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Sony Vaio C1MW PictureBook Review

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the technicolor-world dept.

Hardware 160

daanger0us writes "There is an excellent review of the Sony Vaio C1MW PictureBook that uses the Transmeta Crusoe CPU and has a built in camera so you can capture all those special moments. Here's an excerpt: 'Size is not the only identifying attribute of this VAIO. The built in Motion eye camera is really the most intriguing part of the design - and probably the selling feature. The camera is built in on top of the screen and can flip to point to or away from the driver. The software loads at the push of the capture button and live video begins showing up within seconds. JPEG shots or MPEG2 video can then be recorded and replayed quite easily. With the included 30 Gigabyte hard drive a quick calculation shows that about 10 hours of streaming video and audio can be recorded at a time before running out of room.'"

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It's Mega-Maid sir. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411870)

She's gone from suck... to blow!

In requiem *BSD. Bing!

Slashdot sucks (-1)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411880)

linux sucks
mod me down, loser

Re:Slashdot sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412080)

You're at -1.

We can't mod you down.

I don't understand why you wasted one of your two posts today on that.

Re:Slashdot sucks (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412172)

I'm wasting one of my posts today to call you a cocksucker.

Cool, just... (1)

Slack0ff (590042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411887)

Looks cool, but what else would one expect from sony? Only thing, and i hate to bitch is I hate the CPU! I know im a linux user so im not alowd to hate it, but i used a HPC with one and it was sluggish at best, To really to a good job I would like to see an XScale appearing in these types of devices in the near future.

Re:Cool, just... (-1, Offtopic)

Slack0ff (590042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411936)

Now why are all my post modded to 0? I dont spam, i dont post off-topic, can a mod explain so I can modiify my posting methods?

Re:Cool, just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411983)

Things like this:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=40609&cid=43 21 932

There's only certain comments that are worthy of postive moderation:

1) Succint, Meaningful, and Diplomatic
2) Pandering (aka Karma-whoring)
3) Funny

Stuff like your posts are none of those, and get modded down.

-Andrew

Welcome to 0 (a guide for new users). (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412029)

Get comfortable. Few people see us down here at 0, and fewer still will pay your comments any attention once they think you 'earned' that 0. See, as a new user, it only takes being moderated down once to enter this realm -- a sort of limbo, between the bowels of hell the trolls reside in (-1, can only post twice a day), normalcy (1), and that sweet sweet bit of heaven (2). Every comment you post, until you are moderated up as many points as you've been moderated down, will be at this level.

You're bound to be another point in the whole by the time I get done writing this. However, if you want to climb back up into the sunlight, just write a paragraph about why you don't like the RIAA, MPAA, or Microsoft, or why you do like Linux or the latest product sold by the RIAA/MPAA, at the next ontopic opportunity. Or cut-and-paste somebody else's +5 opinion from a week ago -- that's what it's there for. Soon, you too will be karma-whorin with the best of 'em.

Re:Welcome to 0 (a guide for new users). (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412067)

...just write a paragraph about why you don't like the RIAA, MPAA, or Microsoft, or why you do like Linux or the latest product sold by the RIAA/MPAA, at the next ontopic opportunity. Or cut-and-paste somebody else's +5 opinion from a week ago...
...so sad, but so true

Re:Welcome to 0 (a guide for new users). (1, Offtopic)

Pengo (28814) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412309)

lmfao!!!!!

Re:Welcome to 0 (a guide for new users). (0, Troll)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412484)

I find it unspeakably, laughably ironic that this got modded to 0.

Re:Welcome to 0 (a guide for new users). (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412726)

-1, Troll?
Wow, somebody stored their mod-points in the wrong orifice this morning.

At least, next time, find something more inventive than "Troll", eh? If you're going to be a silly moderator, try using imagination. I suggest:

-1, Short-Post
-1, Too-many-big-words
-1, Responding-to-trolls
-1, I-don't-understand-irony
-1, hey,-aren't-you-the-goat.se-guy?
-1, I-got-turned-down-by-the-girl-in-accounting-again, -now-you-all-must-pay!

Why not just get a digital camera (4, Insightful)

Mr.Nifty (591211) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411890)

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the advantage of this over a traditional notebook and a digital camera. Although that requires two different devices, it lets each of them be smaller, lighter, and more suited to their specific task without harming their ability to work together. This, on the other hand, means that whenever you want to take a video you have to bring your computer, and whenever you want to send an e-mail, you're carrying your camera with you.

Re:Why not just get a digital camera QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411910)

Maybe I'm missing something

Apparently you missed the part about 10 hours streaming video, as well as MPEG2. I don't know of any cameras that can supply either of those.

