1.4-Pound Sony VAIO P Series Gets Official, Includes GPS and EV-DO

Update: We have a full review of the Sony VAIO P.  Check it out here. Is it an overpriced netbook or an affordable luxury ultraportable? Sony makes a  good case for seeing the $899 VAIO P Series as the latter. This unusually long and thin fashion statement is the world's lightest notebook with an 8-inch display at just 1.4 pounds. And Sony crams some pretty high-end features into the VAIO P, including GPS for navigation, instant-on functionality, and mobile broadband connectivity via Verizon Wireless' EV-DO network. This is no ordinary 8-inch display, either. It features a sky-high resolution of 1600 x 768 pixels. That's a lot of detail for viewing full Web pages and even spreadsheets with side-to-side scrolling, but will it make you go blind? Sony hopes to avoid the lawsuits by including a shortcut button to view parts of the screen, as well a helpful utility that lines up all open windows alongside each other with the touch of a button. Full specs below along with lots more details and photos. Specs: OS: Windows Vista CPU: 1.33-GHz Z530 Intel Atom Memory: 2GB RAM Hard Drive: 60GB (standard), 64GB and 128GB SSD options Display: 8 inches (1600 x 800 pixels) Ports: 2 USB ports, headphone, included dongle adds connectivity for VGA, Ethernet, and additional USB Slots: SD, MS Size: 9.6 x 4.7 x 0.78 inches Weight: 1.4 pounds Unlike most netbooks Sony includes 2GB of RAM. That's because the P Series runs Windows Vista only, which may be a turn-off to some. Storage choices include a 60GB hard drive standard and optional 64GB and even 128GB hard drives, bringing the total from $899 to $1,249 and $1,499, respectively. Sony claims that the keyboard on the VAIO P is 88 percent the size of its TT ultraportable, and that the layout extends to the edges of the design for optimum comfort. Just don't expect a touchpad; you're limited to a pointing stick. What about battery life? Sony rates the VAIO P with the standard three-cell capacity battery with 4 hours of battery life, and you should get up to 8 hours of runtime with the optional six-cell large-capacity battery (a $129 option). Note that you won't get spoken turn-by-turn directions from the GPS feature, as it's powered by Microsoft's Streets & Trips 2009. However, you will be able to follow the directions on-screen, and third-party solutions are available. (We suggest Garmin Mobile PC; the software costs $59.) Sony's instant-on feature should be familiar to anyone who has used a PSP or Playstation. It uses the same Xross Media Bar interface, enabling users to bypass Vista for quick access to music, photos, videos, and the Web. The VAIO P is available in red, green, black, and white. Sony will be selling color-matched carrying cases and Bluetooth mice. Is the VAIO P worth $400 more than well-rounded netbooks like the Samsung NC10? Stay tuned for hands-on impressions and a full review.

The VAIO P is the Best Netbook of 2009 CES!

Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.