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Sony's New Vaio PCG-TR1A: 12" Powerbook Killer? 452

Posted by timothy
from the paging-randy-waterhouse dept.
Anonymous Howard writes "Sony has a hot new subnote on it's hand: the Vaio PCG-TR1A. This subnote is packed full of features: integrated camera (still and video), 10.6 inch bright wide-format screen, 900MHz Centrino, CD-RW/DVD Combo drive, 30GB drive, 802.11b, two usb ports, firewire, 3.11 pounds and a magnesium alloy case. The thing looks really cool. For me, it's the first subnote that actually gives me a viable option for purchase instead of a the Apple Powerbook 12". Read a article about it over at Designtechnica. Check out this forum thread that has good pics, other then the stock pics, next to a VPR Matrix 200A5."
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Sony's New Vaio PCG-TR1A: 12" Powerbook Killer?

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  • by Triumph The Insult C (586706) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:26PM (#6495010) Homepage Journal
    http://www.dell.com/us/en/bsd/products/model_latit _latit_x200.htm [dell.com]. it's pretty nice, although i prefer the c400 myself. the x200 is just too small.
  • by theWrkncacnter (562232) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:26PM (#6495014)
    I don't see how it can be when it costs more. I purchased a 12 inch powerbook with a superdrive (DVR-R/CD-RW), 802.11g, firewire, 2 usb ports, 32mb nVivida gforce 4 and a bunch of other stuff for the same price as this thing, and the prices for the 12 inch pb have since gone down. I hardly see how its a "killer." Plus, I love how everyone plays catchup to apple. For such a small market share they sure do seem to set a lot of standards.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      True. Also, I think Mac OS X is a significant value addition.
    • by ravenousbugblatter (682061) <ravenousbugblatter@yahoo.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:47PM (#6495146)
      I agree - no way in hell you can compare a 900 mhz centrino (which is nothing but a gimmick) against a 867mhz G4. Not to mention being able to burn DVD's on the powerbook, 802.11g, better graphics, a bigger screen, and the biggest thing of all - OS X 10.2 Jaguar, with the soon to be available OS X 10.3 Panther.
      • I've got a 1.6 Ghz Intel Pentium-M (centrino is a marketing gimmick [pcworld.com]. It is the chipset, processor, and wireless LAN module not the processor). The processor is as fast as a 2.4 Ghz Pentium chip in every benchmark I can run. Centrino may be a gimmick but the Pentium-M processor delivers real performance and allows for decent battery life too.
    • Catchup?! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by autopr0n (534291) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:50PM (#6495531) Homepage Journal
      Wtf? Sony has had a 10 inch (not 12 inch) entry in the laptop market for years. I've owned mine for almost two years! True there was a gap between the SRX and this thing, but still. It's ridiculous to say that Sony if "following" apple because they released a laptop that's "small" I mean come on. There have been much smaller laptops through history, like the Toshiba Libretto.
    • I have to agree... if it can't burn DVD's it's not in the same class.

      To quote ars technica, "...[burning dvds] isn't just a luxury, it's a requirement" ;-)

      The 12" with DVD-R is $1,799.00 (and includes right off store.apple.com: 12.1-inch TFT Display 1024x768 resolution, 867MHz PowerPC G4, 256MB DDR266 SDRAM, 40GB Ultra ATA/100, SuperDrive, NVIDIA GeForce4 420 Go 32MB DDR video memory, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, FireWire 400, Bluetooth built-in, VGA & S-Video out)

      So compared to the Sony, you spend a 1.5

      • I'm not sold on the editorial stance 'Powerbook Killer'

        Absolutely. Why not just say that it's finally some competition for the 12" PB as opposed to a PB Killer? As with all things, you make trade-offs buying one over the other.

        One thing the Vaio does have going for it is that it's more complete than any other Wintel notebook of it's size. You can get a number of other subnotebooks with decent sized screens, WiFi, etc., but they require external (USB in most cases) optical drives. Doubles the weight a
  • Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rura Penthe (154319) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:26PM (#6495015)
    Interesting that Apple's notebooks (and mp3 player) are now the standard others are compared against. A big shift since the 90s...
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SN74S181 (581549) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:47PM (#6495149)
      It's something that I don't understand.