Re:Why not just get a digital camera (2, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411912)

This is about half the size of a traditional laptop, and thinner than most digital cameras. I have an older model. It fits in the back pocket of my jeans (I wear baggy jeans).

Re:Why not just get a digital camera QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411932)

I wanted http://fel.lat.io, but the IO TLD sucks.

Er, if you just registered "lat.io", how would they even know what you're planning?

Re:Why not just get a digital camera QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412245)

----> Joke

----> Your head

Insert wooshing noise as needed.

Re:Why not just get a digital camera QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412457)

Exactly what is so outlandish about the sig that it was obviously a joke? What, no one would think about registering that name? It's impossible that the registrar of a foreign country would refuse the request?

If he wanted to make a joke, it should be phrased less ambiguously.

Re:Why not just get a digital camera QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412721)

If he wanted to make a joke, it should be phrased less ambiguously.

hi! it's time to dissect a joke again!

I wanted http://fel.lat.io, but the IO TLD sucks.

the first part of this joke comes from the word fellatio, which my girlfriend tells me is "oral stimulation of the penis", or "a blowjob" (she's an english major, so she should know)

the second part of the joke comes from the phrase "the IO TLD sucks". Now, this phrase can be interpreted many ways. first, it is commond on slashdot to insult registrars, so a reader might just take it as being a slight against all registrars. however, given the context of the first part, "to suck" is general parlance for "blowjob", and so the phrase is referring to the domain that was to be registered!

now to get even trickier, it so happens that the tld in question is IO, or 'I/O', input/output. It is (somewhat) common to refer to file reading operations as 'slurping' in the data, which is somewhat close to sucking, so another hidden reference to fellatio!

now the strangest part of the joke is, if the sig writer really wanted fellatio, and the TLD really did suck, then writer got what s/he waned in the first place!

it's a genius .sig!

writers note: that sig was very obviously a joke, and a good one. i love that sig.

Re:Why not just get a digital camera (2)

H310iSe (249662) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412019)

Yea, and it doesn't say what the quality of the sound and video recording is. And can you imagine trying to aim/point this thing AT something you're trying to capture (I con't care if the camera swivles, it needs to move in 3 dimensions). What we need is a portable hard drive with a full set of connectors (lan/bluetooth/802.1ab/ethernet/serial (don't forget serial for those pesky old routers:) ) and an optional (detachable) small screen and some sort of expanding keyboard. Is that so much to ask for?

Re:Why not just get a digital camera (3, Interesting)

FelixCat (594769) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412134)

I agree. The resolution of the camera is not much better than a cheap webcam. Sure it's nice to have the camera integrated into the laptop, but it's really not much more than a novelty. I had one of these for a few weeks, and I found the video was really bad in low light conditions, and the resolution wasn't very good either.

I far better option is to get a Fujitsu P Series [fujitsupc.com] The native LCD resolution is much better, it doesn't cost as much, and it has a built in DVD/CD writer. Plus it too runs Linux.

Re:Why not just get a digital camera (4, Interesting)

Mr. No Skills (591753) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412191)

Sit in a coach seat for a few flights and you'll see the advantage. This laptop is much smaller that a typical 12 inch screen laptop (the screen is a letterbox format, not the typical screen proportions). If you wanted a separate camera and laptop, you still might want to give this form factor a look because it is so small.

I wouldn't compare this device to a laptop as much as I'd compare it to a PDA. A PDA that doesn't really fit into a pocket, but has the display you wish a PDA would have and the ability to look at a spreadsheet or document and comprehend it. Problem is -- it costs as much as a laptop.

The camera (at least at one point) was really sold for portable web-conferencing and not for video production. The ability to record MPEGs is more of a function of the newer processors. There's a firewire jack if you need to plug in a better camera.

Form Factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411892)

> The form factor is halfway between a PDA and a
> notebook

and a long way from "useful."

4 oct (-1, Offtopic)

IgorMrBean (528387) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411899)

humm, 4 days ago... :)
i tought that /. was hot news :)

Re:4 oct (-1, Offtopic)

Slack0ff (590042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411914)

Well 4 days isnt bad, You wont see this device on TechTV for a while, so when you think about SLASHDOT STILL OWNZ!

special moments? (-1, Funny)

mattyohe (517995) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411902)

"built in camera so you can capture all those special moments." well i noticed the camera only points at the user, so what special moments will this camera capture? ...ahh. nevermind

Re:special moments? (0, Offtopic)

mattyohe (517995) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411931)

i need to spend more time reading the article, and less time trying to be funny.

Re:special moments? (3, Funny)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411940)

The camera is built in on top of the screen and can flip to point to or away from the driver.

That shit was a line from the post, you didn't even have to read the article. I'm assuming you're so lazy you stop breathing at some points during the day, right?

