Sony's Sizzling UX180P Micro PC Reviewed

slide show Sony VAIO UX180P

Sony is the Apple of the Windows PC world. Sometimes the two companies serve different groups of users; sometimes the same groups. But, without any doubt, they are running neck-and-neck as the most innovative consumer electronics manufacturers in the world. Long before Windows XP Media Center Edition existed, Sony offered a complete line of multimedia capable Windows desktop PCs. Though it has lost some its luster in the personal music player market to Apple and others, Sony still offers a solid line of such products. And, when it comes to smaller laptop and sub-laptop PCs, Sony is way ahead of the game.

While most vendors were focusing their micro PC efforts on PDAs, mini Windows XP Tablet Edition PCs and Microsoft's latest gift to the portable computing world, Ultra Mobile PCs, Sony went off and designed the VAIO VGN-UX180P. Except for the lack of standard cell phone capabilities (you can use VOIP) and a few problems with non-standard dialog boxes, the UX180P is the best amalgam of Windows PC capabilities that I've seen in a long time. What's most amazing of all is that everything fits into a package that weighs 1.18 pounds and is 6" wide by 4.88" high and 1.5" deep with the slide out keyboard closed. And, that's counting all of the slight protrusions here and there on the tiny PC's case.

In the past we gave the Sony T350P and TX670P laptops our Editors Choice Award. These were small laptops with built-in DVD/CD drives and wireless Wide Area Networking capabilities. The TX670P also has an LED backlit screen to save battery power. That was enough for us to happily grant the awards. The UX180P is such an unbelievable combination of size, weight and features that we are also awarding the Editors Choice award to Sony for designing and bringing it to market.

Take a look at the features chart on the next page and then join me for a discussion of the ergonomics of the UX180P

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