      Unless you've bought into Apple's desktop systems, buying an Apple notebook means having to maintain two seperate sets of software to run on your systems.

      I look at the Powerbook and shake my head because I have too much fairly good and rather expensive Windows software. If I'm going to run a second software platform (which I do) I want it to be a free software platform. I'm not interested in investing lots of money in applications for yet another properietary OS.

      I guess if I had an unlimited amount of money to spend, the Powerbook would be worth considering. But then if I had an unlimited amount of money I would get an IBM PPC based laptop to run AIX and/or NetBSD on.

      • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by neuroklinik (452842) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:56PM (#6495207)
        "I'm not interested in investing lots of money in applications for yet another properietary OS."

        Hmm... Open-source Darwin core... X11... More "open" technologies than you could shake a stick at... Loads of great built-in languages... Freely available ports of tons of great Unix apps... Exactly what is so "proprietary" about Mac OS X that is scaring you away?
        • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Informative)

          by 73939133 (676561)
          Exactly what is so "proprietary" about Mac OS X that is scaring you away?

          Well, the audio and video APIs, for example, which are still based on Cocoa and are a pain to use. And the Mac doesn't use an X11 desktop, it only runs X11 apps under Aqua, so X11 apps don't have good desktop integration. And OS X graphics isn't exactly fast. And on and on.

          Overall, I have found that OS X is usable as a sort-of UNIX laptop, but less than ideal. Get one if you need to run OS X apps. If all applications you want t
        • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SN74S181 (581549) on Monday July 21, 2003 @09:46PM (#6496164)
          Exactly what is so "proprietary" about Mac OS X that is scaring you away?

          It should be fairly obvious, but people seem to not notice.

          Mac OS X only runs on a single source of hardware. That makes it extremely proprietary.
        • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Informative)

          by Laur (673497)
          +5 Insightful? Sheesh.

          Open-source Darwin core

          Darwin may be open, but it isn't free. It's licensed under the Apple Public License, which is NOT a free license.

          X11

          Okay, what about X11. OS X doesn't run on X11, it runs on Aqua and Quartz, which are both very much closed source and proprietary. Yes, there are X servers for OS X. Yes, there are X servers for Windows and virtually every other desktop OS that I know of. What exactly was your point?

          More "open" technologies than you could shake a s

      • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Blondie-Wan (559212) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:05PM (#6495264) Homepage
        If it's the cost of software keeping you back, I have to ask... why? If you play by the rules, you'll (generally, according to most licenses I've seen, anyway) have to buy separate copies of your existing apps for the laptop anyway; if you don't play by the rules, and duplicate the ones from your desktop to use on the laptop, you could just warez the Mac versions as well. Either way you'll probably wind up paying about the same for your laptop's apps regardless of platform. Just a thought...

        (I do of course realize, though, this doesn't apply if you play by the rules and also get those essential apps bundled with the machine on one platform but not the other, and it also doesn't apply if the apps you want/need aren't made for the Mac and there are no equivalents that can open & save the same files.)

  • Power comparison (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Millyways (262662) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:27PM (#6495017) Homepage
    A 900 MHZ Centrino really doesn't compare that well to a 987MHZ G4.
  • Battery Life. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Joseph Vigneau (514) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:27PM (#6495018)
    extra long battery life, estimated at 2.5 - 7 hours

    That's a pretty wide range...

  • 900MHz Centrino (Score:5, Interesting)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:30PM (#6495033) Journal
    Sony used to use Transmeta chips in their subnotebooks. This can't be good news for TMTA. It's good that Linus could read the writing on the wall, but I feel bad for their other employees... facing unemployment in this economy. And, let's be honest, even if they do find work elsewhere, few companies have as much potential as Transmeta had.
    • Re:900MHz Centrino (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dnaboy (569188)
      Potential, true, but Transmeta was doomed long ago. With StrongARM processers in PocketPCs which run faster than the original Celerons (400MhZ Pocket PCs vs 300 on my old POS Compuke), way higher speed current generation celerons, and Centrino as a way of marketing a chip / board / etc combination, Intel pretty much has the low through high end (along with AMD) of the market covered.