Re:special moments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412159)

no, he just quotes some breathing from when he
did it yesterday, and posts it to slashdot as news.

Re:special moments? (2)

booch (4157) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412521)

The camera is built in on top of the screen and can flip to point to or away from the driver.

I'm just curious who's driving with this thing.

'tard. (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412737)

The camera swivels a full 180 degrees.

- A.P.

And people think Apple is expensive? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411903)

Try an iBoook.

Re:And people think Apple is expensive? (1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412118)

Better yet, try the PowerBoook [apple.com] .

But neither of those laptoops has a digital camera attached.

Linux-Sony Mailing List (1)

rtnz (207422) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412264)

I maintain the Linux-Sony Mailing List [returntonature.com] -- for running Linux on your Sony of course; mainly Sony Laptops are discussed on the list.

There is also a google search [returntonature.com] of the archives available.

rtnz

I purchased a brand new Picturebook for only $900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412276)

The previous version of the picturebook had a 727MHZ CPU a 20GB drive and an external CDROM. This model was replaced in May with a new one with a 875MHZ CPU, 30GB drive and an external CDRW/DVD combo. When the new models came out the price of the old model was reduced with $1000.

At that time I puchased a brand new 727MHZ model for $900. I spent other $600 on a 256MB RAM card, a 60GB 9.5mm drive and a firewirebox for the old drive.

I had a few problems installing linux; I had to install with the option pci=off, otherwise the installer would freeze. After installation i recompiled the kernel and now everything works fine. Another problem was related to X-configuration. Both SuSE and RedHat would not configure at a resolution of 1280X600, only at 800X600. Fortunately other people before me solved this problem; I downloaded a custom config file and with it I can use the whole screen.

There is also linux software for the built-in camera.

Best Site for... (1)

tombou (233875) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411913)

Best place for picture book info still has to be http://www.stevebarr.com/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/barrst/go to.pl?c1mv

Re:Best Site for... (1)

Jeffv323 (317436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412728)

Linked [stevebarr.com] for your pleasure!

10 hours of video but 2-3 hours of battery... (5, Insightful)

allanj (151784) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411933)

sounds like something isn't proportioned just right yet. Cool gadget, but I agree with the article that this is bound to be a niche product. Not enough power for serious data usage, too high price to be a toy.

Re:10 hours of video but 2-3 hours of battery... (2, Insightful)

Slack0ff (590042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411954)

"too high priced to be a toy" Yeah it really had outpriced itself, but think, when doesnt sony? If you want another cool way to do this try a HP Jornada 500 series with the swivle camera add on. I have it and the pictures are a bit grainy but "I still captured my special moments" as the article says.

Re:10 hours of video but 2-3 hours of battery... (1)

tombou (233875) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412011)

I strongly dissagree.

I use an old c1xs (pII-400), this is the same computer that the lead developer of SAMBA and Linus himself uses. Linux runs great on it, and Windows is fine as well. This computer is a few years old at this point and has had no problems. Comparing this to a PDA is waste...I have had little use for a data organizer...im not a administrative assitant after all. This computer (the new C1) is powerful with a 60gig hard drive and an almost gigahertz processor. If battery life is what you are after, you can always get the quad battery for the computer and extend the life to well over 11 hours of real use.

Gaming is not what I would do whith this laptop, there are better rigs for that with better screens. This computer is a great travel anywhere computer.

Re:10 hours of video but 2-3 hours of battery... (2)

Arcturax (454188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412179)

Not to mention that your average user uses at least 5-10 GB of space for stuff like software and the OS and pr0n and mp3's and, well you get the point. So yes theoretically it could hold 10 hours of video, but after loading software you need and such, I would say it is more like 6-8 hours of video.

Maybe I'm nitpicking the article, but it is something anyone buying this should realize.

I tested one out! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411941)

I tested out a preview model a couple months ago (I work for a big company that was considering issuing one to travelling employees). The bad news is, it uses PocketPC/Windows CE. I couldn't try installing Linux on it, but I suspect it could be done.

The thing is sleek and cool to the touch. Nice job Sony!

Re:I tested one out! (3, Informative)

tombou (233875) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412075)

Linux can be done. http://vaio-pcg-c1.sourceforge.net that should start you off well.

And the production version uses XP, not CE.

Re:I tested one out! (1)

Slotted Aloha (605592) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412081)

> The bad news is, it uses PocketPC/Windows CE

No, it doesn't.

Re:I tested one out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412093)

Either you are a troll or you got a special version of this since it runs XP Home edition.

Obligatory post.. (** iabcot **) (0)

garglblaster (459708) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411949)

has anyone imagined a beowulf cluster of these yet ?

