Here are some quick thoughts on the Sony UX180P UMPC and using it the past 24 hours.
1) I went to Boy Scouts last night and the UX garnered a lot of attention – from parents and scouts alike. The first word out of several scouts who saw it was “ Is that an Origami?” They really flipped out when I slid the screen up to reveal the keyboard, let them hold it, type, move the mouse, etc. Then I showed them the camera and the ability to switch from front to rear on the fly and that really wowed them. Most of the parents did double-takes, taking turns wanting to hold it. There were a lot of common reactions: it feels really good to hold, the text is really small, a perfect take any where computer, I WANT ONE ( until they hear how much it is ). I asked my kids: “Which one would you want to take on a trip with you : the Fujitsu P1510D, the eo, or the UX180P?” Both Dax and Maggie replied that they would prefer the UX180P because they could type on it, be on the internet, and hold it like a game. That tells me that the OEMs need to take a hard look at including slide out keyboards.
2) As I’ve played with the Pen software that the UX came with, I’ve found very little vectoring issues. This is primarily because there really is no place to rest your hand on the screen. I can see myself taking notes on this thing – really. It won’t be like taking notes on a 12” LE1600, but I’m thinking it is going to be ok. Not ideal, but ok.
3) The UX180P comes with a 30GB harddrive. 10 GB is partitioned off for recovery, 4gb already used for system stuff. So that leave 15 GB out of a 30 GB harddrive to actually use. That is no where near enough space. I’ve already created my recovery cds and am about to wipe out the recovery partition, and create another partition to install Vista on. I’ll likely end up getting a 60 GB Toshiba drive for it.
4) Having embedded Edge on this thing is really, really cool. I went from the wifi in my house to Cingular Edge with a push of a button. Edge is not nearly as fast as Verizon EV-DO, but it certainly keeps you connected with very little for the end user to do.
5) The keyboard is really nice ( and a must have in my opinion), but the lack of textual feed back on the keys is bothersome – the keys lay almost flat to the surface. Like others have reported, the missing right hand shift key is a big pain. For example, to type an email address, you have to hold down the shift key and the 2 at the same time to type an @. That means your right thumb has to stretch a good ways to press the 2. That said, this keyboard solution is sooo much better than the on-screen keyboard that comes with the Origamis. You can actually see where you are typing. After having used both an eo with no keyboard and ux180p with a keyboard, I’d be hard pressed to go to an origami without a keyboard again. The experience, to me, is that much better. My wife immediately took to it, there was no fumbling around with software, etc. Just type.
6) Touch at this resolution works, but it isn’t a good experience. Everything is too small. I use the mouse and mouse buttons all the time, rarely using the stylus or my finger. But it is nice to know that it is there if I want to.
7) The screen resolution is small – no doubt about it. I get that comment from almost everyone who sees it. Cary Philips mentioned that if you are comfortable with 1400 x 1050 on a 12”, you should be ok with this. Otherwise, it could be too small for you. I personally really like this resolution, but if Sony came out with one that was 800 x 600, I think they would have a real winner on their hands. As soon as folks finish talking about how small the text is, they say “ You know, I could really see myself using this and taking it with me”.
BTW: the best tip I have to help with resolution is to turn on Large Fonts in Display Settings. Also go up to 120% DPI if the text is still too small (where Large Fonts don’t apply). I’m playing with various settings, but I keep going back to regular settings.
To me, it feels like what I thought an Origami would be. Natural.
Anyway, that is a little bit of “first thoughts” I’ll have more to say as I continue to use it, and install Vista on it to try out actual inking and notetaking. BTW: Sony really, really messed up by not putting the Tablet PC OS on it. Should have been there from the beginning.