At first glance, Sony’s UX Micro PC is noticeably bulky. The first thing most people notice other than the touch screen include the fingerprint reader and the Motion Eye Camera on top. The buttons on the side of the screen function as the left-click, right-click, and mouse thumb pad. Due to the nature of the small touch screen, the other buttons allow access to the zoom function and the on-screen keyboard. Also included are hard-keys for disabling WiFi to save battery life as well as a power button. The bottom of the UX has a standard line in and line out (headphone and microphone), a power supply jack, and an expansion slot. The only other port on the machine is a USB 2.0 slot on left, however access to more USB and a Ethernet ports can be made available using the mini port replicator, which plugs into the bottom. In addition a button for snapping photos and a Memory Stick Duo slot are found above the unit.
The HDD-based model we tested was quite fast for its size. It took roughly 50 seconds to reach the login screen after booting up, which is quite slower than a standard laptop. (runs Win XP) However the all new flash-based models will probably be much faster, in addition to being power efficient. The unit can have a max of 1 GB of RAM and a CPU of up to 1.33GHz (Intel Core Solo). Switching back and forth between the stylus and the keyboard can get quite annoying after a while. The battery life on this HDD-based unit is quite horrible, I could only get around 2hrs out of it with the WiFi enabled. (at least +4hrs needed) The device also has Cingular Wireless Internet (paid service) to compliment the Bluetooth and WiFi. The included features are quite powerful, but lacks true functionality.
The UX has a full QWERTY keyboard which slides out below the screen. The keyboard takes a little getting used since the keys are flat around the edges. The enter and backspace keys are quite hard to use since they are curved at the edges to go along with the style of the unit. Another drawback which makes it harder to get comfortable typing, is the unusual key placement. (they had to crunch them together) However a big bonus is the fully backlit keyboard (blue LEDs), which makes typing a whole lot easier in poorly lighted places. Typing for long periods of time gets quite uncomfortable and the extremely tiny spacebar only makes it worse.
With a small 30GB HDD and a very limited battery life, the device is lacking on many fronts. However newer batteries and the flash-based technology may have improved this device. A raised keyboard to offer touch feedback and possible predictive text entry can improve the device. Also for a device meant to be portable, 2 pounds is pretty heavy. If plan to use it for just web browsing, email, and other small functions, and are willing to spend around $2,000, this might be for you. However personally I would wait for an improved device with more HDD and Battery!
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