After struggling for a decade to minimize power consumption
and maximize portability of our onboard computers -- used primarily to administrate Project
MARC [Medical Assistance to Remote
Communities] in Vanuatu
rather than for navigation
and/or entertainment purposes -- we decided 6 months ago to buy the smallest Sony computer available, namely the VAIO-UX.
The UX is more a microcomputer than a laptop but has full-fledged I/O and networking capabilities, in addition to functioning as a camera/videorecorder. With minimally 30 Gb of disk storage
(readily expandable with USB flash memory sticks up to 32 Gb), several hours of battery power, built-in WiFi
(+ Bluetooth + WAS) and the ability to connect to keyboards, laser mice and all manner of displays we use the UX on our boat, in emailcafees, airports or cars, as well as at home.
Combined with a little portable 6" photo-printer, we can produce text or image documents "on the spot" and immediately print them out for any team member
, patient, government
official, local chief or mother with baby who needs one.
up + operating, the UX draws about 1.5 Amp at 12 V dc.
We finally feel that we have found a sustainable solution for our cruising PC needs. The main drawback is that the 4.5" touch screen
(native resolution 1024x600) w. slide-out keyboard takes good eyes and a bit of getting used to for an old salt
. I am still looking for a DVD-player with 8"-10" LCD screen and SVGA input plus a minimum resolution of 1024x600. Alternatively, some of the newer heads-up displays used by gamers are now getting close in resolution and should eventually make for an ideal, go-anywhere microcomputer display as well.
Just to some easily accessible specs and images
of the UX, I am providing a link to a commercial
TigerDirect webpage. Note, however, that the model shown there is no longer being sold by them. Also, for the record
, I would like to state that neither my wife nor I have any commerciaol interest or association with Sony or TigerDirect.
Sony VAIO UX230P UMPC - Intel Centrino Core Solo U1300 1.06GHz, Bluetooth, Wireless WAN, 802.11abg Wireless, 512MB DDR2, 30GB HDD, 4.5" WSVGA, Windows XP Professional SP2 VGN-UX230P at TigerDirect.com
SV Rivendel II (currently dryberthed in Port Vila, Vanuatu)