..couldn't resist

;)

How about sound applications? (1)

joehahn (537797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411971)

How about sound applications? Can it run Impulse Tracker? I have hounded and hounded ppl with transmeta based laptops, but cannot get a clear answer.

love the size, hate the ... (3, Insightful)

MisterBlue (98835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411979)

This notebook has been out for over a year and I've been looking at it and looking at it thinking that maybe it's size, weight and portability we make it ideal. But then, I notice it's price, I notice it's processor, I notice that no updated models have ever been made (is it an orphan?) and I walk away and wait for something better.

I think there is a place for laptops of this form factor but only Sony seems to make one. And the one they make is expensive and not part of their main product line. Is something wrong since no one else is making laptops like this?

Re:love the size, hate the ... (1)

dongkiru (157748) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412043)

Check out Fujitsu P2xxx series. It's slightly bigger than the picture book and doesn't have a built-in camera, but it does have DVD/CD-RW and Wireless NIC *built in*

The laptop actually has a fair size of following:
http://www.leog.net [leog.net]

The site's down at the moment, and slashdotting wouldn't help either. But if you want a small laptop without all the external bundles, check it out.

Not orphaned at all (1)

tombou (233875) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412145)

The C1 series has been going for years. It has quite a following.

The latest in Japan is quite impressive with a 60 Gig HD. You can buy it at http://www.dynamism.com/c1mzx/index.shtml .

The Fugitsu Lifebook is bigger but is very nice too. I think Fry's sells those.

If you want to see computers that are this size, go to Transmetas website. There are a few on the market.

Rumor has it that the future Picbooks will use Intel Opteron chips, instead of Transmeta Crusoes.

Good Luck in your search!

Re:love the size, hate the ... (3, Informative)

Slotted Aloha (605592) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412148)

Check http://www.dynamism.com . They also list the similarly sized Toshiba Libretto L5 and other cool gadgets.

Love the processor (1)

SPosselt (611130) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412568)

Unlike you, the main reason, except of course the size, I would want one these is the processor.
I'm not looking for a laptop to replace my workstation, but I am looking for a small laptop with long battery life.

Sure, you would have a considerably faster machine if you slabbed in one of those new PIVs, but the battery would probably last about one tenth as long. Its great to have a fast computer, but if it means that you can only use it for like an hour between recharges, it makes it pretty much useless to me.

I think people are generally too obsessed with processor speed, specifically when it comes to the laptop market, where speed is often bought at the expense of usability in the form of long battery life.
(But then again, I'm probably not too representative of the geek crowd in that aspect, considering that I'm writing this on my PIII 500 workstation, which I consider faster than I will ever need.)

Well, that's just my $ 0.02 anyway

Wrong size (2, Insightful)

ferreth (182847) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411985)

I just can't see this size taking off - it either has to fit in your hand/pocket like current PDA's, or is about the size of a binder you carry under your arm like a note book. Anything in between is too small for serious work, and too big to carry around all the time.

So the real application is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4411990)

"upskirt" and "downblouse" pr0n! Go Sony!

Machine is out for over a year now (5, Informative)

Wizard of OS (111213) | more than 11 years ago | (#4411995)

How exactly is this news? Okay, it's a new review maybe, but the machine has been on the market for over a year now if i'm not mistaken. One of my coworkers already had one when I started my current job in December 2001.

It's a nice machine, sure, but worthy of a slashdot frontpage post a year later?

Re:Machine is out for over a year now (4, Informative)

Phork (74706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412410)

This is a new revision that was anounced a few weeks ago, i think this is the third or fourth rev of the picturebook.

What a dissappointment. (3, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412002)

I own one of the original VAIO Picturebooks (C1VN). There is very little difference between mine and the new model. You would think that given 2 years Sony could have really done something with it. I like my P-Book, but don't consider it a real laoptop either (which helps emmensely in the learning to like it deparment). In reading the review on the new one, I found myself feeling like I was reading a review on mine. Yes, the resolution's a bit higher, HDD a bit larger, it does MPEG2 now, etc...but big deal. These are things that I felt were "missing" in the original two years ago. Oh well. I find the Fujitsu P2000 a much stronger contender in the "man that's small but feature packed" mini-notebook division.

ER

.

Fujitsu P2000 is WAY TOO BIG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412302)

Fujitsu P2000 is twice the weight and size of the picturebook. A Picturebook is a competitor for the Toshiba Libretto, not for P2000.

Hmmm.... (1)

RedWolves2 (84305) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412021)

This [slashdot.org] seems kind of small to me.

hmmm (5, Informative)

peterprior (319967) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412022)

I'm sure this is an "excellent review" seeing as the guy who posted it has the same url as the review.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412056)

rofl good point. What a noob!