      I know someone, had I not mentioned it, would instantly pipe in that all MhZs are not created equal (I'm a Mac nut- trust

  • OSX On Sony? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evil_roy (241455) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:30PM (#6495035)
    Hard to believe. It's going to be hard to be a PowerBook killer without it.
    • Re:OSX On Sony? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SN74S181 (581549) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:51PM (#6495168)
      Actually, for lots of us, (one could say 'for the rest of us') OSX is the Powerbook killer. It might be a cool OS platform, but since all our Adobe apps, etc. are the Windows versions, etc. etc. the fact that the Powerbook only runs OSX kills it as an option. Where binary OS lockin is concerned, why switch from one lockin (Windows) to another (OSX)?

  • by csnydermvpsoft (596111) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:30PM (#6495036) Homepage
    Hmm... you obviously haven't looked very hard [fujitsupc.com].
    • when looking into buying a laptop (i was in the market for ultra-portables). the fujitsu lifebooks were definitely the winners in my book (the p2000, specifically). the sony's seem to have way too much unjustified junk that i don't want, and quite overpriced (although they do look pretty sweet).
      what finally stopped me from buying it was the crusoe processor. if they only went with intel or amd, i'd be a happy camper. but from the benchmarks i've seen, the transmetas are not even close in performance.
      • As mentioned above, the P5000 (new a couple of months ago) has an Intel processor. However, you suffer a loss of battery life as a result.

        My P-2046 (800mhz Crusoe) gets over 15 hours while just playing MP3's, and over 10 hours with the screen brightness all of the way up.

        The new Transmeta chip sounds pretty sweet - much better performance and even less energy use. Hopefully they'll make a new P based on it.
  • A Question (Score:5, Informative)

    by X-wes (629917) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:31PM (#6495039)

    Seems Slashdotted--Here are some pics [sonystyle.com] from Sony.com [sony.com]

    Not so much a comment as a question...

    What has really set the Vaio apart from ye olde everyday laptop was the interesting addition of the integrated still/video camera. Are there any other manufacturers out who do this? Also...is it really usable as an integrated camera?

    • Re:A Question (Score:3, Interesting)

      by babbage (61057)

      Also...is it really usable as an integrated camera?

      I think the point of this, as it is with Apple's new iSight [apple.com] camera, isn't for point & shoot photography, but for use as a webcam.

      Of course, the iSight seems to be a pretty high quality piece of glass, with a fast f/2.8 aperture, standard 50mm focal length, and capable of taking in 30 frames per second of 640x480 video. The only thing the iSight is missing, really is storage: aside from the Firewire cable, it has no capability to record anything, wh

  • Sony Notebook?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unixwin (569813) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:31PM (#6495043) Homepage
    Have you *EVER* tried to load a different OS (as in what did not come originally on the system) nto a Sony Notebook?? You will tear your hair and generally feel like throwing out the notebook... ou will find no drivers or support on their site or it, and contacting Sony will give you a response of "It did not come with that OS so we do ot support it"

    I am not talking about putting Linux/BSD or Solaris (what I am thinking??) ... just a Win2k or something.

    Plus their position/membership/stance on DMCA,RIAA et. all makes me want to spend my money elsewhere...
    • Re:Sony Notebook?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rindeee (530084) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:40PM (#6495105)
      Well...yes. I just did so last Friday. I have an old PCG-C1VN (the original Picturebook) with the Transmeta 600MHz. It came with ME preinstalled (worthless). I have run several different Linux distros on it. On Friday I reformatted it and installed W2K as I just got a T-Mobile wireless Internet card (only works on Windows...out of the box) and wanted to use it on my smallest laptop. Went to Sony's sight and clicked on the link for Installing W2K on the PCG-C1VN. Had all the drivers, and all "special instructions" for such things as installing the drivers in the right order (dependancies in effect) and getting W2K to allow the odd (1024x480) resolution. Lots of drivers to download, but no real problems. Works great with my T-Mobile card. All that said, it isn't the most useful notebook PC in the world...I much prefer my Thinkpad with SuSE 8.2.

      ER
      • Sounds like a sony (or maybe any PC) is not a powerbook killer for the reasons listed in the parent comment. I have never had to worry about installing any other Apple OS on any supported machine and I have never had to jump throught these kind of hoops (installing drivers in the right order? for christ's sake!).

