Oct 17, 2009

Sony Vaio VGN-P11Z a netbook in particular format
While the market for netbooks appears advocating the status quo technology, some manufacturers are trying to hold their own game is the case with Dell, for instance, with its Mini range including the Mini 12, or from Asus, with its Eee PC S101. Sony, meanwhile, did not immediately thrown into the battle were delivered MSI, Asus and many others. And with almost a year behind everyone that the Japanese company announced at CES this year, the Vaio VGN-P11Z. A year of reflection, a year to mature a product that would stand out from the competition? This is what we'll see.

We used the term "netbook" to describe this laptop, and it is not necessarily appropriate. In fact, Sony even refute some of this appellation, considering its product as relatively remote from traditional netbooks like the Asus Eee PC or MSI Wind. We shall see later, some arguments, however, lead us to consider it as such. Others not. This applies to the shape of its chassis, which is not connected to anything that exists today. The Sony Vaio VGN-P11Z measure indeed 24.5 inches wide, 12 cm deep and 2 cm thick. It is almost as large as a netbook classic, but is much less deep and weighs particularly heavy half with 600 grams ... Battery included! This is not the transformer that supplied by Sony will charge more, the latter being particularly discreet.

Sony Vaio P
Sony Vaio P
Sony Vaio P - Chargeur

The Sony VGN-P11Z placed on the Samsung NC10, though one of the finest in its class

In the bowels of the Vaio VGN-P11Z

Logo vista seguridad bubble

While the vast majority of netbooks on the market today are equipped with all Intel Atom N270 processor and Intel 945 chipset, Sony has opted for the platform Poulsbo already tested in our columns via the article in the Dell Mini 12. This platform is equipped with Intel GMA 500, a graphics chip that can decode HD material, but rather uncomfortable in 3D. So much so that even with 2 GB of RAM provided by Sony, the activation causes Aero, Windows Vista, real slow. You will understand, it's Windows Vista Home Premium is installed on the laptop from Sony.

As for the processor installed in the Vaio is still a model of the Atom family, the Z520 in this case . Clocked at 1.33 GHz (against 1.6 for the N270), the FSB is only 533MHz and its memory, L2 cache of 512 K. In other words, this processor is anything but a lightning war. However, it has the advantage to be 45nm and have a thermal envelope (TDP) of only 2 Watts. So a component that heats very little, which explains the lack of ventilation on the Sony netbook.

The hard drive that the team Vaio VGN-P11Z is not a source of heat. With a capacity (relatively low) to 60 GB, 2.5-inch hard drive only runs at 4 200 rpm, which reduces both the noise, heat and ... performance. Note however that it is possible to replace this disc a SSD of 64 or 128 GB (option proposed by Sony). For those who remain in the good old magnetic disk, Sony has provided a protection of the latter. Accessible via the control panel, the Vaio Control Center offers three settings: protecting low, medium or high. If you opt for the latter setting, the performance of your disk will be significantly reduced compared with the setting "Low", about 13% according to our tests.

Protection DD

What equipment for this netbook?
The battery is one of the most important components of a computer made for mobility, because its characteristics have to deal with the need for substantial autonomy and a weight that should be as low as possible. The team that the Vaio VGN-P11Z is particularly small (less than 140 grams) and has 4 cells for a capacity of 2 300 mAh. A weight-capacity so interesting. It remains to see the real autonomy of the machine, knowing that if it does not satisfy you, Sony also offers models with 8 cell battery, with an additional financial effort.

Sony Vaio P

The battery of Sony Vaio VGN-P11Z, thin and lightweight

The small size of the computer associated with a keyboard that retains some ergonomics requires some sacrifices. This is why you will not find a touchpad on this notebook. He is replaced by a trackpad fashionable Dell. As well tell you right now, we're not fans of this type of device: the time taken to point to a specific element is much larger than a mouse or a touchpad. However, one supplied by Sony is accurate and handy. The webcam placed in the top right corner of the screen is however a fairly average quality, since the resolution does not exceed 0.3 megapixel.

Sony Vaio P
Sony Vaio P

For reasons of space, the trackpad has replaced the traditional touchpad

If we look a little on the ends of the Vaio, it is a USB socket, audio output and the outlet on the left side, while the right side also has a USB connector and a rather unusual .
A USB socket, audio output and the outlet on the left side ...

