Well, well, well. If it isn't another attempt by Sony at that ill-conceived "not a netbook, it's an ultraportable!" market. After rumours, they've done good: inbuilt GPS, inbuilt 3G and an accelerometer. Plus, strange optical touchpads either side of the LCD.
Those touchpads allow for greater control of the ultraportable, with the previous Vaio P controlled just by the mouse nib within the keypad - proving very clumsy. Located either side of the LCD screen (an 8-incher with 1600 x 768 resolution), they act as mouse buttons and both can be used the same time, for a strange, almost DS-like hold.
Internally, it runs on an Atom Z540 chip, loading Windows 7 - there's no word of Sony's Linux-based X-Media Bar UI being supported in this latest model. Just as well, as we found in our review that "some of the visual design and nuanced functionality are lacking to the point where you'd rather just launch Vista".
2GB of DDR2 SDRAM and a 64GB SSD run with the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 500, and it's got a nice selection of added features - an accelerometer which Sony says can control documents or photos with a simple "flick", and it can change documents from landscape to portrait mode.
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, stereo speakers with mic, a Motion Eye camera, two USB ports and Everywair embedded 3G round the Vaio P off nicely, which weighs 632 grams and has a battery life of up to 10 hours with the additional battery being sold, otherwise just five hours.
Really, I'm surprised. After Sony made a bit of a fool of itself with the original model, this Vaio P Mk II almost makes up for it. Not to mention the five colours it now comes in - orange, green, pink, black and white. On sale in June. [Sony]
It's smaller than a notebook and smarter than a smartphone: the colourful VAIO P Series from Sony is your perfect partner for on-the-move computing.
Weighing just over 600g and slipping effortlessly into a bag or jacket pocket, new VAIO P Series gives you all the power of a fully-featured Windows® computing experience… and so much more.
Ideal for busy people who can't sit still, it's the first VAIO designed for simple operation if you're standing or walking. The central trackball is complemented by an additional touchpad and mouse buttons. Duplicating the main controls, they're located at either edge of the screen for comfortable operation with both thumbs while you're holding the computer in two hands.
VAIO P Series is the first notebook computer from Sony with built-in GPS and a new Digital Compass. Perfect for telling you where you are and what's happening around you, they can help you find your hotel or a nearby restaurant if you're standing on the street corner in an unfamiliar city1.
A brand-new VAIO Location Search software offers a real-time map view without tying up your web browser. Your map position and orientation are displayed along with nearby Points of Interest and even local weather conditions.
The ultra-light notebook's ‘on-the-go' credentials for travellers are boosted with Everywair 3G on-board, giving high-speed connectivity to mobile networks (where available).
New VAIO P is the first notebook from Sony with a built-in accelerometer that responds to physical movements. Just give VAIO a gentle shake to ‘flick' through pictures or the pages of a PDF document, or navigate back and forth through your web browsing history.
The sensor also recognises when VAIO P Series is turned on its side, automatically ‘flipping' the screen for easy reading of documents or web pages in portrait mode. The notebook's additional mouse buttons are perfectly placed for comfortable page-turning when you're reading in portrait position – just like a paperback book or magazine.
New VAIO P Series is beautifully designed for easy operation, with a comfortable full-pitch keyboard for easy typing, plus a bright, extra-wide VAIO Display Plus that's ideally proportioned for viewing movies or two web pages side-by-side. There's also an ambient light sensor that dims screen illumination for comfortable viewing while saving power.
For extra convenience, dedicated buttons are provided for Quick Web Access and one-touch access to VAIO Care. There's also a handy new Change Resolution button: instantly select a larger font size for easy on-screen reading, or choose maximum detail for HD movie viewing.
Available in five vibrant colours (black, white, pink, green and orange), the new VAIO P Series is complemented by a choice of stylish accessories that includes a distinctively perforated silicone slip case and carry strap.
The new VAIO P Series ultra-portable notebook computer is available from June 2010.