        Now, even though I am a long time mac user/proponent, I use PCs at work and the pure usablity gap is decreasing. But when it comes to polish, fit and finish, and total cost of ownership - I just
    • Re:Sony Notebook?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Aix (218662) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:42PM (#6495124) Homepage
      I don't know about other models, but until I dropped it and broke the screen after 3+ years, I was very happy running Red Hat, then Debian and then Gentoo on my Vaio PCG-XG9. I found support for pretty much everything but the WinModem. A single anecdote does not a dataset make, but hey, you asked "Have you *EVER* tried..." and yes, I have. Successfully.
    • Nah. I upgraded my XG-29 from Win98 to Win2k a few years back without any problems. From the looks of it right now [sony.com], they have drivers available for XP too.

      Maybe other models are different.
    • I've had no problems with my vaio. The pcmcia cdrom drive can make things a little akward, but thats half the fun :)

      The only thing I can see being an issue is the new Centrino chipset. Whats the linux support for this chipset like? Last thing I heard it wasn't supported very well, which could give issues with irq routing / dma etc.
    • "Have you *EVER* tried to load a different OS (as in what did not come originally on the system) nto a Sony Notebook?? You will tear your hair and generally feel like throwing out the notebook... ou will find no drivers or support on their site or it, and contacting Sony will give you a response of "It did not come with that OS so we do ot support it"

      One time I upgraded a Japanese sony laptop with windows 98SE (Japanese) to Windows XP (English). That was a nightmare because they put a lot of hardware in

    • by jbuilder (81344) <evadnikufesin@gmail . c om> on Monday July 21, 2003 @09:00PM (#6495911)


      Have you *EVER* tried to load a different OS (as in what did not come originally on the system) nto a Sony Notebook?? You will tear your hair and generally feel like throwing out the notebook...
      /blockquote

      I use a Vaio with SuSE 8.2, and I feel your pain. For the most part my Vaio GRV550 has worked great. And while I'd *like* to get another Vaio and run SuSE on that, I probably won't. Sony makes good notebook PC's, but they don't make *great* ones. To say this new Vaio model could be a "Powerbook killer" is pretty dammed insulting to the Powerbook, considering some of the crap that Sony pulls with respect to incompatible hardware. Also, you're right, they're support is horid if you don't use the OS distro it shipped with.

      And the Centrio chip? How the hell could this vaio be a powerbook killer when the chip in it has essentially limited (read nonexistant) support for any non-MS OS (esp Linux).

      I'm sorry, Sony's going to have to do better or I'm going to look elsewhere - maybe IBM or Dell.

  • VAIO no-way (Score:4, Informative)

    by mpd2014 (608255) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:32PM (#6495046)
    I recently sold my Vaio after owning it for less than a year. Memory had problems, seemed slow and just did not live up to expectations. I recently bought a Mac PowerBook G4, my first Mac laptop and I am extremely pleased with it. Airport Extreme 802.11G works flawlessly with my Linksys router using the G standard, I have Apache, mod_perl, MySQL, PhP and host of other apps installed all working flawlessly. If you're looking for a great UI with unix under the hood look no further.
    • Switched! (Score:5, Funny)

      by huntz0r (580511) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:59PM (#6495586)
      Seems you forgot the last sentence of your comment... perhaps I can help?

      I'm __________________ and I'm a __________________ .

      (fill the blanks)
  • 12" vs 10.6" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajiva (156759) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:33PM (#6495067)
    How can this thing be better, when the screen is 1.4" smaller? Heck I think 12" is too small, but 10.6"? Geez can anyone even read /. on that? :)
  • Linux support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:35PM (#6495072)
    12" Powerbook killer... err except that all Apple hardware is very well supported by linux... whereas the Centrino 802.11b isn't supported at all. So your fancy subnotebook is going to have an 802.11b card sticking out the side.

    Unless you want to run Windows that is, in which case you have bigger problems. :)
    • Yeah, unless you count the Airport Extreme (broadcom won't release the specs) and the nVidia on PPC 3D card (nVidia don't want to recompile theor drivers for PPC).

      Centrino works, aside from the wavelan card.

  • by SuperDuG (134989) <be @ e c l ec.tk> on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:37PM (#6495092) Homepage Journal
    But yeah there's a little problem with calling it a "powerbook killer" for one, it doesn't run Mac OS. That would be a key component for it to "kill" the power book's notebook share. Plus lets face it there are many laptops for many needs. Many things come into play when purchasing a laptop and best bang for the buck seems to be the #1 reason people actually buy laptops.

