Our Picks for ... Ultramobile PCs

We field test three top-of-the-line business tools.

By Christian Cantrell, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0) -- They fit in the palm of your hand, weigh 2 pounds or less, and pack enough power to run full versions of Windows Vista and other applications--unlike the scaled-down versions used in smartphones. We've tested the best ultramobile PCs (UMPCs) on the market, and while these newly released models aren't cheap, they're each robust enough to be the only desktop you'll ever need.


OQO Model 02

Size: 3.3 x 5.6 in. Weight: 9 1 lb. $1,850; www.oqo.com [4 STARS]

PROS OQO has clearly learned from its early mistakes in the UMPC market. The new Model 02 has a sharp screen, a 60GB hard drive, and an ergonomically brilliant docking station, and it's the only UMPC that truly fits in your pocket. Features like EVDO mobile broadband and Wi-Fi are a big plus, but the keyboard is the 02's crowning achievement. The perfectly spaced keys avoid the "dumb thumb" problem common to most UMPCs.

CONS The 02 doesn't have slots for Compact Flash or SD cards, so you'll need a USB adapter for those. The lack of FireWire also means some MP3 players and videocameras won't connect.

BUY THIS ONE IF ... You're a truly mobile professional who needs constant, fast connectivity and a PC wherever you go.

Sony Vaio VGN-UX390N

Size: 3.7 x 5.9 in. Weight: 1.2 lb. $2,500; www.sonystyle.com [3 STARS]

PROS Sony's technical wizardry shines in the new Vaio VGN-UX390N, which is the most feature-rich of this group. It has two built-in cameras, a fingerprint scanner, and a 32GB solid-state flash memory drive (SSD) that's faster and more durable than a traditional hard drive and lasts longer on a charge. The UX390N also has the brightest and sharpest screen of the bunch and uses Edge cellular technology (a close second to EVDO) for connecting to the Web when Wi-Fi isn't available.

CONS While the 4.5-inch screen is sharp, the small text can strain your eyes, and the keys are spaced far enough apart to make typing uncomfortable.

BUY THIS ONE IF ... You're willing to trade a little bit of readability and portability for some very cool features.

Samsung Q1P SSD

Size: 5.5 x 9.0 in. Weight: 1.7 lb. $2,000; www.samsung.com [3 STARS]

PROS Samsung takes a different approach to mobile computing and it works with the Q1P. It dodges the dumb thumb issue with a glorious 7-inch touch- screen that's easy to use as a virtual keyboard or a template for scribbling notes. (The handwriting recognition is phenomenal.) The Q1P comes with a 32GB SSD as well as AVStation Now software for fast access to music, photos, and movies. Add the optional organizer case and a portable USB keyboard and you have the next best thing to a standard notebook.

CONS The Q1P is the bulkiest of the bunch, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are your only options for wireless Internet.

BUY THIS ONE IF ... You can't stand tiny keyboards and want a device that lets you work hard and play hard.  Top of page

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