The Sony VAIO TT | Sony's Answer to the Mini Laptop Boom?

Sony VAIO TT

The Sony VAIO TT is not a netbook! At least that's Sony's story. Sony is yet to grace the market with what they call a VAIO mini laptop, in fact Sony has been openly reluctant to produce and sell anything they might call a netbook with Sony executives having stated that the cheap notebook concept doesn't align with Sony’s 'premium' image.

Where is a Sony Netbook?

In recent years, Sony have come out with some very genuine very up-market products that support this claim. Sony’s Bravia TV range is a market leader, they’ve continued the ‘Walkman’ legacy against the might of the Apple iPod and iTunes and in gaming, it’s extended its PlayStation brand, replacing the best-seller PS2 with the PS3 fighting against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii.

When it comes to laptops and notebooks we can't omit the fact that it's VAIO line is also very good. Are they ignoring the netbook market altogether? If you ask their marketing department, yes, but the truth is somewhat different.

Sony doesn't and isn't ever likely to be associated with the cheep and cheerful image presented by Asus as when it brought out the Eee PC but they do have a VAIO laptop that is small, light and portable: the Sony VAIO TT

Sony VAIO TT: The Smallest Blu-Ray Notebook.

The Sony VAIO TT is an impressive product, offering an 11.1 inch screen, up to 9 hours battery life and weighing a petite 1.3kg putting it on par with the 8.9 inch HP Mini Note and lighter versions of the Asus Eee PC 1000.

All of the TT models feature a strong carbon fibre chassis in a choice of two colours, ‘intense noir’ and ‘gold fever’. Sony proclaims carbon fibre is “used in racing car or aircraft manufacturing and is 200% stronger and 30% lighter than conventional materials used in computer chassis design.”

Sony VAIO TT Blu-Ray

A bi-product of the larger screen is a larger keyboard which is very nearly (but not quite) comparable to that of a full size notebook. The keys are large and separated slightly, with the centre of each key indented marginally for better accuracy.

With Sony’s TV background, the 11.1 screen comes with a lot of expertise. Viewing on its widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio and 1366x768 resolution, is delightful.

The TT is unique (if you grace it as being a netbook) in having the ability to read blu-ray discs (or any disc) which gives you far more flexibility than those without. No need to mess around burning DVD’s or downloading films online - and the quality is such that the viewing quality isn’t compromised either.

The huge battery life – up to 9 hours - lends itself to use whilst away on business, more than enough for a full working day. Sony has incorporated a variety of power-saving and efficiency features, such as the battery care function which prevents wear and tear on the batteries, automatic adjustment of LCD brightness according to the environment you’re working in and the use ultra-efficient Intel Centrino 2 technology.

Connectivity is certainly at the heart of the TT, with embedded 3G ‘Everywair’ on several models with speeds as high as 7.2mbps. In the UK A T-Mobile sim card is incorporated on a free trial. Luckily, you can remove it and use your own sim card so you’re not bound to a new contract.

Sony VAIO TT Keyboard

Perhaps then, Sony has very definitely entered the mini laptop market, but specifically marketing it as if they haven’t. Oh yes, Sony drone on about “slim and sophisticated design” and how portable it is, but Sony is very reluctant to use the ‘n’ word. Perhaps it needs to be said for them. 'Netbook'. There we said it.

Conclusion.

The difference between the Sony VAIO TT and a typical netbook like the Asus Eee PC or the Acer Aspire One is so profound. Are they in the same league? Price wise, certainly not; the Sony VAIO TT is expected to retail at around 3-4 times the price of the others.

When it comes to functionality it’s certainly just as portable and useable; however, it is clear Sony’s taken a different approach to portability.

Asus pioneered the netbook by starting afresh, building a small computer that could handle simple tasks processing, quick internet and making it affordable. Sony’s answer was to reduce the size and weight to make it ultraportable whilst retaining all the features of a standard notebook. The result is a very high performance laptop, that has the size and weight properties of a netbook – it is, if you like, the sophisticated mini laptop.


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