor HDD Shock Protection that works by locking the head of the hard disk drive to protect unwanted scratching of disk surface that could result in data losses.
While the UX17GP shares some specifications with the UX180P, it is not entirely similar in that the latter supports EDGE and comes preloaded with Microsoft Streets & Trips GPS application – just to name a few.
Nevertheless, the UX17GP is a very competent machine for its size. It is basically an MP3 player, PDA, PC, movie player, and a digital camera rolled up into one portable form. It even comes with two built-in digital cameras with the 1.3-megapixel camera at the rear for digital imaging and one at the front for video conferencing (eg. MSN Video Conversation). Thanks largely to the "XBRITE" technology in the LCD panel, the multimedia experience of the tiny UX17GP was very impressive. DivX videos were silky smooth and high-resolution stills were gloriously drawn.
Onboard audio from a lone mono speaker with the LCD in a down position was hugely disappointing though. However, by simply sliding up the LCD to reveal a second speaker, overall depth and loudness can be instantly enhanced for a richer movie experience – though we highly recommend a good pair of earphones/headphones to truly enjoy movies on such a device.
The UX17GP, above all, is a neat and handy Micro PC for traveling. It is capable of performing a multitude of tasks that is commonly performed on desktop computers, but because of its diminutive size and two memory slots (CF and Memory Stick Duo), photographers would find the UX17GP doubling up as an image depository as well as a quick imaging station for field trips. Importantly, the UX17GP has an anti-theft biometric fingerprint sensor for total data security while empowering users with the convenience of not having to remember passwords anymore.
With all the positive attributes mentioned coupled with the fact that the UX17GP has a built-in keyboard that UMPCs do not have, the smallest VAIO from SONY is highly recommended for anyone who wants a small and portable PC on the go. It is currently available at a recommended retail price of S$3,332.00 (US$2106).
For more information about the Sony VAIO UX17GP, please visit: www.sony.com.sg/vaio/index.html