Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vaio P Pocket Sized Notebook closer to perfection

About 10 years ago I had a mini-laptop which closely resembles some of the mini-notebooks that are becoming available today. The Toshiba Libereto was a product ahead of its time. The Toshiba office in Tokyo even had a museum showing the models. People were coming in to upgrade it because they liked it. The product had a small but loyal following. Back in those days the hardware was pretty sluggish. Today the specs offer much greater speed, but there were several features which I particularly liked about the Libereto:
1. The tracking ball was on the right side lid of the computer, next to the LCD display
2. All the superfluous drives were external, which meant you had a very light, compact computer
3. I was able to pick up a really good leather bag in Vietnam suited to this computer. I have been keeping this bag for my next model.

The latest copy by Sony 10 years later is the Vaio Pocket Sized (P-series) Notebook has a 8" screen, an Intel Z520 Atom 1.6GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and 128G-256GB solid state drive. The unit is clearly designed with speed in mind. This is a durable beast since SSD's have no moving parts, ensuring greater security for your data. The SSD is the same drive as in your smartphone. You also get GPS, WiFi (802.11n), Bluetooth and WWAN, a LAN connector, a headphone jack, a multi-card reader and 2 USB 2.0 ports, a 5Mp webcam.
Probably the worst feature is the tracking ball in the centre of the keyboard. I was prefer it if they used Toshiba's idea of a tracking pad on the screen. This was an innovative pressure pad which worked really well. It will be disappointing to use the Sony ball. There is a built-in 3G phone, but it works for Verizon only. The computer is about 60% of the size of a standard computer.
The standard battery offers a 4 hour battery life, doubling to 8 hours if you obtain a second battery. The power demand is 68watts, which is quite high, so expect better battery life in future with competitors. The unit is shipped with Windows Vista.
Having used this type of computer I can tell you they are really good for travelling. Of course the features and connectivity are so much better today that the dial-up I had to tolerate, though I still long for that Toshiba tracking pressure pad. I'll be watching for the Toshiba solution!
Andrew Sheldon
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