This decision is in fact support an additional module supplied by Sony and which contains a VGA connector and an Ethernet. The trick to relocate the ports that are not always necessary displacement is fairly well found, although the appearance of the module in question somewhat spoils the aesthetics of the Vaio.

Sony Vaio P
Sony Vaio P

Vaio Smart Network

Sony Ericsson C905

Sony Ericsson C905

Fruit of the convergence of expertise in telephony, Ericsson and Sony in multimedia subsidiary, Sony Ericsson has a great potential for creating mobile in the era of time. Example with the C905, where the letter C stands for Cybershot range of Sony photo. No doubt it is really a camera phone!
Sony Ericsson C905
Sony Ericsson C905_ouvert

Phone overview

The C905 is a phone fairly upscale. It is seen in its fact sheet that does not overlook anything: quad, 3G/3G, Bluetooth, WiFi, A-GPS, modem ... Côté communication, this phone will charm the most discerning! Even finding the multimedia part, where the C905 knows almost everything: music, videos, radio, video games ... The finishing C905, combining metal and plastic soft confirms its elitist aspirations. Note however that the first test model we received was obviously already spent several hands and was rather poorly lived thing scratches, varnish chipped keys, display bugs ... yet can not draw any conclusion whatsoever have already seen many other old phones to make and not knowing the fate that had undergone this phone. The housing of the C905 is quite compact but surprisingly heavy: the slice is 2 cm at the target! The phone, type slider, has a 2.4 inch TFT screen 240 x 320 pixel display 262 000 colors. Very bright and nice! Finally, side menus not change, it is always clear and well designed. The regulars will find their marks immediately, others will feel quickly at ease.
Sony Ericsson C905_épaisseur
Sony Ericsson C905_menu

Ergonomics and reactivity

From comfortable, it also feels great when moving the controls of the camera that lies dormant in him. Simply slide the lens cap in brushed metal and the phone starts the camera mode. The grip is excellent for a phone. Overweight of C905, ungracious for a high-end phone, plays in his favor. And unlike the Player Ultra, it is not necessary to have made the keyboard. Similarly, the controls are all on the top, arranged like a real camera, zoom left and right trigger. Between the two, Sony Ericsson has lodged a button for quick access to viewing content and another to switch between the photo and video modes. The icing on the cake, the manufacturer issued the directional pad shortcuts typical cameras (focus, measure expo, flash and self timer), with the usual icons backlit in blue. On the left edge of the device (the top of the phone), the two small buttons that are used normally to quickly access the phone's media are here to give two other shortcuts: choice of scenes and modes of shooting. Finally, the menus are modeled on those of Sony Digital Cameras: A banner at the bottom of the screen where you move to access various settings. Ergonomics yours!

Sony Ericsson C905_objectif
Sony Ericsson C905_commandes
C905 Objective and Controls

Sony Ericsson C905_pavé
Sony Ericsson C905_tenue

In terms of responsiveness, the C905 is doing pretty well overall, but still quite far from the leader of this comparison. The lighting is slightly faster than the Ultra Player, but 3.3 seconds is a little long when the situation requires a furtive trip. The C905 makes its worst performance on the sequence of shots, since it takes about 6 seconds between shots! For cons, the onset latency of approximately 0.4 seconds is reasonable. Autofocus understood it takes 1.4 seconds between the development and management of the photo. Sony Ericsson did not see fit to propose burst function, but you can always opt for BestPic mode that captures seven images in 8.5 seconds and then asks you where you want to keep. Finally, the data transfer (USB mass storage mode) reach 4.5 MB / s, a correct figure but worse than the laptop from Samsung. The cable is used as the owner ...

Sony Ericsson C905_connectique

Cable multi-purpose owner

Settings and Features
The Sony Ericsson C905 is slightly more moderate than the Ultra Player for settings and features. But the key is there, accessible through the shortcuts described above or directly from the menu. The user has first choice of shooting: normal, intelligent contrast, BestPic, panorama or frames. In contrast smart phone uses a levels adjustment so as to balance the picture. Effective enough to produce photos without flash but treatment remains imperfect as it also enhances the bright areas in addition to leading the shadows. So the result is often overexposed. Panorama mode, limited to three photos, is all there is more classic: you take the first shot, then the phone displays on the screen throughout the captured image that is superimposed on the new frame for take the next picture. The assembly is automated. Step menu, 8 scene modes (auto, landscape, portrait ... etc.). Then comes a bunch of settings: image resolution, focus (auto, face detection, macro or infinity), flash (auto, red eye reduction, off), timer, metering mode (normal or spot), balance white (car + four possibilities) and effects (black and white, negative, sepia and solarization). The last menu entry brings to camera settings that more image: JPEG (2 levels), beam AF speed BestPic mode, display pictures after the shooting, stabilizer, geo-tagging, location of 'registration, and rotate photos of his trip.

