Sony Vaio VGN-U70 - e-book reader for the rich?
#1  Colin Dunstan 05-12-2004, 03:04 PM
Just a month ago, Sony launched the LibriƩ 1000-EP, arguably the world's first true electronic book. Now, it unveils its second coup: a keyboardless PC which is not a Tablet PC, but the world's smallest full-function Windows PC, a pen-operated, wireless-enabled computer pitched at mobile media consumers.

According to The Register, driving the U70 is a 1GHz Ultra-low Voltage Pentium M and Intel's i855GM integrated chipset - so yes, it's a Centrino machine. And, indeed, we find the machine has an 802.11g Wi-Fi adaptor built in. It also has a 20GB hard drive and 512MB of memory. There's a USB 2.0 port, and CompactFlash and MemoryStick Pro ports for expansion. The unit is powered by a slimline Lithium Polymer battery capable of providing around two-and-a-half hours' operating time. Japanese consumers will be able to up that to 5.5 hours, courtesy of an alternative, 'extended' battery. But it added 145g to the weight.

The size of the screen is five inches, which stands somewhere between a regular PDA and a Tablet PC. Since I found my PDA always too small for reading longer texts, that sounds like a good solution to me.

Only negative: Price is targeted at 1871 USD; even the cheaper version still costs 1595 USD

#2  mochant 05-13-2004, 06:58 PM
Like a lot of Sony products, it does look cool (I carry a Clie UX50 around now). For that price though, I'm glad I invested a few hundred more and got a full-blown Tablet PC which is an incredible platform for e-reading.

I'm using Palm Reader Pro, Microsoft Reader, and Zinio and all are at least very good. Zinio is best because it has pen capabilities built into it but it is a magazine not a book reader.

#3  Alexander Turcic 05-14-2004, 09:01 AM
I must admit I've never seen a Tablet PC in action. Thus cannot comment on its qualities for reading e-books.

Isn't a Tablet PC somewhat unhandy e.g. when you want to read an e-book in bed?

#4  mochant 05-14-2004, 10:00 AM
Not at all Alexander. It's quite nice having a display that is about the size of a dead tree book with annotation, highlighting, bookmarking, etc. that offers 4-5 hour battery life. My Toshiba Portege M205 weighs about 4.5 lbs and props up nicely when I'm stretched out in bed or on the couch. Compared to the small screen on my UX50 (or my old NR70), both of which offer the highest res of any PDAs (480 x 320), it's a much more confortable way to read.

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