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Sony Vaio C1MW PictureBook Review 160

Posted by michael
from the technicolor-world dept.
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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Sony Vaio C1MW PictureBook Review

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  • 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.
  • by Mr.Nifty (591211) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:28PM (#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.
    • 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).
    • 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?

      • 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?

        I share your concerns about the picture quality on these Sonys. However, these Sonys are *really tiny*. I doubt the device you're envisioning could be much smaller than one of these min-laptops.
      • Its actually not hard to aim the camera, since you can see what you're filming on screen. And the screen is -much- bigger than on a camcorder.

        Everyone tends to focus on teh camera (no pun, really) when talkign about these machines. IMO that's just an afterthought, a conversation piece that ocasionally comes in handy. It's a real laptop that's really small, and that's all that counts for me. I wasn't happy with a Palm, and I don't think I'd like an ipaq/jordana. I need a keyboard, and this does a good job at providing one.
    • 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.

    • by Mr. No Skills (591753) <lskywalker.hotmail@com> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @04:13PM (#4412191) Journal

      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.

    • Wouldn't get it because it violates basic laws - the second law of the Universe: "the more you put things together, the more they fall apart".

      I prefer smaller cameras and small-but-functional laptops. This rates a "beh!"
  • Best place for picture book info still has to be http://www.stevebarr.com/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/barrst/go to.pl?c1mv
  • by allanj (151784) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:33PM (#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.

    • "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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • This machine wasn't designed as a camcorder - it was designed as a sub-notebook laptop computer, and the camera is there partly because they're Sony and partly for applications like video-conferencing.
      The 10 hours of video is an artifact of being able to fit a 30GB disk in the laptop, not because they thought that was the ideal amount of video capacity to have. You'll probably use much of the space for other things. (Besides, if you're shooting that much video, you're usually either somewhere you've got electricity or you're filming things that you'd rathe r have a real videocamera for.)

      By the way, if you remember Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon [cryptonomicon.com], this is the kind of machine Randy used to surreptitiously record his meeting with somebody-or-other, probably the Dentist, when they were busy convincing everybody of their plans for Increasing Shareholder Value. Predecessors of this machine design were available back then.

      • Wasn't Randy's laptop described instead as having a simple pinhole-type camera? (Sorry, book on loan at the moment ;)) The Picturebooks are definitely not that ... I remember thinking that this was a potentially much better idea than putting a regular (glass-lens) camera into a laptop lid like Sony did, though of course that has its own advantages.

        timothy
    • I have had one for the past six months and absolutely love it. The portability is just incredible, to the point it's been about my only luggage on my trip around the world [360togo.com]. With the quad-battery upgrade you can pretty reliably get 8-10 hours on a full charge (nowhere near the 15 advertised, of course). And, though the transmeta is a bit sluggish, it's entirely adequate any non-gaming task (I do contract technical writing as I travel and it's paid for itself a couple times over). Furthermore, though not DoomIII-compliant, the ATI Radeon mobile is suprisingly quick and has been sufficient for me to continue 3d graphics programming while traveling. The camera is a pointless, granted (low res, takes ages to initialize, only digital zoom, manual focus), but the laptop itself is a godsend.

      I think the biggest benefit of this laptop is that it's finally found a combination of speed, portability, and battery life such that you no longer have to ask yourself "should I bring my laptop today?" Instead, you just always have it in your bag, charged up the night before, to whip out at cafes or plane rides.

      I can't recommend it enough.

  • 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.
  • by MisterBlue (98835) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:40PM (#4411979) Homepage
    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?
    • 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.
    • 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!
    • Check http://www.dynamism.com . They also list the similarly sized Toshiba Libretto L5 and other cool gadgets.
    • 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
    • And I hate the support I have a C1VFK just after I had it one year, the computer "thinks" its on means all the time so the battery slow discharges even when off! The Camera stopped working after service packs 3,
      Bluetooth at 2, vaio-link produces no updated drivers for it. Restore is off a CD, your need to buy a vaio drive, drivers if you lose the CD your have to pay for a new one cos you can't even download the orginals. And of course its a restore CD with a licence code that does not work with a normal install.....

      Support will only talk to you after you have given then 15 quid!

      Compared with the build and ongoing support of my previous computer an IBM, sony quality sucks, I will never buy sony. IBM keep supporting there computers after launch, sony seem to support them as they were at lunch.

      Don't get fooled by the looks.... !!!!

