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Sony Refreshes Its Crazy Vaio P Series Netbook

Gordon Kelly


Sony Refreshes Its Crazy Vaio P Series Netbook [Update: UK Pricing]

The Vaio P Series was a hugely ambitious, but ultimately flawed idea: an elongated 8in netbook with remarkable 1600 x 768 resolution Atom processor and budget busting price tag. It was widely seen as a commendable, if freakish, failure. So Sony wouldn't try it again, would it?

Indeed it has having announced a new Vaio P Series today and all the original wackiness is still there along with a number of new tricks.

Most obvious is the tasteful redesign with matte finish that can be completely negated by the garish orange, pink and green colour options. There is also a new optical touchpad added to the right of the screen so it can be used one handed when on the move (which sounds extremely risky).

Under the surface, the Vaio P offers changes too with an accelerometer, GPS and integrated 3G all on the menu alongside faster Z Series Atom processors and an ambient light sensor which automatically adjusts the 8in (yes) 1600 x 768 resolution LED backlit display for indoors or outside use.

Filling out the rest of the specs we have 2GB RAM, two USB ports, SD card and Memory Stick Duo slots, a webcam integrated into the bezel and wireless n. A 64GB SSD is offered as well. Sadly battery life is just 3.5 hours, but this can be boosted up to seven hours with an optional extended battery.

So how about the big deal breaker last time: price? We don't yet have a UK RRP, but with the P Series now starting from $799 (£531) it is eminently more affordable and with a weight of just over 600 grams it is potentially an alternative to the iPad (680g). It goes on sale in the US immediately.

Maybe, just maybe, Sony got it right this time...

Update: Unfortunately Sony has taken full advantage of the 'Being British Tax' by announcing the new P Series will go on sale next month at an eye watering £799 in base configuration! The top end model will set you back £1,049. Looks like a perfect opportunity to use Bundle Box to me.


Vaio P Series Product Page


May 10, 2010, 10:35 pm

Beautiful netbook design with banal gimmicks like addition of accelerometer and touchpad resulting into a hybrid of no substantial use.


May 11, 2010, 1:15 am

reading that I got a little excited until the price - no thanks!


May 11, 2010, 2:22 am

This was a bad investment 18 months or so ago when it launched. Underpowered, overpriced and in a niche so small it hardly seems worthwhile. The base model costing the same as the top of the range iPad or a full size laptop now seems even more insane.

I would be very interested to see the sales figures as I can't believe Sony would continue this product line unless they were trying to grow this market (?) or making a fat wad of profit on the few hundred that have probably sold.


May 11, 2010, 3:31 am

I like a little extra build quality and poshness but frankly I'd have three Acer Aspire Ones for less money and juggle them. It'd be about as good a use of my cash and the odds are I'd still have one functioning netbook by the end of it all.


May 11, 2010, 5:00 am

Are there yet any devices that are in a similar form factor, but replace the lower keyboard with a secondary touch screen? Which can become a keyboard, drawing tablet, musical instrument, place for widget applications etc...

Or do we have to wait for apple to do everything...


May 11, 2010, 7:12 am

@darkspark88 - The MS Courier is cancelled so the closest you'll get is the Nintendo DS when it comes to a folding dual-screen interface. I do agree though, something with the Vaio P's dimensions with a touchscreen, as opposed to a tiny keyboard would be far more useful than a shrunken down, cramped laptop running a desktop OS.


May 11, 2010, 1:51 pm

I'm typing this on my own Vaio P right now, people don't understand the point of the P.

Yes, you can get a netbook for less but a netbook is just a small laptop, small, but not small enough.

The P with Windows 7 is fast enough for all the stuff I want to do on the move and I have my custom desktop at home for everything else.

The P has a great keyboard and the weight is amazing, it's good for what it was designed for which was web, email, photo viewing, and music and does it well.

If you don't want a small ultraportable then why are you looking at this?

Not all notebooks have to be standard size and all powerful, it's a niche market that I'm personally happy to be a part of.

Just to add, at £529 mine didn't break the bank.


May 11, 2010, 7:37 pm

@G1NZOU: The problem is, and trust me, I do hate to say this: you've almost made a case for the iPad.

What I'm saying is, if you offered me both devices and said the tasks I could achieve were: "web, email, photo viewing and music" the I'd pick the iPad.

However, I don't see either having a comfortable enough keyboard, which is why something like the established netbook form factor is just a little better (got an NC10 myself). You can just do more 'big boy' tasks on it.

I'm assuming, based on visual coverage (not hands-on) that the P isn't any good for thumb-typing. Any thoughts on that?

Will 4

May 14, 2010, 6:06 pm

I had a Sony P and loved the size and weight of it. I did find the screen hard to live with and always had to do a contortion act to read text on it, or increase the font size to the point the higher resolution benefit was lost.

My biggest complaint however was that mine only lasted around 6 months. Despite no rough treatment it just one day wouldn't start up. I had no warranty as I had removed the hdd to fit an SSD, so it became a paperweight. I ended up giving the various components of it away to other P users.

Now I stick to trusty Thinkpads that have never let me down. Or when I need something really portable for email / server admin on the move, I take an Apple Wireless keyboard with a HTC HD2. This combination works better than the Vaio P in many ways as I prefer the Apple keyboard, the HD2 + keyboard combo weight is about the same and there's instant-on and battery life benefits. Plus they're much tougher and harder to break than the Vaio P turned out to be.

I do feel a bit of a geek in a cafe with a wireless keyboard and phone though. :D


May 18, 2010, 6:17 pm


No, I made no case for the iPad.

Although I see the merits of the iPad I belive, despite having less speed, the Vaio P is better.

You can properly multitask with two windows side to side, you can use flash, with windows you have access to all business programs and I personally need to use windows only engineering programs.

I can use my Vaio P one handed and type with all the fingers on my right hand, the new optical mouse and buttons are for GPS use and on the move Remote Play control.

The thing I hate about netbooks is the shape, they're not pocketable.


July 28, 2010, 1:38 pm

Appearance good performance should be expected and is very slow to start ( only to get slower ) . I have had mine for 6 months and started to to see cracks appearing, the price of SMALL or SONY as some may put it! Screen issues not size but hard wear and start up issues, soft wear also expect the random shut down issue too. On top of that there is the not recognising the Sony USB !!! To name a few faults

Sony do offer the repair but dont expect any thing more !

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