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412434)

In general you have a good point, but remember that not everyone puts their real email\web address on their story submissions. I wouldn't want my site slashdotted just because my story was accepted.

Unspecified options.. (5, Funny)

dubious9 (580994) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412030)

Specs from article
Memory: 245216K total, 128880K free, (add type, clock here..)
Chipset: (add ID string here)


Male memory:
Memory: 245216K total, 128880K free, forgets birthdays, knows all Major legue baseball starting pitchers from '79-80

Female memory:
Memory: 245216K total, 128880K free, if-you-don't -know-i'm-not-telling-you

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412494)

You're saying the female memory is Rambus, then?

Too expensive (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412034)

Sorry, but I would never consider this -- the $2k price point just doesn't work for this configuration.

Also, Malda sucks.

Thanks!

Missing reviews (3, Interesting)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412035)

Really, if Im going to buy a new hardware id like to see some benchmarks. 3DMark would be nice, just for the hell of it.
Also noticed it only has MMX support, wheres SSE?

Also, if your going to run linux on it, is there any compiler flags to make it faster for the cursoe chip? Also noted it had 0k level 2 cache, ouch.

Still waiting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412039)

I'm excitedly waiting for small computers like this that aren't PDAs but something 2x the size of a standard laptop keyboard. Just small enough to put in my backpack with my notebooks.

It upsets me because I know these aren't going to take off.

Drop the Camera and Price.... (2, Interesting)

Dante333 (25148) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412044)

and I would seriously look at getting one. Seriously, how practical is that camera. It's only 640X480. The form factor and size is enough to get me to consider getting one. The only other thing I have to ask is how easy is it to get linux on that thing without a Sony CDROM Drive.

Re:Drop the Camera and Price.... (1)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412098)

I agree and disagree. I want the camera - I want a serious digital camera I can send vids of the kids to their grandparents and great-grandparents. Seriously, and on a regular basis. I want the price to drop on this and other Sony products; but it's not bloody likely.

Now why does everything have to have Linux on it?

Re:Drop the Camera and Price.... (1)

Dante333 (25148) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412495)

It doesn't, but I still want that option because it's my prefered OS. Why should I be limited to a Windows World? My big gripe about my current Vaio has always been how much of a pain in the ass it was to get linux installed without spending a lot of money on a Sony CDrom. And I still haven't got the modem to work. For the most part, Sony's hardware has been neat (not great, but neat) while everyting else just sucked(software, support, PRICE).

No camera, Try the U1 (1)

tombou (233875) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412204)

The Sony U1 is smaller than the C1 and has almost the same amount of features, only much smaller. The camera on the C1, seems to only be good for things like videoconferencing. Other than that, I would never use it. The plus side, is that the picturebook has usb and firewire. That combined with a sizeable HD makes it a good place to dump pictures from a real digital camera while out in the field.

I linked a couple good sites above that have Linux info with a C1.

good luck

Re:Drop the Camera and Price.... (2)

Arker (91948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412510)

The only other thing I have to ask is how easy is it to get linux on that thing without a Sony CDROM Drive.

I'm not sure what you're asking, but if you want one preinstalled so you don't have to worry about getting the more obscure hardware working and so forth just talk to the folks at Emperor Linux [emperorlinux.com] - they have a similar picturebook as a standard offer, the Kiwi [emperorlinux.com] , and they're happy to do special orders if that's not exactly what you want.

If you just mean how to install it yourself without using a CD, most distros support net installation...

here is the meat (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412074)



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Sony VAIO C1MW PictureBook Review

Date: October 4th 2002
Author: Benj Mauck
Score:
Related Link: Sony Style

Introduction

In case you still think the PDA & notebook are still distinguishable, guess again. Sony's new VAIO C1MW PictureBook Series Notebook blurs the boundaries of both form factors and offers a solution to impress your family, friends, and colleagues. But at a cost of about $2000, can it really compete? Read on to find out...

Features:

Two very notable features set this Sony Picturebook apart from competition; first and foremost - its petite proportions. The form factor is halfway between a PDA and a notebook; yet with nearly all the features of a full size notebook. Unfortunately it is not quite small enough to fit in your pocket, yet not quite big enough to have a full size keyboard and screen. This might leave some people wondering if there is really a need for such a crossover vehicle in the electronic realm - something we have also been pondering. The half-height LCD (1280x600) and slightly compressed keyboard probably will eliminate the device from many business, home, and gaming markets. Yet there are certainly some benefits - especially when computing on the bus, train, or plane in coach class - where even a laptop can seem bulky. The intermediate size would also allow lugging around only a small backpack or large purse. Wearing it on the hip or in the pocket will unfortunately not quite work as well as a PDA. But at only 2.2 lbs, the extra weight is nearly inconsequential if you are already using a briefcase or backpack.