      James

      PS if anyone wants to give me a reasonable offer for my one there are welcome to it ;-)
      • sure, i wouldnt mind a newer picbook...post some kind ok contact info...

        but, you may want to go to sonys site for drivers...my ancient c1xs uses all of its features with no problems... the Sony site has drivers all the way to XP (mine came with 98)

        http://www.ita.sel.sony.com/support/link_c1x.htm l
  • Wrong size (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ferreth (182847)
    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.
  • by Wizard of OS (111213) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:42PM (#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?
  • by rindeee (530084) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:43PM (#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

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

  • hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by peterprior (319967) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:46PM (#4412022)
    I'm sure this is an "excellent review" seeing as the guy who posted it has the same url as the review.
  • by dubious9 (580994) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:47PM (#4412030) Journal
    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
  • Missing reviews (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:47PM (#4412035) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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.
    • 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?
      • 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).
        • Would the PictureBook be using a desktop OS (or any other particular OS, for that matter?) You might need drivers and whatnot to USB (or RS232, blah blah blah) it to a 'regular' computer but that's about it.
    • 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
    • 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 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:54PM (#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

  • 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.

  • 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?
  • 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 (Score:2, Interesting)

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

        • Yes, but, as I said, then you have to deal with tape. I've had enough of linear-access-only video.

          Of course, if I actually needed to record video for some reason, I'd deal with it (or find some alternative.)
  • Fujitsu p-2000 (Score:5, Informative)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex@pha[ ]dio.org ['tau' in gap]> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @04:21PM (#4412259) Homepage Journal
    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.

    • It does not however, have a camera. Clearly not EVERYTHING that a PictureBook has.
    • Re:Fujitsu p-2000 (Score:5, Informative)

      by zulux (112259) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @05:24PM (#4412590) Homepage Journal
      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.

    • is the crusoe processor fast enough to decode divx movies?
      • I've had no trouble with divx on the p-2000.
      • Without a doubt, yes.

        With DIVX5 on it's default quality (2 notches I think?), and a 768kbps clip ripped from DVD, Windows Media Player just *barely* chokes.
        For super-high-bitrate stuff like that, I use the Divx Player 2.0 (that comes with Divx)- it works perfectly.
        For everything else at lower bitrates, it works just fine in all cases.
      • I've got a C1VN (about 2 generations ago, C667, 192MB, 12GB) and divx is borderline on it. Full screen is choppy, but small screen is OK. Animated stuff like the Simpsons is fine, but watching, say, the Matrix, won't happen. I;m sure that the newer models don't have this problem. Quake is actually playable, FWIW.

        Capturing is great (although the resolution on the stills is weak). About 15fps, which is good enough for a little pinhole camera anyway.

        Battery life isn't quite what they say, but this is after a year or so. I can say that with the quad battery, playing mp3's, screen off, full power save mode, used up 1% of the battery power after 45 min. This machine's (lack of) power consumption is very impressive.

        Some ppl hate the keyboard, I like it fine. If you have thick fingers you probably won't be able to use the kb.
    • I have to agree. I used to have a Toshiba 1640 cdt, which was an okay laptop, but was hell on the shoulders. Two months ago I got a Fujitsu P-2110, and since then, I haven't gone anywhere without this little beauty.

      It may cost quite a bit ($1600), and the specs aren't that fantastic (this is not a desktop replacement), but for anyone who needs/wants to have a computer with them all the time, this thing rocks. Battery life is a big issue with laptops, and if you cough up the extra cash for the long-life battery and the modular battery, you could get about 12 hours out of it.

      Another aspect that I really like is that the screen has a native resolution of 1280X768, which makes it just about perfect for watching DVDs in widescreen. And since the DVD drive is an internal, modular drive, and it doesn't weigh very much, you'll be watching lots of movies on the go.

      And for the Linux fiends, the P series works well. I've had Slackware 8.1 running for a couple months now, and everything works pretty well.

      Check out the P-series forums [leog.net] for a lot more info.

  • 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?
  • 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@
  • I have one. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wakko Warner (324) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @04:50PM (#4412406) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • What in the world happened in the pictures from you sig? Was a sink-hole or something?
    • 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 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.
    • i have a sony c1mv and i use a serial to usb converter for my gps antenna and it works great. I haven tried other serial devices, but i can't imagen there being any big problems.

      Also i have marginal success loading Suse linux on it, although all the extra stuff like the memstick reader, cpu throteling, lcd dimmer, camera, etc don't work too well, but i'm still hacking at it.

      But if you do get one, or have one i highly suggest searching eBay for the quad battery, i can get about 8 hours at high performance, and clsoe to 12 hours use powersaveing features. That with a wireless nic makes a very sweet mobile system.
    • I have a Compaq 710US laptop that also comes without a "legacy" serial port. This was a problem for me since I'm a field systems engineer for an ISP, and periodically need to login to switches and routers through an RS232 port.

