Sony's new Vaio X notebook took many by surprise at IFA, and the emergence of it and other Windows 7 laptops shows that the show is growing beyond its traditional AV heartland. The new laptop joins the existing X models and has the usual Sony quality about it.
The spec has yet to be finalised and while the model we looked at was running Intel Atom, it's likely that another ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) chip could be used.
The lid is carbon fibre, like the existing T-Series, while the 700g featherlight chassis is slim but sturdy. We saw two different lid styles, one glossy, one matt.
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The ports integrate neatly into the side and there's a drop-down flap for the Ethernet port. Despite what Apple would like, LAN cables are still the lingua franca of networking in the business world.
This notebook is clearly aimed at the business and prosumer market, and the demo versions at the show were running a pre-release version of Windows 7 Professional. It's thinner even than the MacBook Air at the Mac's thickest point - 14mm.
The trackpad is obviously fairly small, but it's large enough for most tasks. However, the mouse buttons didn't have much give in them, and this could become a little frustrating over time.
The keyboard has spacing between the keys, aping Sony's other keyboards, but the size of the chassis means that it's a small keyboard anyway. And that's a little bit of a problem, since the keys are more like those found on a small netbook rather than a notebook, so we can't imagine working for an entire day on the thing. Sony probably should have rethought its keyboard concept for this one.
The bottom front of the unit has a SD slot and a MemoryStick reader. The side has two USB ports and a headphone jack, but lacks a HDMI and, surprisingly, a microphone socket. A D-Sub monitor connector is present, but it sticks out a bit. There's also a MotionEye webcam.
A wireless on/off slider switch sits above the keyboard. The Sony representative on the stand told us that the battery life of the notebook would be a "working day" while different battery variants will be available apparently.