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Sony's new VAIO P

Almost a year ago to the day I wrote a blog piece about the Sony Vaio P.The P was very exciting.
Written by First Take , Previews blog log-in

Almost a year ago to the day I wrote a blog piece about the Sony Vaio P.

The P was very exciting. A thin, very small, well equipped computer it seemed on paper, like a good travelling companion. So I travelled with it.

My experience was not entirely satisfactory. In short, the letterbox style screen, much wider than it was tall, did not work well for me — not least because it failed to show full dialogue boxes. The fact that the keyboard was a joy to use was small comfort. You can read my full post here.

Why the reminiscence? Because Sony has just announced an update of the VAIO P with a new design for two-handed use, a digital compass and an accelerometer, and a range of snazzy chassis colours.

The new features sound interesting. The accelerometer can be used to flick the VAIO P in your hand to move through pictures or the pages of a PDF document and web browsing history. It can also be used to turn the screen into portrait mode for reading documents. The GPS and digital compass enable some location based searching which could prove handy.

The new VAIO P matches the original's chassis size and weight of 24.5cm by 12cm by 19..8cm x 600g.

The other specifications are:

- Intel Atom Z540 processor - Windows 7 Home Premium - 2GB RAM - 64GB SSD - 8-inch 1600 x 760 pixel screen - Intel GMA 500 graphics (integrated) - Accelerometer - GPS and digital compass - Wi-Fi - SIM support - Webcam

There is no price on the press release, and Sony's web site is still advertising the original P series machines rather than the new ones. There are currently three models listed, only two of which have prices — £929 (inc. VAT) and £1,199 (inc. VAT). I don't expect the new model to undercut these by much.

Sony clearly thinks the format has legs, but I'm not so sure. At a price of two or three netbooks and with a screen that looks as though it's going to be as challenging to use as that of its predecessor the 'wow' factor might not be enough to sway many takers.

Still, I have an order in for a sample and will report back when I have had the chance to play. The new VAIO P goes on sale in June.

Sandra Vogel

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