    While this may be cool (wouldn't know can't read the article), let's face it people will sacrifice weight, size, and battery life for a cheaper model that does the same thing. UNLESS they are walking around with the thing, or travel a lot, or have a particular breifcase they'd like this to fit it. Believe it or not I've seen someone buy a new laptop because it was the right "size" of the breif case they had grown quite accustomed to.

    12" is hard to read at a res bigger than 1024x768 as well. I really don't see this thing killing anything as there are so many laptops on the market now that no one can decide on one "ultimate" laptop.

    • It's true - I keep buying Thinkpads because I have this really cool IBM sling bag that can transform into a back pack or briefcase - its super comfy too in any position and holds all my accessories perfectly.

      Of course my mammoth Thinkpad may not be as sleak as others Sony or Toshiba, but it works for what I want and was cheeper.
    • 12" is hard to read at a res bigger than 1024x768 as well.

      This all depends on your font size, no? I just got a laptop that offers 1400x1050 on a 14.1" screen, and it's beautiful. Yes, I had to increase the default font sizes, and yes, ads on web sites are smaller, but the text is easier to read than on the lower resolution screens. Given this experience, I now want to see the Dells that have even higher resolution (1600? 1900?).

      - Amit [stanford.edu]

  • Price, price, price (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jon Abbott (723) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:42PM (#6495120) Homepage
    Apple's 12" Powerbook [apple.com] costs $1,600 ($1,400 for students), while the new Sony Vaio [designtechnica.com] is expected to cost around $2,000. Even with the cheaper price, the Apple laptop gives you 10GB more hard drive space, and a larger screen, and OS X as well. The only advantage I see is the weight difference, as the Sony weighs 32% less than the Apple. As long as you don't have trouble lifting 4.6 pounds, go for the Apple. :^)
    • Shhh! (Score:5, Funny)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:02PM (#6495251) Journal
      The powerbook is more expensive! Macs have to be more expensive, or what would the trolls complain about (Greater ease of use? Longer battery life?)?
      • Or higher quality construction? Or new features first (802.11g, Bluetooth, DVD-R, Firewire, USB)? The trolls have really run out of things to say.
    • by rzbx (236929)
      Want good price and small size. Check out the Fujitsu P2000 series. Starting at around $1300. http://www.fujitsupc.com/

      Few quick specs:
      Transmeta 933mhz Crusoe
      10.6" Widescreen SXGA
      256 RAM, up to 384
      DVD/CD-RW drive
      Mobility Radeon
      2.8-3.4 lbs
      optional built in wireless as well

      Too small for me though, so I bought the S2000 with the AMD proc.
    • by 73939133 (676561)
      Apple's 12" Powerbook costs $1,600 ($1,400 for students), while the new Sony Vaio is expected to cost around $2,000.

      That's probably because the Sony hardware is quite a bit nicer: 3 pounds vs. 4.6 pounds, 1280x768 screen vs. 1024x768 screen, PCMCIA slot vs. no PCMCIA slot, USB2 vs. no USB2. The difference in weight alone is a huge difference and should more than account for the price difference.

      If you want something directly comparable to the 12" Powerbook, the Fujitsu P5000 is the same price and the sa
    • by frogfroth (648471)
      Another *possible* advantage of the Sony would be the integrated cameara. However, the new iSight from Apple probably produces better images and for $1800 (12"PB w/SuperDrive) + $150 iSight even without discounts the machine comes in at a lower price, in addition to getting *DVD burner *extra two inches of screen, give or take *OS X and iLife, etc. etc. *FireWire Hmm, doens't seem much like a PowerBook killer at all.
  • Untapped Market? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VidarJMD (680958) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:45PM (#6495132)
    It seems to me there is a largely untapped market for notebooks. As I shop for one I am looking for a small, lightweight system with a long lasting battery. What I am NOT looking for is a 1Ghz+ system. I do not want a laptop that replaces my desktop but instead one that accompanies it. 500MHz is plenty for something that I would use for word processing, listening to music, and browsing the web. As processor technology improves you'd thing the long battery life and other features would make a great combination with older processors but I never see that. The only choice is to buy an old laptop but it's big and bulky and usually used. On top of that the cost savings isn't enough to warrent such a device. Why don't I ever see something like this: Pentium III 500MHz 20GB Harddrive 128MB RAM 12 inch screen 4lbs or less And some crappy 4MB video for $500 I'd buy one in a heartbeat. I just want something portable yet more capable than a PDA. I don't want to replace my desktop.
    • Re:Untapped Market? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gmg (94371)
      The specs that you mentioned are quite close to the old Toshiba Portege 1740ct. I recall that it came with a much smaller hard drive (6 or 10 gigs), but everything else is the same, including the crappy 4 meg trident cyblade video card. I dont recall battery life. Ran debian quite nicely though. Ironically, used 1740s are probably selling for less than $500 on the internet right now.
    • Re:Untapped Market? (Score:2, Informative)

