Sony announces the VAIO W “internet book”

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7 Jul, 2009 2:15 pm

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Sony VAIO WSony really doesn’t like the name netbook and now when the company has finally gotten around to launch what’s really a netbook, they’ve come up with a new term, just because they’re Sony – Internet book.

The Vaio W (VPCW119XJ) will come in three colours, white (although it looks more silver to us), pink and brown. The white model will launch in Japan on the 8th of August with the pink version following on the 22nd with no word on when the brown model will become available.

As much as the VAIO W uses an Intel Atom N280, the 945GSE chipset, 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive, which is typical netbook specifications, Sony has definitely tried to make something that’s different enough to draw the attention of potential buyers.

For starts, the VAIO W has a 10.1-inch display and at first you’d think that there’s nothing special with it. However, it has 1,366×768 resolution, something many a netbook user will appreciate and only Dell has been offering this so far as an upgrade option on some of its 10-inch netbook models.

We’re not so keen on the port layout though, as on the left hand side you have the power connector, D-sub and a pair of audio jacks and that’s it. The front is home to the wireless on/off switch and what appears to be two memory card readers, one for Sony’s own Memory Stick format and one for SD cards. The power button is also located on the front. Finally on the right hand side we have two USB 2.0 ports and the Ethernet port.

We can’t but feel that Sony was a little bit stingy by just adding two USB 2.0 ports, especially as the ship the VAIO P with an optical USB mouse in matching colour. Other features include 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR.

The keyboard is mostly good news, although the right hand shift key is located in the wrong place, at least on the Japanese keyboard layout, as it’s on the far right hand side, past the arrow keys. Hopefully this will be rectified on non Japanase models which have a different keyboard layout. The touch Pad features what can only be described as a psychedelic pattern and sadly there’s no word with regards to it being multi-touch or not.

The VAIO W measures 267.8×179.6×27.5 – 32.4mm (WxDxH) and weighs in at a reasonable 1.19kg with a 3-cell battery that Sony rates at 3.5h of usage. It should be possible to add a higher capacity battery, as the battery compartment is at the rear of the netbook.

If the price quoted by Impress PC Watch is indeed correct, then the VAIO W will hit retail in Japan for about €450/$630 which places it in the most expensive tier of netbooks and we’re not sure if it really belongs there. You can find the press release here (in Japanese). Also make sure you check out the video below. (pictures courtesy of Impress PC Watch)

Sony UK has also added the VAIO W to its website and you can find it here

Update 2
Sony US has now confirmed the Vaio W as well, for $500 or there abouts, although the product is still missing from their website, but Engadget has the scoop


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