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Sony VGN-UX1 review

A pocket rocket with a sky-high price tag

You can't fail to be enamoured by this deeply desirable bit of kit

Our Verdict

We want it, but the pricepoint is so prohibitive, it's bordering on embarassing


  • A genuine handheld PC

    Enough poke for most


  • Surprisingly great mini keyboard

    That pesky second mortgage

University is massively overrated. Discussing lofty ideas with your intellectual peers, partying and carousing, developing friendships that last a lifetime - no fun at all. Plus, no one ever achieved anything by going to university.

Right, now keep repeating that mantra until you actually start to believe it, because that's exactly what you'll have to convince your kids, real or prospective, when the time comes to admit you've blown their college fund on a piece of fetishistic tech. This unassuming piece of technology, in fact.

Admittedly your wronged offspring may be able to empathise with your moment of weakness when they see the ludicrously sharp 1024 x 600 screen that the Sony VGN-UX1 totes.

If they made these pixels any smaller, blokes in white overalls from CERN would knock on Sony's door asking for fresh ammo for their particle accelerator.

It's no slouch in the hardware department either - remarkably, the secreted 1.33GHz Core Solo and 1GB of RAM and has the measure of Vista, Microsoft's notoriously resource-gobbling OS. The inclusion of a QWERTY keyboard is a major boon as well, and it's very usable compared to the onscreen keyboard or DialKeys alternatives.

Still, the price is a major sticking point, and we'd wager some of that can be attributed to the 32GB solid state hard drive inside the VGN-UX1, a technology that is still ludicrously expensive per-MB. The rest can probably be blamed on the premium attached to the shiny Vaio logo found on the UX1's rear.

Little wonder

We appreciate that the VGN-UX1 is blazing a trail in terms of usable ultra-mobile computing. Sadly, as that first generation excess extends to the price tag - it draws unfavourable comparisons to Samsung's larger, but far cheaper, Q1.

There's further evidence that the UX1's diminutive form is nothing short of witchcraft to be found in the battery life - a measly two hours of juice demonstrates that sacrifices were made to get this handheld device running Vista.

You can't fail to be enamoured by this deeply desirable bit of kit; it's highly specced considering its size, feels substantial rather than overly delicate and is rammed to its perfectly formed plastic gills with connectivity and expansion options.

Unfortunately for the vast majority of us, dropping £2,000 on a single piece of technology, no matter how usable, is a very rare thing, and the disappointing first gen battery life does little to encourage it.