Size is not the only identifying attribute of this VAIO. The built in Motion eye camera is really the most intriguing part of the design - and probably the selling feature. The camera is built in on top of the screen and can flip to point to or away from the driver. The software loads at the push of the capture button and live video begins showing up within seconds. JPEG shots or MPEG2 video can then be recorded and replayed quite easily. With the included 30 Gigabyte hard drive a quick calculation shows that about 10 hours of streaming video and audio can be recorded at a time before running out of room. The possibilities with this are actually quite interesting. The immediate application that comes to mind would be recording business meetings or lectures at school. Because the camera lens is extremely small and can flip toward the front of the room, it is far more inconspicuous than to manipulating a video camera or even a tape recorder in class. In fact it is doubtful that that it would be recognized for anything but a PDA or calculator in school. The video quality is fairly impressive, though the resolution is only 640x480. Playback may drop a few frames if other applications are going - but will look smooth after burning it on CD and playing it when you get home on your desktop. No need to be stationary while recording, but do not expect all the features of a camcorder either. Video editing software is included to allow for some decent home video creation immediately after recording.

Extended battery life is the biggest boast of the Transmeta Crusoe CPU inside this Sony Picturebook. Unfortunately it is also one of the more difficult to benchmark, as this CPU does voltage and frequency scaling on the fly to limit power consumption according to need. A clear comparison can be made only with a standard load, such as DVD playback. Starting with a full battery we were able to make it to just before Wesley, Fezzik and Inigo Montoya storm the castle in The Princess Bride. That is exactly 75 minutes: maybe long enough for some of those new fangled movies like MIB II, but not long enough for a true classic. Obviously the included external CD-W/DVD draws a large portion of the power, and drastically reduces the battery life. For more common sporadic usage (including benchmarking, video capture, and idle time) we were able to demonstrate an average battery life of between two and three hours. This is comparable to many notebook computers - despite some claims of the CPU manufacture otherwise. Of course, a larger battery is available if your main concern is finishing your movie on the airplane.

Several other features are notable. There is one type II card slot - which would be perfect for an 802.11b wireless card. Built in stereo speakers provide adequate volume. The audio quality during DVD playback was good - as we would expect from Sony. The high resolution (1280x600) screen is excellent for watching wide screen DVD's, although we had to play around with the settings for a while to get the widescreen DVD to fill up the entire width and height. Unfortunately this size is not so convenient for office style applications - where viewing full pages is preferable. In such cases it would probably be a nice feature if the monitor could rotate 90. Games and graphics also suffer due to the limited height. Fortunately a port replicator is included to allow simple docking and connection to a full size monitor. The data transfer abilities via memory stick, ILINK (IEEE 1394), and AV in/out allows quick & easy access to many nice toys: camcorders, cameras, and gadgets. Of course modem and Ethernet are also included to talk to big brother - the PC.

Setup and Installation:

As expected no unusual setup or installation is necessary. Windows XP Professional is installed, as is Corel WordPerfect Office 2002. Boot time was one minute thirty seconds - perhaps a bit on the slow side when compared to other laptops, and even slower if compared to PDAs. Ample documentation is provided - but none is necessary to start playing. One push of a button pulls up the video capture program, momentarily turning the monitor into a mirror.

Benchmarks:

Not intending to replicate benchmarks taken elsewhere on the Crusoe we have just run a basic set. PC Mark 2002 gave a score of 1606/1440/339 for CPU/Mem/Hdd. Below are results from Rightmark and CPU Bench. The performance on most metrics shows it slightly lower than a PentiumIII at the same frequency. This may be disappointing to some given that most similarly priced laptops have nearly twice the performance. But clearly raw performance was not the intention of this device & must be weighed accordingly.

Find the latest reference results on http://cpu.rightmark.org

Marketing and competition in Japan (2, Interesting)

ChronosX (18644) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412107)

I prefer my computing devices to have full-sized keyboards so that I can touch type on them. I prefer my cameras to take high quality pictures. This product wasn't designed for people like me. I still, however, think the picturebooks are spiffy.

On the other hand, Sony didn't really design the picturebook for people like me. This design originated in Japan with Japanese people in mind. In case you didn't know, the Japanese are absolutely crazy about little electronic devices, especially if they take pictures. The size and style are more important than the sheer power and functionality.

I'd estimate that nearly 20% (conservative estimate)of all new cell phones [nttdocomo.co.jp] in Japan have high-res color screens and cameras built into them. I'm most curious to see how the picturebook fares against competition from these phones, which are even smaller and more stylish.

