Sony Vaio P is not a netbook

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Sony’s Vaio P (not a netbook) netbook is on display at the Sony Style store and over lunch I went to go check it out.  It’s a beautiful piece of engineering and design, but considerably under-powered and way over priced.  I found the keyboard to be manageable and the screen was really beautiful though definitely small for the 1600 x 768 screen resolution.

Build quality was solid though these seem like pre-production models (no number just xxxx) and I would hope to see it improve even more as release units arrive. The mouse pointer system is similar to what lenovo has on the thinkpad, but the button layout is harder to reach. I found the trackpoint device was also pretty slow though I tried a second P and it was a bit better. Still not anything close to the relative prevision I’ve become accustomed to on the X61 I use for work.

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After a few minutes of playing around just testing the keyboard and seeing what was installed on the system, it feels slow.  Perhaps due to Vista though more likely a result of the slower 1.33GHz processor (with Vista).

In theory this is a terrific machine, but it seems like you are really just paying the Sony tax for styling here rather than getting anything serious from a performance perspective which is pretty disappointing.  A device that costs way more than 2x what the standard netbook costs should deliver more than simply a pretty package.

13 Replies to “Sony Vaio P is not a netbook”

  1. I'm a little confused as to why you're disappointed. In general, I don't think Sony Vaios have been known for being pretty *and* offering good value and specs, right? I mean, I am a sucker for Sony products, and I know that this computer is way overpriced for what I get, but at the same time I still want one. 🙂

    Actually, I think Sony should have put it under the netbook category, that way people wouldn't be so disappointed in its meager offerings (after all that's what netbooks are known for — low-end specs that allow the price to be bargain basement). Then Sony could have sold it as a “premium” netbook with the beautiful hardware and high-res screen, which would have allowed people to sort of justify the price that way. I think they did themselves a big disservice not calling it a netbook.

  2. Well it's at least $1000 to start. More likely around 1500 when you are done with options, case, extended battery etc. I'd rather just have a Macbook for that kind of money.

    My $500 system is larger (10' Samsung NC10) but offers more – more screen, larger HD, much better keyboard, way better battery etc etc

    I was talking with two older business types who also were having trouble figuring it out. the size is nice, but not pocket size. What are you getting for the money?

    It's beautiful … just seriously far from practical – not that that's stopped me previously.

  3. I understand what you mean. But let me put it this way — Sony is like the Apple of the Windows world. They like to do what they want when making a product, and sort of dictate what they think is important on a specific device. I look at this as their version of the Macbook Air. But in this case, it is less expensive, a little more practical, since it's physically smaller and easier to fit into a smaller bag and use in tight spaces like on a plane. Sony already had a computer in this form factor, the Picturebook series. But they were uber-expensive at the time. The P series, while admittedly overpriced, is still less than a Macbook Air (I don't know how the specs between the two products compare, so it could be that the P series still isn't a good value compared to the Air), and I think it's priced like a “premium” netbook. When I mean premium, I mean the hardware design compared to something like an Eee PC, not as far as offering top-spec hardware components.

    You hit it on the head that you're paying for style, not substance. But as far as you being disappointed, I guess that's because of the following — I don't think you're the target demographic. While I bristled at the way the Sony staff member was spinning it in one of the videos I watched, I agree that this is a fashion/lifestyle PC, meaning it's kind of aimed at women who want a nice little machine they can carry in their bag that can offer a little more functionality than their cell phone can. These people are not road warriors who need serious computing power. This is a fashionable netbook by a recognizable brand. But of course, Sony is Sony, so they are often overpriced for what you get.

    If this thing were a Tablet PC, I would have a seriously hard time resisting buying one. 🙂 But for now, I'm still going to wait to see if Apple comes out with their version of a netbook or Tablet PC.

  4. I think you'd be better off with the HP Mini Vivienne Tam edition … save the rest of the money and get a better computer.

  5. The Air has a 1.6 or 1.86 Core 2 Duo on the new nVidia 9400M chipset, so it should be *significantly* faster than the P. IMO, they're not really the same kind of computer. The Air really is aimed at the road warrior type who doesn't want to lug around a full featured laptop. not at the netbook market.

  6. Okay, I see your point. I guess the ultimate point I'm making is that this is Sony's go at a netbook, similar to how the Air is Apple's go at a netbook (sort of…I still hold out hope that they're going to release a more netbook-ish product this year). I'm not saying Sony did it right; I'm just acknowledging that they built it off of their existing Picturebook line (it really looks like that old series), so it was probably rather easy for them to put it out there. And I think it's well-placed for the demo that they're aiming at, that's all.

  7. Okay, I see your point. I guess the ultimate point I'm making is that this is Sony's go at a netbook, similar to how the Air is Apple's go at a netbook (sort of…I still hold out hope that they're going to release a more netbook-ish product this year). I'm not saying Sony did it right; I'm just acknowledging that they built it off of their existing Picturebook line (it really looks like that old series), so it was probably rather easy for them to put it out there. And I think it's well-placed for the demo that they're aiming at, that's all.

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