Vaio UX180P on vacation
An obvious advantage of the Sony UX series over, say, a subnotebook or UMPC is its size. Unlike any other gadget running a full version of Windows XP, the UX Micro PC is so small and light that I carried it in my purse while visiting New York last week. The weight and bulk of the computer were imperceptible (and I had my bag on my shoulder for 8 to 12 hours at a time), even though it was actually more than what I’m used to.
I don’t have one of those gigantic bag lady purses, so I had to sacrifice a few things to make room for my UX. One such thing was my digital camera, which is usually a must-have while on vacation. However, I chose to leave my Sony T7 at home for two reasons: 1) my husband is a shutterbug and 2) the UX180P is equipped with two cameras, the rear one capable of taking website-worthy 1.3-megapixel shots.
I already tested image and video quality several months ago, but the subject matter was hardly on par with the landscape in NYC. So here’s a new round of pictures and a short video clip taken with the UX180P’s rear camera.
Click on any image for a closer look at the original 1280 x 1024 photo.
You can see from this shot of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village that image quality isn’t too impressive. Everything is a bit blurry and the clouds are unnaturally, blindingly bright.
The camera is simply not fit for landscape photography. This next set of pictures, the first three taken from the Staten Island Ferry and the last one of the Ground Zero site, aren’t horrendous but they do have a kind of camera phone quality to them.
The UX180P camera performs better when the shooting range is within about five feet.
Indoor shots turn out okay, too, though the natural light coming in from the window creates a few issues. This is Two World Financial Center, which is across the street from where the World Trade Center towers used to stand.
The camera doesn’t ever "shine," but it’s probably at its finest at night. It has trouble handling incredibly bright lights at odd angles (most noticeable in the third, fourth, and fifth pictures below) but deals with everything else pretty nicely.
Here’s Times Square in all its chaotic glory. Despite the crowds and noise, the UX180P between my hands still managed to stand out and get looked at quite a bit: so many people did double takes and just blatantly stared (poor manners!).
I forgot to un-mute the internal microphone, so this video clip of Times Square has no sound. Too bad, too, because there was some sort of Caribbean street band playing that night.
If the stares from other tourists were considered bad in Times Square, they were appalling at the top of the Empire State Building. We made the mistake of paying the extra $30 to go to the observatory on the 102nd floor, which is a claustrophia-inducing crawlspace with no access to open air.
This is the tip of the Chrysler Building taken through glass. Definitely not worth the extra cost.
The somewhat open-air observatory on the 86th floor yielded what is probably the worst picture I took with the UX180P. Maybe I should’ve waited a bit longer for the lens to focus on all the lights.
And there you have it. Proof that even though you can comfortably carry the UX180P everywhere you go, you should never be without a real digital camera while on vacation.