Ditch the camera! (1)

paranoos (612285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412117)

I know this is supposed to be the entire point of the product, but I say ditch the video camera, and this would be a really nice product. Also, who needs a CD Writer in such a tiny system? Without the camera, this might be considered an anorexic sub-notebook. I'm sure the screen looks extremely sharp. With a built-in 8x DVD-ROM drive and a nicer battery, this would be a really nice tool for computing on the road. The 30gb hard drive is far more than any PDA will provide for the next year or so, at least. Right now, all the features which I consider to make this product impractical (camera, external optical drive, fact that it's a Sony) also contribute to making the product more expensive. A system this size, with the modifications I have suggested, and maybe with a smaller hard drive to even things out, would be nice to have for around $999. Who's with me?

I'm buying one of these (1)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412126)

When I go somewhere with my digital camera, I take pictures like Austin Powers does, and soon run out of the 133 high-res photos on my flash card, meaning I have to go back to my hotel room or wherever I'm staying if I'm on vacation, transfer it to my laptop, and go and take pictures again.

With this, I can store 30gb of data and only have to bring one single package on vacation -- I can also use it for writing poetry, journals, or whatever else I feel like, and can show people videos and pictures on a huge LCD screen without having to get new batteries after 10 minutes.

$2000 is actually a pretty good price for it, considering how much you'd pay for everything else combined.

Advertisement (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412131)

Honestly, this is blatant advertisement. I saw design technica's ad earlier on in another story and now this. I dont know how else slash ought to operate, but ads disguised as reviews is so Cnet.

Faraz

poor choice for video (2)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412132)

If you want video, a digital camcorder is smaller, cheaper, and better. There are even some portable MPEG-4 recorders with hard disk coming out.

Re:poor choice for video (2)

Lionel Hutts (65507) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412440)

I, for one, would much rather have a 30 GB hard drive than have to deal with tape or be limited to what fits on an SD or other flash card. Still, I don't like all the compromises you have to make with this machine. If it were just a bit smaller, or cheaper, or more powerful as a computer, I'd have to consider it.

Who is coming out with portable hard disk video recorders?

Re:poor choice for video (2)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412486)

Digital camcorders record to tape, just in digital instead. So you aren't limited by flash cards, you get plenty of recording time.

Been out since March of 1999 (0)

Dugsmyname (451987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412174)

Sony's PCG C1X and C1XS were released in March of 1999. Both had the motion eye camera, and Smart Capture software... this is nothing new.

Oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412188)

Didn't thank Linus this time! Good for youuuu. It's comforting to know that at least one guy is afraid of appearing to be Linus's little ignorant american biyatch.

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412208)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio. Horror/Sci-Fi writer Stephen King was found dead at his Maine home this morning. Apparently, he was shot by a prowler who was trying to steal his collection of lawn gnomes. I'm sure he will be missed by the Slashdot community - even if you didn't read any of his work, you probably have heard his cousin B.B.'s blues music. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412247)

Stephen King is not having a very good week. Over the past few days, the poor guy has been shot, electrocuted, caught in the gears of a combine, mauled by a bear, trampled by a cattle stampede, and oh... his parachute failed to open during a skydive. I like the fact that you're adding some variety into this troll, but don't you think you're being a bit cruel?

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412419)

"I'm sure he will be missed by the Slashdot community - even if you didn't read any of his work, you probably have heard his cousin B.B.'s blues music. Truly an American icon."

Also, his other brother started up a popular burger chain (home of the Whopper).

From the article (-1)

I'm not a script (612110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412239)

"Sony will give full refund to customers who cannot run their Linux distribution of choice on the PictureBook"

WTF ? Linux is mainstream !

Fujitsu p-2000 (5, Informative)

asv108 (141455) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412259)

I was in the market for an ultra-portable and I decided to go with the Fujitsu P-2000 [fujitsupc.com] over the sony picturebook. First of all, everything on the p-2000 is integrated in to the laptop at only 3.5 pounds it includes:
  • DVD/CDR Comno
  • Built in wireless
  • Ethernet
  • USB
  • Firewire
  • VGA out
  • Svideo The sony looked real promising, but to use ethernet you need to attach a separate connector. I had no interest in attaching a box every time I want to hook up to a network so I went with the p-2000. You can check out my little review here [phataudio.org] .

    I'm amazed the p-2000 doesn't get more press, it packs everything I need in to small package without using any external gadgets.

Re:Fujitsu p-2000 (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412560)

It does not however, have a camera. Clearly not EVERYTHING that a PictureBook has.

Re:Fujitsu p-2000 (5, Informative)

zulux (112259) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412590)

And if you don't need the CD-RW/DVD - there's the Fujitsu P-1000. $1100 bucks - 2.2 lbs, and a touch screen.

