Wednesday, September 06, 2006

UX50, SWMUG, JK and me

Hugo Ortega takes the pill a closer look

When my mate James Kendrick recently "unboxed" a UX50 Sony Vaio I was glued to my screen. His unwrapping of the device and capturing of the event was so enigmatic that I almost felt like I was there. Well done James, it’s a must view!

On this occasion and like several others the Sydney Windows Mobile User Group (SWMUG) has once again captured my imagination. As part of my monthly Tablet Talk I had arrived with the EO UMPC and Samsung Q1 under my arms. My intention was to show some really cool software (I'll post more on that later) but it was another guest that caught my attention!

Admittedly it was JK that first planted the seed, and now SWMUG with the fertilizer (to be precise Andrew of the C1 Group). Andrew and I have been friends for a little while and we want to get further acquainted if it weren’t for all the "other things" we have to do every day. Tonight however as part of his monthly Gadget Guy talk at SWMUG Andrew chose to bring along a Sony Vaio UX50 - cool. (dubbed VGNUX17GP in Australia)

4.5" of joy

Like James, I found it to be super cool, refined, sexy, sleek, dynamic and appealing. As it finally got to the back of the room (a section normally hosted by Dr. Neil and I as we banter our childish taunts at guest speakers) I couldn't help but be impressed. It is a refined device and definitely can capture the imagination of almost any UberGeek. With its relatively cramped QWERTY keyboard the UX50 still manages to remain very productive.

One neat feature about the keyboard is the way the final vertical rows of keys curl up around the edges, therefore providing a very comfortable and ergonomic feel. The only drawback about the keyboard was its lack of distinguishable keypads, i.e. rounded edges or indents between each key. This caused me to often miss-hit keys and often fly passed an intended letter or command button - still cool though.

The next hot feature was the crispness of the screen. You could literally see everything on the device as you would on a regular screen. At native 1024x600 it really wasn’t a strain or a struggle to work with the screen. Obviously coming from the UMPC space I thought that the 4" screen would be a complete let down, but not here, no way.

The other compelling feature, and if you watch my UMPC reviews you'll know what I mean, was the input buttons and joysticks. It seemed to almost mimic the EP V7110 setup with its left click, right click and joystick to help manipulate the mouse. Watching it do the rounds I realized that all these methods of input (and as I've often described on this blog) made for a very intuitive and almost seamless feel. If you didn’t use your finger, you had the joystick; and if you didn’t use the joystick you had the click buttons!

All in all my 10 minutes with the device left me drooling and rather enamored. We even called up the pen features and played around with the inking capabilities of which I had no complaints. Although it does not ship with Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition it still managed to capture my heart. Sony Australia - if you want me to own one review one, just let me know???


Anonymous said...

Actually the Australian UX17 is the same as the UX90 rather than the UX50 ... and with new 1GB models appearing in the US and JP now hopefully we will see a model upgrade soon. 1GB is all I am waiting for to buy.

Hugo Ortega said...

Looks as though I'm getting told on all devices everywhere except here!

I must say it is one "sexy moma"

digitaldion said...

Hey Hugo,

I took the plunge and got a secondhand Sony Vaio U50 (well, it's a VGN-U8). It is a great little machine. Is it a UMPC? Or, is it just a very small Windows XP Machine!?

Regardless, it is great. I have just ordered the extra long battery so that I can untether it from the power cord.

Here's a picture of it:
Keep up the great work on your blog!



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