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Sony Vaio
Sony Vaio
The Sony Vaio P ($899) made me say "Wow!" the moment I opened the box. The glossy aluminum finish definitely makes it a fashion statement. The Sony is also the smallest and lightest of the three. In terms of luminosity and color contrast, I found the screen simply amazing. Thanks to its 1,600 x 768 resolution, you can fit a lot more on this eight-inch screen than you can on most 12-inch laptops. <[>The downside? You need really good eyes to use this baby because the fonts are very, very small. You can always increase font and icon size, of course, but that defeats the purpose of a high-resolution display -- to get more stuff on your screen. After a full day of using the VAIO P, my eyes felt strained and I concluded that the device might actually be too small.

All three netbooks have Wi-Fi built in, but only the Sony packs a Verizon 3G EVDO module, which allows you to connect at broadband speeds almost anywhere in the U.S. -- a great perk. The Sony was running Vista, though, which made it much slower than the other two machines, both of which ran Windows XP. Nevertheless, it proved to be a nice, light e-mailing and communication device.

Bottom Line: Screen resolution trumps everything else for me, so I would go for the HP Mini. The Sony VAIO P would fit well in a designer purse, which suggests that Sony might be targeting fashion-conscious women. I wouldn't be able to use it on a daily basis. If style is not your main concern and you want a versatile all-day companion, I recommend the Asus Eee PC 1000HE.

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