I have one for job costing, and my notes are as follows:
I don't use the touch screen.
Small enough to open in coach class in a airplane and still use the keyboard.
Apps take a bit to start up, due to the Curusoe doing it's code morphing thing.
Hibernate works wonderfully - be up and running in 15 seconds after opening the thing up.
No serial port. USB dongle reqired to telnet into serial boxes.
Cheap keyboard.
$1200 less than the Sony.
Free USB Floppy drive that you can boot off of.
160 min of battery life. (really)
Only one year of warranty.
Only availabe from fujitsupc.com (nobody else stocks them)

Do note: the P-2000 does come with a weight saver - you can skip the CD-RW/DVD and get the P-2000 down to 2.6 lbs. Fujitsu makes a extra battery that will fit where the CD-RW/DVD normally does.

I chose the P-1000 due to cost issues - like I said it's $1100.

Where's the video? (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412328)

Surprised not to see samples in the review-- how could you have your hands on one of these and not upload a video of your dog or something?

Good for some things (2)

msheppard (150231) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412354)

Talked my bro-in-law into getting one of these. I think it's very kewl. Plug 802.11b card into it and you're VERY portable and your webcam expierence is ideal. He's an airline pilot, so he's almost ALWAYS travelling, and this is the smallest way to get onto compuserve we could find (need to get to cserve to do bidding for airline pilot job).

M@

Alternative Vaio PCG-U1 (prototype??) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412355)

The Sony Picturebook has been around for a while. The new SonyVaio PCG-U1 looks nicer in my opinion - if you are after a small laptop.

The specs (see link at bottom of page on URL below) show 1024x768 resolution - the picture book had a strange resolution of 1024x480.

No camera though - just in case that was the feature that you desire!

http://www.dynamism.com/u1/main.shtml

Re:Alternative Vaio PCG-U1 (prototype??) (2, Interesting)

tombou (233875) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412435)

The U1 is a produstion machine...soon the U3 will be out ...here is the Japanese site http://www.vaio.sony.co.jp/Products/PCG-U3/

The specs are here in Japanese
http://www.vaio.sony.co.jp/Products/PCG-U3/spec_ ma ster.html

I have one. (3, Interesting)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412406)

I use it for taping concerts (and nothing else). It's very, VERY slow. Slower than any other modern laptop. The Crusoe chip REALLY is nothing to write home about. It's probably as fast as a PII-500, if that. The screen is tiny but it's sharp. The hard drive is slow, but quick enough to record audio.

Like I said, all I use it for is taping, mostly because it's tiny and the battery lasts forever. It doesn't seem to be a very practical day-to-day laptop. I have another laptop (PII-266) that I use as my "actual" laptop.

- A.P.

Re:I have one. (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412498)

What in the world happened in the pictures from you sig? Was a sink-hole or something?

Re:I have one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412690)

Presumably. It's great though.

- A.P.

Re:I have one. (2)

mosch (204) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412507)

An excellent use for one if ever I've heard of one, especially since Sony makes that nice quad-life battery for them.

More tapers need to sell their DA-P1s and buy these suckers.

I'm a C1 Owner - I love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412492)

I have owned one of these little beauties for nearly two years now, although my model is not quite the same - I have the C1-XD (Intel PII-400MHz, 64MB, 12GB) and I must say I am very pleased with it so far . Linux is most certainly do-able, currently i have a basic LFS system on one partition and dual boot to win98, and in the past it has had mandrake, peanut and vectorlinux sucessfully installed. Unless there are linux problems with the transition to transmeta processors (I doubt it), linux of any description should work fine. One caveat is the distros with two boot floppies - my C1 uses a usb floppy, which does not appear as /dev/fd0 as the second install floppy expects - I do not know a fix for this, apart from a bootable sony cdrom drive (I don't have one though I hear they are the only cdrom drives that will boot this laptop)

The camera is a bit of a gimmick but has been useful on many unexpected occasions - the quality is quite ok, better than most webcams i have seen but not a patch on a good digicam / camcorder.

The size and weight of this laptop truly are amazing however. People often do not believe this is a real computer not a toy :)

Another nice thing is that if you set the power management software to max-battery it will run totally silent once the hard disk spins down.

I say go and check one out if you can - two years on and I still use mine most days.

Sony C1MW laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4412619)

Imagine a Beowolf Cluster of THESE!!!

Serial port for console? (1)

_damnit_ (1143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4412702)

I just really want a serial port on there so I could use it for a very sweet console when I'm onsite. Does anyone know of a solution that would work with this? Maybe usb to serial? My present Fujitsu is great, but really overkill for most things I need to use it for. A little pad like that would be much more convenient.
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