      I found a way around this by getting a USB to RS232 serial adapter made by Inland. It plugs into one of my USB ports and the other end has a DB9-male connector on it.

      It was ~$50 at Microcenter, but if you look around a bit you can probably get them cheaper. Aside from Inland, Belkin and a few others make them.
  • > The camera is built in on top of the screen and can flip to point to or away from the driver...

    Do you need to go to school and get license to operate this laptop? What kind of safety features does it have? Seatbelts? Airbags?
  • "The video quality is fairly impressive, though the resolution is only 640x480"

    My guess is first that it dosent begin to compare to even an analog Hi8 camera in quality. But who ever wrote this is a video novice (both computer and camcorder). 640x480 30fps video rarely works for webcams. Somebody please show me a higher resolution camcorder / webcam (30fps) that isnt like $50k !
  • I think that if the new Zaurus is close in price to the old one it will be a much better choice the this sony. I have a vaio and love it. I really wanted the picture book when it came out, but its just a little to expensive. The new zaurus on the other hand is about the same size and I bet even with the optional zaurus cam will be less the half the cost.
  • Hi, Slashdot? You know shoes, those things people have been putting on their
    feet for thousands of years? THEY HAVE LIGHTS NOW! POST TO THE FRONT PAGE!
    THE GEEKS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!


    This article is moronic. It's completely unjustified since the focus of the
    technology (the shiny little camera) has been out for coming up to THREE YEARS.
    So it has a DVD/CD/RW drive? Every piece of technology better than a wristwatch
    has those now.


    Or maybe it's that TRANSFORMER CROOSO processor, huh? Doesn't your criminal
    ringleader LINEOX TORVALDEZ work for them? Explains a lot.


    Seriously, don't post any more gadget reviews unless it does something
    totally amazing. Something like unleashing rapid ninja death on a person of your
    choosing, or getting a female human to walk within ten feet of a /. reader.

    --jobby
    • Don't read it dickhead. How long does it take to skip that 8 line excerpt on the front page. What, do you reply to every single story that you are not interested in...
  • by audioplaster (590057) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @07:14PM (#4413272)
    wow,
    i'm shocked by the negative comments about the Crusoe.
    My lab partner and I both have the fujitsu ultralight with transmeta crusoe 5800 processors (same as the sony).
    i have NO problems with the cpu. i get 4-5 hours using one regular battery. i get 10 hours with the additional extended battery.
    THERE IS NO FAN. which is critical for us who attend regular meetings.
    the machine is plenty fast enough. i regularly program, use mathematica (wolfram, inc.), word process, solid model (truespace, caligari.com), create macromedia presentations, play games, do advanced video editing... lots of reasonably processor intensive functions. i have a 30gig HD and 390 meg of ram. of course, it's not as fast as my dual athlon mp1900 desktop, but heck, i can't stuff my dual athlon into a butt-pack!
    it doesn't appear sluggish at all. in summary, i love my fujitsu/crusoe. it's awesome, and all my friends are completely jealous:)

    my question is, how many of you who claim to hate the crusoe 5800 actually have one ??

    maybe you are confusing with the older crusoe chips that were not so good.

    my 2c,
    ap.

    ps. the fujitsu is only 1500 bucks and it has a built in DVD player and CD burner (yes). i'm not sure why anyone would want the sony, unless they need the camera.
    • Hey-

      I've got one (A Fujitsu P2040 specifically)- thought I'd chime in-

      I love the thing- much more than my old Sony Z505.
      I like it cause it has good battery life, a DVD *built-in*, and it's tiny.
      The only thing that attaches with a dongle is the VGA-out.
      But it is a little *slow*...

      In my experience the CPU itself isn't the problem here- for integer CPU-intensive stuff it's plenty fast-

      Disk I/O seems to be the sticky bastard.
      *not necessarily the disk itself tho*

      I routinely copy divx movies from my server to it, and it can't keep up with a 100TX-FD network.
      The CPU jams DPC-time when accessing a large file.
      I don't know if the problem is with the disk itself just being slow as shit, or if its because the CPU is doing some weird "emulated PIO" or some crap.
      My tuning has been focused on trying to make it use the disk at little as possible.

      Example: if Mozilla has been minimized for a while, and get's paged out- it literally takes 10-15 seconds after clicking at the bottom (Win2k) for it to show up.
      Oh and if you want some REAL fun try copying 2 large files at a time.
      Watch the "estimated time" go from 12 minutes to 58 minutes...
      (That points me at disk-seek?)

      The CPU does some other weird things too- I think there's still al ong way to go in the optimization of the code-morphing software.
      It seems to do some things nice and quick, but others horrendously slow.

