ASUS T91 is nice, sure, but I reckon that HP's Mini 2140 is better, if more expensive. Dell's recently-announced Mini 10 looks better still, and I'd have bought one if sold for around $399, based on the looks and specification alone.
But these netbooks, which are becoming increasingly more expensive, kind of pale in comparison when judged against the Sony VAIO VGN-P high-end offering which continues the company's ultra-ultra-portable line.
Shipping with a basic weight of just 600g, including battery and SSD, the VGN-P, available in black, green, red, and white, is a stunner.
Equipped with the Intel Z520 Atom 1.33GHz CPU and Poulsbo chipset, the P-series 'netbook' has a gorgeous 8in, LED-backlit screen with a native resolution of a whopping 1,600x768. You'd think that the tiny pixel pitch would cause problems, but the display is clear and eminently readable.
Shipping at a base price of $899, the spec. also includes a 60GB HDD, although this can be upgraded to either a 64GB ($1,199) or 128GB SSD ($1,499, including noise-cancelling headphones) at the time of purchase. 2GB of RAM is standard, as are GPS, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, and even WWAN, for on-the-go surfing. There's also a built-in webcam, too.
Typing is OK but the navigation experience is let down by the lack of a trackpad, with users having to rely on the nipple in the middle of the keyboard.
Windows Vista Home 32-bit is the OS of choice for the $899 model which is upgraded to Home Premium for the SSDs, but it may prove to a little sluggish on the Atom CPU inside, especially if my hands-on play was indicative of retail performance.
There's also a Linux shell which can used to boot to an Internet-capable mode in under 20 seconds. Sony quotes a battery life of up to four hours with the standard battery, which can be upgraded to a larger model, but that defeats the purpose, as it increases weight to 900g.
Measuring 245mm wide, 120mm high (with the screen open), and 20mm thick, it's small and light enough to fit into a large pocket. Ports include a couple of USB2.0, a special dual-purpose display/LAN connector, headphone jack, and multi-card reader.
Now if only it was $499 instead of $899; that would really be something. Throw in a touchscreen, too, while you're at it, Sony. Oders are being taken as of tomorrow and the first shipment will likely arrive in February.
We just need Windows 7 on it.
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