Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 5: The Mobile Stuff

Sony VAIO VGN-UX280P Micro PC

As components become smaller and smaller and CPU technologies require less power, it's amazing just how small an ultra compact notebook PC can be these days. The Sony VAIO VGN-UX280P makes a great case in point: you'll find a lot more power and capability inside its svelte 5.91" x 3.74" x 1.5" case than you might expect. At a weight of 1.1 lbs, in fact, it's both lighter and smaller than a typical hardback book.

The UX280P is no slouch in terms of its standard configuration either. It's built around an ultra-low voltage Intel Core Solo ULV 1400 processor, which runs at a respectable 1.2 GHz. It also includes a tiny 40 GB 4,200 RPM Ultra ATA hard disk, along with 1 GB of PC2-3200 533 MHz DDR2 SO-DIMM RAM. These features make the UX280P Windows Vista compatible.

The ultra small computer features a 4.5" (diagonal) SVGA touch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, driven by an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 chipset that can use up to 128 MB of dynamically allocated RAM for video output. It offers an Intel Pro 3945 ABG wireless graphics chipset, with a V.90 modem, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth, and 802.11 a/b/g wireless LAN support.

There's even an electrostatic touch pad to serve as a mouse, along with a diminutive but relatively functional 82-key QWERTY keyboard, plus built-in digital cameras (a 0.3 M pixel camera on the front, and a 1.3 M pixel camera on the back). What's more, the UX280P comes with Windows XP Professional pre-installed (SP2 version), plus trial versions of Norton Internet Security, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware, Microsoft Office 2003 and Sony Games, as well as full-blown versions of Microsoft Works 5, Microsoft Streets & Trips, Pen Plus, and more. When the sled hits the trail, this Sony UX280P won't win any performance prizes, but it's more than adequate for browsing the Web, handling office work, reading e-mail, and other typical road warrior activities. An included port replicator makes it easy to use a standard keyboard, mouse and monitor.

This is one heck of a Christmas gift to be sure, especially if you can land a nice discount.

See our full review of the Sony UX 180P Micro PC here. The UX180P is the same as the UX 280P except the 180P has only 512 MB of non-upgradeable memory and a 30 GB instead of a 40 GB hard disk drive, meaning it is not Windows Vista compatible.

Related Articles:
Part 1: Motherboards, Processors, Coolers and RAM
Part 2: 2006 Networking Holiday Buyer's Guide
Part 3: Components & Peripherals Buyer's Guide
Part 4: Gifts for Non-Geeks
Is BlackBerry's Pearl a Little Gem or Rough Diamond?
Four Graphics Capable Notebooks Ready For Business
Sony's Sizzling UX180P Micro PC Reviewed

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Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a long-time IT writer, researcher and consultant, and occasional contributor to Tom’s Hardware. A Windows Insider MVP since 2018, he likes to cover OS-related driver, troubleshooting, and security topics.