Sony Ericsson C905_menu principal
Sony Ericsson C905_mode PDV

Main menu and access mode by button shortcut

Sony Ericsson C905_panoramique

Pan made from the phone

What is missing in the C905? Not much. We would still appreciate the sensitivity settings of ISO or trio contrast, saturation and sharpness. Moreover, the option of marking through the Geographic GPS chip has proved far less effective than the Ultra Player, the C905 requires much more time to find satellites. And the video mode to the limited resolution of 320 x 240 pixels really pales beside the Ultra Player ...

Quality photos
The C905 does it better than the Ultra Player? Overall yes. Optics, barely wide angle (approx. 37 mm) is much more homogeneous. At the center sharpness is good on the edges, it is very correct, and without excessive distortion. Give expression to what the sensor of 8.1 Mpix. At this level, the difference is obvious. By cons, in terms of quality of treatment, we see by zooming to 100% on an image taken at ISO 64 textures that are already relatively smooth. And there is a perceived noise chromatic permanent, more or less visible depending on the brightness of the scene but this still! At lower sensitivities, the Ultra Player is doing better. However, even for prints in A4 rendering of Sony Ericsson will be better, thanks to its more serious approach. In low light conditions, the chromatic noise grows considerably but the smoothing is moderate and is for once quite normal at this level of sensitivity. The C905 does not apparently goes beyond ISO 400, but it is not very serious because its Xenon flash works well on a range of about 2-3m. Incomparably more efficient than the LED Ultra Player! White balance and exposure metering are generally fair, exterior and interior, although the color rendering tends slightly on the cold sunlight. Side digital zoom, the C905 is no miracle, interpolation is still as low quality. But at least the phases of zooming is fast and fluid (best for video). Finally, stabilization proposed by Sony Ericsson shows a little more effective than that proposed by Samsung, but still no common measure with optical stabilization.

Sony Ericsson C905_photo GA extérieur
Sony Ericsson C905_photo zoom 2,5 X extérieur
Sony Ericsson C905_photo zoom 16 X extérieur

Sony Ericsson C905_photo contre jour
Sony Ericsson C905_photo macro
Sony Ericsson C905_photo portrait flash

photo light with wide dynamic range enabled, macro, portrait indoors with flash

Sony Ericsson C905_photo mise en scène 5000K
Sony Ericsson C905_photo stab OFF
Sony Ericsson C905_photo stab ON

Publishing Opportunities

The C905 comes with software Sony Ericsson PC Suite, Media Manager and Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.2. The first used the management functions smartphone from the PC and the second transfer of media files on the phone (with conversion if necessary). The third is actually a very simplified version of Photoshop Elements, which contains only the part manager pictures (album classification, labeling ...) plus some editing features. Automatic adjustment of color levels, contrast and sharpness, cropping and red-eye correction. This brief but still better than nothing! The C905 also incorporates its own editing tools. Two methods. Either you use the Photo Fix which optimizes the image so fully automatic (I kind of lucky with Picasa). Whether you go by the publisher and PhotoDJ and access to various settings: auto levels, light balance, brightness / contrast, saturation, rotate, add effects and elements. Among the effects, we find the classical black and white or sepia, but the addition of a hue (color shift), solarization, negative transition, filters and creative cartoon, frosted glass and paint. In addition to being simple to use, these editing features have the advantage of being controllable for some of them (brightness / contrast, saturation, adding color ...). The result is more accurate and qualitative!

Adobe Photoshop Album ED

Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.2

Sony Ericsson C905_mode retouche
Sony Ericsson C905_choix effet
Sony Ericsson C905_dosage effet

The menu editing integrated

At least € 375 outside the package, the price of Sony Ericsson C905 up a notch compared to the Ultra Player. The fare difference is however justified by the presence of WiFi, but mostly by camera phone skills generally higher (quality lens, Xenon flash, zoom, fluid ...). With an increased responsiveness and image processing less smoothing in the low sensitivities, the C905 would have flirted with perfection. Meanwhile, the camera phone is clearly the comparative is closest to a DSLR in terms of ergonomics, an important aspect!

