"Brings the 'office' to the 'field'"4.5 starson by Dumasnobs
Pros: Compact, powerful, usable, complete
Cons: Single WWLAN carrier
Summary: Would you take your Mercedes SLK off-road to go bolder hopping, or expect it to carry an average family( mom, dad and 2.2 kids) on a family vacation, then why would you expect an ultra-portable PC to have the visual and tactile characteristics of a desktop PC? The most quoted line in reviews of the UX-390N is that it is a concept in search of a purpose.
For those of us who have a desire to carry many office features to the field without the burden of suitcases of equipment, this device meets those expectations. Spread sheets, documents, contacts, internet access, email, money management, trip and routing information can be carried with you in a package not much bigger than a typical organizer device. All of this using the same software that is on you desktop back at your office, so that when you return it is a simple matter to transfer all accumulated and updated information to your main storage, without the need for transcription.
Issues raised with respect to the readability of text on the screen are easily remedied outside of the zoom features of the UX-390N by utilizing Vista and internal application controls. I have found no problems reading Excel spreadsheets, or Money data on the screen. Given that the screen is over twice the size of typical cell phone screens, that are being used to watch TV and video programming, this appears to be a smoke screen rather than a practical matter. I will grant you that some of the operating system error/warning messages are in very small print, and difficult to read under some conditions.
In several reviews, the 32GB hard drive capacity has been raised as an issue. Fully loaded with Windows Vista Business, Microsoft Office Small Business, Microsoft Money, Microsoft Streets and Trips, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Norton Internet Security and all of the assorted programs that are installed out-of-the-box, about 26GB of disk space is consumed. This leaves 6GB for data and information transported to, and from, the field. You do the math.
Finally, with respect to the battery life of the device, remember that we are not talking about a cell phone here. This is a device that is capable of performing all of the same functions that your desktop PC does, in a package that is less that 1/20th the size. Comparisons should be against other portable PC devices. For most portable PCs, two to four hours of operation of batteries is their limit. Sony has provided an optional extended-life battery that is designed to double the standard battery performance.
In summary, no this is not a device on which you would write your dissertation, create complex spreadsheets, draw detailed CAD projects or even watch the Super Bowl, but if you are looking for a portable PC that can execute the same programs as your office machine, allows you to access and update data created in your office while you are on the road, fits in the palm of your hand and can communicate across a variety of connection media, then this is the machine for you.