Sony chose the Royal Academy of Art in London to launch its latest range of devices, and for a company that’s always been heavily design led, it was a pretty apt choice of venue. As if to justify the surroundings, Sony had some pretty stunning looking products on show.
The showstopper was the VAIO Type U. This little beauty has been available in Japan for a little while, and it’s still not clear whether it will ever make its way to Europe. On that point, we’re willing to beg Sony to launch this device over here, because it really is amazing.
The VAIO VGN-U70 sits snugly in the hand.
The VAIO VGN-U70 measures only 167 x 108 x 26.4mm (WxHxD) and weighs a feather-light 550g, but despite its miniature stature, there is a fully working PC inside. Yep, that’s right, the VGN-U70 is not a Pocket PC or PalmOS device, it’s a mobile PC running Windows XP Pro.
The Windows XP Pro badge shows the sceptical that this is a real PC.
The specification is quite healthy, and not that much different from what you’d find in an ultra-portable notebook. There’s an Intel Pentium M CPU ticking along at 1GHz, while 512MB of memory will allow you to run pretty much any Windows application without issue. There’s a 20GB hard disk and 64MB of video memory for the integrated Intel graphics.
Intel inside – The Pentium M branding hints at the power of this handheld PC.
The 5in TFT screen is truly excellent and with a resolution of 800 x 600, you can fit a surprising amount of data on it. It is of course touch sensitive, so you can navigate the VGN-U70 using a stylus or even your finger tip. If you don’t want to tap the screen, there’s a TrackPoint-like nib to the right of the screen that will move the mouse pointer with a reassuring degree of accuracy.
You can control the pointer with the nib on the right, using either your finger or thumb, depending on how you hold the device.