Now Sony may have driven me and most of the sane world bonkers over the last 18 months but if there’s one thing it certainly knows how to do that is style. So trust Sony to once again adopt the role of the beautiful lover who we constantly forgive as it shows us exactly what the UMPC can be all about…
Now it wouldn’t be Sony if it didn’t have an unsexy name so let’s just get that part out of the way. It’s the VGN-UX50, not the Portable, the Mobile, the WalkPC or whatever just the VGN-UX50, deal with it.
Straight off the first major difference to notice between it and the, in truth, rather lacklustre pack is the addition of a full QWERTY key/thumb board. Making the screen slide is a stroke of genius and chucking in a 4.5in SVGA (1024 x 600) touch screen only adds to the master class. At just 520g this is one of the lighter UMPCs we’ve seen so far while an Intel Core Solo 1.2GHz Ultra Low Voltage processor also packs more punch than we’ve seen so far.
Naturally there’s onboard wireless, Bluetooth and also EDGE while a 1.3MP camera and second 0.3MP camera (for video calls) have made it inside. A chunky 512MB of RAM is provided (more than some low end laptops) alongside a 30GB 4,200RPM HDD. Graphics aren’t going to drive the latest games given the Intel Media Accelerator 950 integrated solution but it can dynamically allocate up to 128MB of memory.
Battery life is quoted as a rather vague 2.5 to 4.5 hours off a standard battery and five to 9.5 hours from an extended life battery which is plentiful to say the least. A fingerprint reader has been included for biometric security and VGA, Ethernet, FireWire, 3x USB2.0 and AV out ports provide a multitude of connectivity options.
Surprisingly this first proper interpretation of the Microsoft UMPC format is not a million miles away either with a projected release date of July and a not insignificant, but not altogether unreasonable price tag of $1,800. For those of you who rushed out and bought a Samsung or Asus UMPC I bet you’re feeling rather silly now…