      by ksi440 (691272)
      Pointed out earlier in this thread, but Fujitsu [fujitsupc.com] seems to be the leader in this area.

      Check here [fujitsupc.com] and look at the ultraportable section. The specs on the P5000 [fujitsupc.com] seem to match your requirements.

      Also, on the seriously portable side, they have the P1000 [fujitsupc.com] (2.2 lbs, no cd) and the P2000 [fujitsupc.com] (3.4 lbs, DVD ).

    • Re:Untapped Market? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I just had the same discussion with my friend who is now in charge of buying for the aeronautical company he works for and he says he has yet to authorize a laptop upgrade....

      a Thinkpad running P3-900 with 256megs ram DOES NOT have to be replaced for people who basically run spreadsheet, powerpoint, browser, mail client.
      A few CAD program users but they never bitched. its the sales and marketing guys (surprise) who are always claiming that NOT having a Powerbook is affecting their work.

      zeke
  • PB 12" Killer? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bastard01 (532616)
    Um, if I remember the benches [macspeedzone.com] for everyday use, there already was a 12" powerbook killer [apple.com]. Not much less performance, with the exception on altivec, and cheaper too.
  • by rtnz (207422) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:46PM (#6495143) Homepage
    Not sure if this one runs Linux but anyone else running Linux on Sony Laptops should check out the linux-sony mailing list [returntonature.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:49PM (#6495157)
    This VAIO costs $700 more than a 12" Powerbook. Show me a Mac user who actually wants a Windows machine, or better yet, wants to pay *more* for one?
  • by danlor (309557) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:49PM (#6495159) Homepage
    Have you ever tried to call Sony's support desk? I have a pretty sweet little sony R505-ELK. It has been a really great machine, until I started loosing sectors. So I called them up to get a warentee replacement. They told me... and I quote... "That's only a couple megs! You have a 30 gig drive. That doesn't come close to meeting our criteria for failure." They went on to explain that they would not replace the drive until it was completely nonfunctional.

    So. Please keep this in mind before you make the leap. Dell and Apple have high support ratings for a reason. Your laptop WILL fail at some point. Make sure you pick a company that honors thier warentees. Although as of late, Dell has been getting pretty bad too.
  • I haven't seen the pictures of this one, but my former boss (hey Bill, if you're still reading /.), had an older generation of Picturebook. They are much smaller than a Picturebook, or indeed anything else with a (sorta) full-size keyboard. Depending on what you intend to do with a notebook computer, the extra portability (you can shove one in a backpack and still have plenty of room for other stuff) makes them an alternative worth looking at.
  • How's the screen and keyboard? I drooled over the Actius MM10 for months, but when I went to Micro Center I immediately hated it. The 10" screen tries to pack in a resolution of 1024 x 768, and the keyboard is tiny. Heck, the thing is even missing one of the shift keys... Since most of what I do on a subnote is typing (since, given their power, they aren't decent for gaming), screen size and keyboard usability (and battery life) are some of the largest factors for me. My iBook has a great keyboard (the one
  • Does it run OS X? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Phantasmo (586700)
    No, no OS X for this machine. Guess it's not a Powerbook killer.
  • by macemoneta (154740) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:17PM (#6495330) Homepage
    I've just this weekend completed installation of muLinux [sunsite.dk] on an old 25MHz 486SX laptop with 8MB of RAM and a 500MB hard drive that I got for free (because the previous owner thought it was trash). It weights about 4 pounds, and has a TFT color 640x480 screen. I'm now browsing the web, reading email, and SSHing into my server with it. It's very usable.

