March 19th, 2009

Sony Mini-Computer with Built-In GPS

Imagine if you could have a powerful Windows-based portable PC that would run your ballistics programs, sync with your chronograph, run Excel spread sheets (with reloading logs), connect wirelessly to the internet for weather info and load data, AND provide built-in GPS Navigation. OK, now imagine having all those capabilities (plus a camera) in a 1.4-pound computer with a compact 9.65″ x 4.72″ footprint!

Sony Vaio P

Sound impossible? Not any more. The new Sony Vaio P-Series can do everything we’ve described and still fit easily inside a range-bag or vehicle glove-box. About as thin as a deck of cards, this remarkable little computer can perform a myriad of tasks for the shooter and outdoor sportsman. On the way to the range, you can use it for in-vehicle navigation — with its built-in GPS it provides turn-by-turn instructions (no internet connection needed for GPS services). Once you get to your destination you can then hook it up to your chronograph, or use it to run ExBal or other ballistics program.

Sony Vaio P

Pros and Cons of Vaio P
We really like that fact that the Vaio P is so small and light. The portability means the device gets used much more, providing a web connection nearly everywhere you go (in urban areas). This editor has a 9-lb laptop with a 17″ screen. It’s a nice unit, but it rarely gets used because it’s so darn big and heavy. Conversely, I can easily bring the Vaio P anytime I’m in the car.

Sony Vaio P

The screen on the Sony Vaio P, though it offers 1600 x 768 resolution, is quite small, and won’t display most web pages without scrolling vertically. If you have a target-cam, you’ll be much happier using a standard-size laptop for a display. The 1600×768 resolution stuffs so many pixels in a small space that words are hard to read and there’s no quick path to change the resolution. However, when you’re on the web, you can use the browser’s zoom function to enlarge font size.

The Vaio P comes with a 60 gig conventional hard drive. We wish a Solid State Drive (SSD) was standard. A SSD is more shock-resistant and would consume less power. However, Sony does offer 64 GB or 128 GB SSDs as extra-cost options. As it is, the Sony Vaio P is pretty expensive at $899.00 street price.

For operating systems you have a choice of Windows Vista Premium or Vista Home for the Vaio P. We wish Sony gave buyers an XP or Linux OS option. Dell offers these choices with the Dell Mini laptop.

A Unique Product
The Vaio P is not a perfect product. At about $900.00, it’s expensive as mini-laptops go. However, when you consider that this can replace a GPS Navigation unit, a PDA (for your ballistics program), a Blackberry, and a digital camera, the Vaio P is an attractive alternative. Since it’s small enough to be truly portable, we think a device like this will actually get used a lot more than a big, heavy laptop. And if the Vaio P proves to be something you use virtually every day (like your cell-phone), then it’s well worth the investment. The Vaio P was a CNET “Best of CES” Award winner for 2009.

Sony Vaio P

Similar Posts:

Tags: , , ,