      Overall, it's fine for me tho- I've got used to and adjusted for the slowness in certain places...
  • I wanted the Picturebook C1MSX because it has built in bluetooth and 802.11b. The form factor kicks butt. The reasons I don't have one already are: poor linux support for built-in devices (said bluetooth, camera, etc) and the really low 384 max RAM. I can't live with that.

    Now, the Toshiba Libretto L5 I can live with. Similar form factor, no silly camera, 512 RAM, bluetooth, 802.11b, etc, etc, etc. It has been my experience that Toshiba hardware has much better support. Check out the L5 here [transmetazone.com]

  • I've had a Picturebook C1-XS for years, which is exactly the same form factor, had the motion eye camera, firewire, yadda, yadda, yadda. A bigger hard drive, faster transmeta processor, more memory are the main diffs with this unit, it seems.

    One of my favorite things about the unit is the extended battery. It's big (folds under the unit), and expensive (think it was a good chunk of $1K), but getting 8 hours of battery life really made those long flights productive. It was truly amazing. Even in it's later life, it got close to 5 hours on the battery. (Unfortunately, my picturebook died recently, works fine, but won't charge any batteries. Sigh.) With the transmeta, the battery life should be even more amazing.

  • Thanks to the nice folks at Emperor Linux [emperorlinux.com], I bought C1VN 1.4 years ago with Linux fully pre-installed. The perfect option for someone like me who uses Linux for science (astronomy) but isn't into recompiling kernels.

    After 1 year I'll say this:

    I really like the long life, I get a total of ~8 hours of use between rechargings, with my spare double strength battery. (Ideal for 14 hour flights to Oz & other plane or outdoors trips I take). I think other laptops find this hard to beat.

    I also like the size. I put in in the outer pouch of my backpack, don't even notice its there. Weight is 1 kilogram, 2.2 lb.

    I like the pictures, but I have to admit it doesn't compete with a modern digital camera. Another downside is: If you see something cool, it takes a few minutes to boot up & you might have missed it already. :-(

    Some of my photos can be found here: montage1 [ciw.edu] montage2 [ciw.edu] full list [ciw.edu]

    Mine is 667 Mhz (down to ~300 Mhz when "crusoe" is invoked), but that's fine for Netscape, LaTeX, emacs, xboard, civ, etc. No CD. Ethernet is all I need. I've experimented with video (.avi file format, haven't used sound but it can be done) It looks good as long as the smaller size frames are used. With the larger frames it looks slow. All in all, I'm very happy with it & glad I bought it.

  • I have one of these notebooks. If you want to see some sample pictures, I put up a slideshow at a little get-together a little while back.

    http://www.francischang.com/slides/8-2-02/ [francischang.com]

    The camera is not very good, and is really bad in low-light situations.

    You can put Linux on a picturebook, but as far as I know, noone's got the camera working under Linux with the latest 2 generations of the Picturebook. They've recently changed the hardware, and neglected to publish specifications.
  • This review would have one assume this is the first device of this form factor. Fujitsu has been selling the very similar Lifebooks for a while now, but are better in many respects.
    - ROM drive is internal
    - Can accept high capacity batteries and the ROM drive can be replaced for up to (so they claim) 14 hours of life
    - Built in Wireless networking
    - Substantially cheaper than the Sony

    Check it out here [fujitsupc.com]
  • I went with the SR series over the picturebook very recently. I used a picturebook a bit, then sent it back. The half screen is just too annoying in productivity software to me, let alone gaming. I have heard the touchpad vs a keyboard pointer, but both suck, and the jogdial is just an annoyance where I like to sit my thumb on both laptops so I disable it. This leaves you with the pain of scrolling up and down to see anything on the picturebook. I love my SR even with that damn jog dial where it is, I usually run it for around 5 hours on a single charge and I don't have the extended life battery. The only thing I'm disgruntled about is RedHat being a pain in the ass to install on it because of some wierd conflict between the mostly useless sony memory stick port and the usb port. There is a work around to get the CDROM install in RedHat to work on older models of the SR's but it doesn't seem to work on this version. If anyone has had any luck with a CDROM based RedHat install with a new SR drop me a line.

    SRX Series [sonystyle.com]
    Picturebook [sonystyle.com]
  • "Because this novel new form factor falls halfway between a PDA and a notebook,"

    A form factor that is 4 years old isn't "new".

    How did Cowboy Neal let this one through? http://cowboyneal.org/vaio/
  • by BiOFH (267622)
    [sarcasm]I can't wait to see the reviews for the IBM 600x. And does anyone have any reviews of the last Seinfeld episode?[/sarcasm]

    What is so earth-shattering about this (except that the /. guys have raging hard-ons for tiny sony laptops)???

    ---

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

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