And then there’s the keyboard. I’d like to be kind and explain that, with time, it’s something you’ll get used to, but honestly I can’t because it’s truly abysmal. It’s not that the keys are over-cramped or too small – they’re bound to be a little fiddly on a device this small – but because they’re mounted flush with the case and there’s very little feedback to the keys it’s virtually impossible to thumb-type at a rate that’s better than excruciatingly slow. Even the OQO’s keyboard was more usable than this and I’ve used smaller keyboards on other devices that are much easier on the nerves.
The final sticking point with the UX1XN is its price. If you just can’t keep that drooling tongue in your mouth and you absolutely must have one of these tiny PCs, you’re going to have to take out a small mortgage to satisfy your tech-lust. Sony has set the price at an incredible £1,999 inc VAT, which is £600 more expensive than the Samsung Q1 SSD and double the cost of a OQO Model 01+, neither of which are exactly cheap.
The UX1XN is certainly a highly desirable thing. Getting Vista to run in an acceptable fashion on a device this small is a feat in itself, but its impressive, notebook-like specification and decent battery life, coupled with very compact dimensions and light weight make it a much less intrusive companion than most full-blown laptops.
It can also comfortably be used as a desktop machine hooked up to a keyboard mouse and monitor via the cradle. But it isn’t perfect: further thought needs to go into the resolution of the screen and how to manage those tall dialog boxes, the keyboard needs a complete redesign before it becomes anywhere near usable and the solid state disk is just a bit too small.
At such a high price the UX1XN isn’t intended to appeal to appeal to the mass market. But even as an executive toy and a technological showcase for solid state disk technology I can’t help but be a touch disappointed.
Score in detail
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