Review: Vaio UX180P orientation

In this installment of the feature-specific review series, I’ll take a closer look at the UX180P’s screen orientation modes.

Ease of Use
The quickest way to switch from landscape to portrait mode is by pushing the dedicated button on the touch panel.


The UX in portrait mode is much bigger and heavier than a PDA,


but it’s still relatively comfortable for one-handed operation (while resting your arm on your knee or lap!) thanks to the touch screen and retractable stylus. The system responds very quickly to the orientation change, and everything is optimized quite nicely.


If you don’t like using the stylus or seeing fingerprints on the screen, the buttons surrounding the LCD can be reconfigured in a number of ways. By default, they perform different functions in portrait mode than when in landscape mode. Since I use the latter more frequently, I hit the wrong buttons all the time. Everytime I think I’m clicking, I end up zooming! I keep meaning to remap everything but never get around to actually doing it.

In truth, I’m still trying to figure out the reason behind the screen orientation options. Beyond doodling tall stick figures and jotting down a quick list via the preinstalled PlusSoft PenPlus for VAIO program, the only purpose I’ve found for ever using the portrait function is to read eBooks (I use the desktop/laptop version of Microsoft Reader).

In landscape mode, eBooks waste a lot of screen space,


even if the program is maximized to full screen.


Portrait mode is excellent for eBooks. Even when the font size is set to "small" (the second largest of five sizes), the text is very clear and readable.


The largest font size looks good, too.


Although portrait mode makes reading eBooks enjoyable, I’m still not convinced of its necessity. If I bought eBooks made for Adobe Reader, for example, I don’t think I’d ever rotate the screen. It does occasionally come in handy when viewing certain websites but more often than not, most pages end up requiring side-scrolling, which I can’t stand.

Oh well. At least it’s nice to look at.


Off-Topic Gripe
Speaking of nonessential features, what’s the point of a touch screen without Windows Tablet PC? It’s a novelty to be able to touch (or tap) icons and other buttons, sure, but Windows XP Home/Pro users are so accustomed to using a mouse or pointing device that the absence of a touch screen (and PenPlus and the questionable Touch Command for that matter) wouldn’t be missed. I’d rather have recovery discs and the stand that comes with the UX90!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Vaio UX180P orientation

  • Avatar of James Kendrick

    I like taking notes in portrait mode with OneNote and for reading ebooks as you’ve mentioned. For the notetaking portrait mode more naturally approximates a small notepad.

  • Avatar of Anonymous

    Personnaly, I will use the portrait mode to take my customers’ orders in my products list. Without that mode, I wouldn’t buy the UX.

    I guess for each person needs are different, and it’s the accumulation of details like that that make it a top selling product, answering (different) needs for most of us.

    By the way, for me it’s the real first PDA that answers ALL my professional needs, technically. The only last thing to consider is the price, still a bit too high for the usage. But that’s of course a sure thing to go down with time. So we’re on the right track.

    Well done Sony. Thanks for yours users’ needs awareness.


  • One thing I’ve found in my UX390cn is that occasionally dialogue boxes will appear where it is impossible to click the “ok” or “cancel” buttons because they are off the bottom of the screen. I found if I switch to the portrait mode, I can then click on the buttons.

  • What resolution are you using? The only time I encounter the issue on a 1024 x 600 display is when I mess with the DPI settings.

    Have you tried the UMPC scrollbar utility?


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