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Sony Vaio P: Is it a Netbook or a Notebook?

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/23/2009

Sony finally enters the netbook wars and introduces the Sony Vaio P, a sleek-looking and stylish portable PC with standard netbook features, but Sony says it's not a netbook. Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. If it's not a duck, what is it?

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    sony vaio p With almost all of the major PC manufacturers jumping into the netbook market, the industry has been eagerly anticipating one last major industry player to join in - Sony. The Sony Vaio notebook series is one of the industry's most highly respected notebook series due to the high-quality and good-performing notebooks that it has produced so far.

    Sometime in December, Sony teased the public with hints about a new Vaio with unmatched portability. This turned out to be the Vaio P, which the company refuses to be allowed to be categorized as an ordinary netbook. However much Sony wants to differentiate the Vaio P from the rest of the madding crowd, specifications don't lie. The Vaio P is a netbook.

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    Sony Vaio P Features

    Whatever one choses to call it, the Vaio P certainly boasts of great computing features. You will have to decide for yourself if it's worthy of the MSRP of $899.99.


    • Intel 1.3GHz Atom processor
    • 60GB HDD or 128GB SSD
    • QWERTY Keyboard
    • 8-inch LED Backlit XBRITE-ECO LCD (1600x768)
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator
    • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
    • Memory Expansion Slots
    • 1.4 lbs; 9.65" x 0.78" x 4.72"
    • 4-hour battery life
    • Microsoft Vista Home Premium/Home Basic
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    The Good

    Let's take it to mean that the "P" stands for portability. Indeed the Sony Vaio P definitely offers full portability. True to how Sony has been promoting this product as a bite-size style laptop, the Vaio P is definitely very portable. In fact, when I saw it on display at the local Sony store, I actually thought that it was a pocket calculator or a larger PSP unit. But no, I was actually looking at the Sony Vaio P netbook. Aside from the peculiarly small size of the Vaio P, its overall design is definitely attractive. The glossy black and silver combination in the design gives the Vaio P that elegant and classy look that the Vaio notebooks are known for.

    Another good thing about the Sony Vaio P has something to do with its LED Backlit LCD. This feature would enable you to have a clear screen display even outdoors. Sony also offers either an HDD or SSD for storage, which is a nice option.

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    The Bad

    The Sony Vaio P is not without flaws. The first consideration is the Atom processor. At 1.3Ghz it can get bogged down, especially if you're running Vista (which happens to be the default OS of the Vaio P). That leads us to my second point about the Vaio P. Why did Sony decide to use Vista for the OS rather than the lighter and more reliable Windows XP? Was this anything more than market posturing? Are potential buyers supposed to think, "Wow! It can run Vista!" and be impressed? Is this supposed to differentiate this tiny Vaio from the unwashed masses of netbooks running Windows XP and Linux?

    Actually, the more powerful N280 Atom processor is already out, and hopefully Sony will consider upgrading the Vaio P to it later. Aside from this, the Vaio P could only offer up to 4 hours of battery life under normal computing conditions. Other netbook rivals provides up to 6 hours of battery life already, with the same 1.3 Ghz processor.

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    Notebook or Netbook?

    Of all the netbooks that I've covered before, I would have to say that the Sony Vaio P is 100% netbook. But then it's Sony's prerogative to call the Vaio P whatever they want to. The important thing is that the Sony Vaio P offers something for all of us netbook fans, something different from the slew of netbooks that have been greeting us in the past couple of years. The Sony Vaio P's features may be similar to the other netbooks available in the market today, but Sony’s decision to make the Vaio P different from the rest can only be considered a positive point . . . at a price.

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