    I have to wonder why so much perfectly good equipment goes to waste, while people lust after new machines, so that their CPU idle time can go from 99% to 99.5%. Especially among the ./ geeks, who probably have top end machines already.

    Seriously people, if you want to play a game, get a game console. If you want some REAL fun, install Linux with just a floppy drive. :-)

  • by obi (118631)
    Anyone know of something with this or similar formfactor (light/thin/10"-12"), and a decent, linux-supported 3D chip?

    I think there's DRI drivers for the 855 in this sony, but I doubt the chip is a good performer (can anyone shed some light on it?)

    I love this one, or the Toshiba R100 form factor, but I really want some proper 3D in my next laptop.

  • Firewire? (Score:3, Informative)

    by b1t r0t (216468) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:46PM (#6495510)
    Knowing Sony, they're probably going to be those crippled (as in no power supply wires) iLink ports. I can't tell from the linked pictures. If so, you can forget about using Firewire to charge an iPod, or using a bus-powered hard drive.
  • Sony support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by weg (196564) on Monday July 21, 2003 @08:46PM (#6495818)
    Since I've experienced Sony's so called "support" I've decided to never buy a Sony product again. My girl friend had problems with her Sony Vaio FX802, so we sent it in and it came back unrepaired. I had to beg them to pick it up again, btw. the hotline is not free in Austria, even if you still have warranty. This time I added a very detailed description on how to reproduce the error, however, the technician ignored it and called my girl friend to complain in a very harsh tone that the notebook was not defect. I talked to the technician and could convince him that it was in fact defect, and after 3 more weeks we got it back (they exchanged the motherboard). However, when putting it together again, they forgot the screw that fixates the DVD ROM... had to provide one myself. Facit: My girl friend bought a new notbook that was significantly more expensive than others, believing that Sony's support would be better than the support of no-name manufacturers. She ended up waiting 1.5 months for her notebook.. in the meantime, it had of course become significantly cheaper. I'm now thinking about buying an Apple Powerbook. Can anybody tell me about his experiences with Apple's support?
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Monday July 21, 2003 @09:58PM (#6496233) Homepage
    The Vaios I have seen had what amounted their own version of Windows. They seem to have funky BIOS, hardware, and drivers. In my opinion, Windows Update slowly destroys the machine as these goofball drivers become less and less compatible with the new DLLs you get from Microsoft. I wonder if the word "Vaio" is perhaps Japanese for "disaster"? Sony makes alot of great products, but the Vaio is not one of them. Check Usenet; see just how satisfied the customers really are. Then buy some other brand, any other brand. You really can't do much worse.

    Vaios look cool, and we have a few PHBs who fell in love with the style and (lack of) weight, but they are a total nuisance for the support staff. Our travelling people occasionally gripe about the weight of their IBM Thinkpads, but at least they aren't calling headquarters with show-stopper events in the field.
  • by UnixRevolution (597440) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:48AM (#6496933) Homepage Journal
    the new sony:

    900MHz Centrino
    512MB Memory
    30GB Hard drive
    802.11b
    10.6" TFT
    3.11 Pounds
    ~$2000

    867MHz PowerPC G4
    640MB DDR266 (128MB built-in & 512MB SO-DIMM)
    40GB Ultra ATA drive
    SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    AirPort Extreme Card
    Keyboard/Mac OS for SuperDrive - U.S. English
    12.1-inch TFT Display
    $2048

    128MB more memory, 10GB more hard drive, faster processor (almost even on bare clock speed, even!) and has OS X with UNIX goodness out of the box, and a larger display by more than an inch. for about $48 more.

    and this is a powerbook killer how?

    sure, the apple is a bit heavier, but 4.6 pounds is still damn light. Also, do you think the sony really is going to last 7 hours on a battery? i know my 14" ibook has lasted more than 6.

  • by Nijika (525558) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @01:59AM (#6497207) Homepage Journal
    Uh, yeah. It looks like a Powerbook, and it's 12", this obviously spells DOOM for the whole line. Right. Anyway, like between September and November probably, we're going to see more G5 products being rolled out, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Powerbook in there.

    Killer? We haven't seen the tip of the iceberg yet. Come 2004 I'll be posting from my 64 bit notebook. I'm sure I won't take a second look at this Sony after today.

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