The Sony VAIO P Series Lifestyle PC

Sony just announced today the Sony VAIO P Series Lifestyle PC. Sony this time packs a 1600×768 8-inch backlit XBRITE-ECO LED screen, 1.33Ghz Intel Processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11n, WAN 3G Mobile Broadband, A2DP capable Bluetooth, built-in GPS and webcam in to the 1.4 pound, 10.99″ x 0.93″ x 7.87″ VAIO P. Sony claims a 4-hour battery life on the standard batter and up to 8 hours on the extended.

The Sony VAIO P will arrive February for $900 (60 GB HD), $1200 (64GB SSD), $1500 (128GB SSD), and extended battery for $129. It is available for pre-order now at SonyStyle.

Custom made low-clearance power plugs for your UX
low clearance plug

Yeggster of the forums has had a thread going for quite a while asking if there was any interest in people purchasing low-clearance power plugs that he has made, and it turns out that there has been enough of a response to prompt him to start selling them. Any UX owner knows that the connector for the AC plug is on the bottom of the unit and the location can make it hard to plug the UX in while it is in a stand, or sitting in the popular iGo Bluetooth keyboard. The plug aims to solve this problem; it is really a short extension that accepts the AC plug on one end, then plugs into the UX on the other. The difference between the AC plug and the end of the extension is that the extension end is relatively flat and allows the UX to be plugged in while in a stand without being at an awkward or unmanageable angle.

Yeggster has even put together a nice site for information on the low-clearence power adapter, you can visit that site here, or find more information/ask questions in the ogriginal thread. Check out this page of the site which does a great job of showing the problem, and how this plug fixes it. Yeggster has been a long time MPCT member and I would have no qualms buying from him myself. Also he recently fried his UX, so if you are on the wall on the purchase consider that you may be helping him fund future UX ventures!

Introducing MPCT Power Search provided by Google CS

Using Google Custom Search, I have created a power search specifically for MPCT. The page will search the MPCT front page, MPCT forums, and the MPCT Wiki. You can use the “Forums” and “Micro PC Talk Wiki” links at the top of the results to narrow your search to just the forums, or just the Wiki. The best part about this is that it is all powered by Google Search so you will be getting quality results. Try it out here!

EDIT: The MPCT Power Search is now incorporated on the main page as the default search tool.

DIY Gamepad Controller for the UX

genius.jpgIn his quest to play games more efficiently on the Vaio UX Micro PC, Micro PC Talk member danmiddle2 decided to hack the Genius MaxFire Pandora Pro USB gamepad controller and modify it to become a perfect UX accessory.

Basically - it still connects via the USB, but is mounted via the Compact Flash blanking card, for stability and removability (didn’t want to glue anything to the UX itself. The second half of the controller was removed and re-attached to the back, giving reasonable access to all 8 buttons.

Check out the video that danmiddle2 posted at YouTube:

Don’t worry, I’m not leaving!

Some of you may have seen my recent announcement over at UMPC Portal that I am joining the writing team. I just wanted to quell any concerns that I won’t still be taking care of MPCT. I’ll still be around and active as I’ve always been, posting front page UX related news, and interacting with all the great people we have in the forum. My work over at is similar, but covers a more broad scope of the UMPC world, MPCT will remain UX focused.

What is the UX383CN?
Sonystyle canada

Snooping around one of Sony’s sites, I found mention of a VGN-UX383CN, a UX model that I don’t believe has been seen before. CN is generally the tag that denotes a Canada localized product (on Sony products at least). SonyStyle Canada has had the UX380CN for sale on their site for months now. So that begs the question: what is the UX383CN? My best guess is that it is the Canadian equivalent of the UX490. You might ask “Why wouldn’t they just call it the UX490CN?” well my friends, Sony might actually be sparing us confusion in the model number department this time around. There is a US UX version with the model number VGN-UX490NC. The UX490NC is the UX490N+Extended Battery+Bluetooth GPS Adapter bundle as sold by SonyStyle here in the US. A model titled “UX490CN” would get extremely confusing for customers. If the UX383 does turn out to be a Canadian version of the UX490, you can expect the same specs: 1.2Ghz Core 2 Solo CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 48GB SSD. The only difference would most likely be the inclusion of CF slot in place of an EDGE modem. More details when they appear.

Results are in: UX490 running Windows XP is the fastest UMPC in town
Vista vs. XP dial

Using some of the resources in the forums, member Halx was able to install Windows XP on his UX490. He was kind enough to drop us some benchmarks, and as far as I know, this confirms that a UX490 running Windows XP is the fastest performing UMPC currently on the market. The meters above represent the total Crystal Mark score. Below is a breakdown graph comparing the UX490 running Windows XP, to an identical unit running Windows Vista. As expected, XP uniformly outperforms Vista in every area.

Vista vs. XP graph
Custom made hardcover screen protector and stand for UX
hardcase 1

Halx of the forums has hand crafted a great looking hardcover case, that doubles as a stand, for his UX. The cleverly designed accessory attaches to the UX using the same slots that the dock uses to hang onto the UX. Halx says the hand made cover took him nearly 6 hours to make, and its made using two pieces of acrylic glass. As you can see in the following pictures, there is a cutout for the fingerprint scanner which appears to be cut at an angle to allow the finger to slide over it easily. Check out more shots below, and stop by Halx’s original thread for addition pictures and information.


VGN-UX491-MCD to include mini-CD drive

For those of you late to the party: This was an April Fool’s joke! 

In a surprising move, it appears that Sony is getting ready to unveil the newest model in the UX series, which will include a mini-CD drive. The aptly named VGN-UX491-MCD will remove the EDGE module to make way for a mini-CD drive which will accept 8cm ‘mini-CDs’. The unit is identical to the UX490 in all ways (48GB SSD, 1.2Ghz Core 2 Solo, 1GB of RAM) except for the new drive.

Mini-CDs, if you will recall, hold around 200mb of data, and are otherwise identical to the larger 12cm CD other than in size. Luckily the diameter of the hole in the center of the mini-CD is the same as a full sized CD, this means that mini-CDs that you use in your UX will also be able to function in most standard CD drives. The drive will be able to burn mini-CDs (no word on speed yet), and this will finally offer an out-of-the-box option for UX users to burn their own recovery disks. Users will be able to use the recovery software that comes pre-installed to burn their recovery disks which will fit on 23 mini-CDs.

The drive will most likely use a non-powered eject (no motors to eject the drive, just a ‘pop’ similar to many laptop drives). No word yet on pricing, availability, or if non-US CF slot models will see the same treatment.

This information comes from the UX491-MCD flash tour which seemed to have mistakenly gone up early on in place of the UX490’s flash tour. It looks like Sony has already caught their mistake and removed the flash preview of the UX491-MCD, I’ll keep these images mirrored here for future reference.

UX490 heads to Korea as the UX58LN

Sony’s most recent UX permutation, the UX490N, is heading to Korea as the UX58LN. The unit will include the same 48GB SSD, 1.2GHz Core 2 Solo (U2200), 1GB of RAM, and some iteration of Vista. Unconfirmed but assumed to be true is that the UX58LN will include a CF slot in place of the EDGE modem on its US counterpart. Additionally I cannot find any information as to whether the UX58LN will include the extended battery and Sony Bluetooth GPS adapter as the UX490N/C package did. I’ll update this post if I find out any more info on these discrepancies.

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