Samsung Player Ultra

Samsung Ultra Player
You could hardly miss the many advertisements for Player Ultra, the latest Korean mobile manufacturer Samsung. Its originality be both tactile and has a sliding keyboard. And its features photographs are equivalent to those of the Player Pixon!

Samsung Player Ultra
Samsung Player Ultra_ouvert

Phone overview
Ultra Player his stage name, the S8300 is a phone of its time. It is fully multimedia (audio, video, radio, office files ...) and integrates virtually all standard technologies that communicate, with the exception of WiFi rather unfortunate. The quad-band phone is compatible with all network data from GPRS to 3G + (HSDPA). It is equipped with a Bluetooth chip, as all phones today, and also an A-GPS receiver. For information, Assisted GPS is a method of geolocation, which is based on servers in the operator, which has its own satellite dishes to facilitate connections between the phone and satellites. The initial identification of the mobile is doing in the ladle by simple triangulation GSM. Unlike the autonomous GPS, where the mobile device directly research satellites for guidance, a mobile A-GPS will require servers to its operator where the closest satellite, and via the data network (GPRS or 3G) . The advantage is that the first connection is faster and guiding less resources because it is the server of the operator who will perform the necessary calculations to determine the position of satellites. And the process works best in areas with low visibility of the sky. By cons, if the GPRS or 3G coverage is lacking, support is possible.

We find otherwise customizable touchscreen interface (widgets) of previous models, this time with a 2.8-inch AMOLED screen ultra bright, which displays 16 million colors beautiful! Tactile but also because the slider Ultra Player cache a sliding keyboard. This Samsung sounds like an admission of weakness: the touch is for show, but to enter text and numbers, the keyboard is still more convenient ... It appreciates the delicacy of the cons cell (for a camera phone Touch ...) or the quality of the finish product, with the exception of the battery hatch which scratches very quickly.

Samsung Player Ultra_maps
Samsung Player Ultra_clavier

Navigation in Google Maps and slider

Ergonomics and reactivity

And now, if you took a picture? To do this, it is mandatory to open the slide since the optical, flash and mirror (for self portraits) are housed behind the screen, under the hull. Dedicated hand, we find the trigger on the right edge of the phone and the zoom button, which adjusts the volume normally on the left spine. A provision impractical since with the shutter on the forefinger and thumb zoom in, it tends to press both keys simultaneously. As the phone is fine, we must keep both hands to obtain sufficient stability: careful not to cover the lens, eccentric left, with fingers!

The six other controls are tactile, arranged on either side of the screen in vertical strips. The judicious combination of settings in the menus is that setting the phone easily. Menus that are crossing visually pleasing as airy and explicit. The touchscreen responds quite well except on the edges of the screen to confirm that it is often necessary to make a dry contact with the finger. It's annoying the first time but you'll quickly get the knack. And if you do not do it, Samsung has provided shortcuts on the keyboard keys 1, 2, 3, *, 0 and #, which provide quick access to certain settings. Pity it is not possible to customize.
Samsung Player Ultra_déclencheur
Samsung Player Ultra_zoom

Trigger and zoom control

Samsung Player Ultra_objectif
Samsung Player Ultra_tenue

Objective and holding the camera

To switch to shooting mode, two options: either we keep the shutter button, or you through the menu and clicking on the camera icon. By the faster, the camera is available in 3.5 seconds, a reasonable time. 3.5 seconds is also the time between two shots, and then the Ultra Player ranks rather high in the pavement. The autofocus works well (1.65 s) but sees himself penalized by the onset latency than the average 0.6 seconds (delay between when the shutter is pressed and when the photo was taken). If the subject is fast, he'll have to anticipate! Unless you use the burst mode, which takes 9 pictures in just over 4 seconds, but resolution 0.3 Mpix ... Finally, the speed of data transfer (USB mass storage mode) reached 5.5 MB / s, a figure very correct. And the cable is a standard USB microphone, a good point!

Samsung Player Ultra_connectique

Micro USB Cable

Settings and Features

The Ultra Player ranks well at this level: it is packed with settings that do not often found on compact APN. The first command to touch the top left of the screen to choose the shooting: normal stage or video. Incidentally, the video mode Ultra Player surpasses all the competition, with a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels in MPEG-4 Visual at 30 frames per second! The control located just below serves to clarify the previous choice: if you are in the scene, here you can choose from 14 configurations. In normal touch this command provides access to different modes: single photo, burst, panorama, smile detection, mosaic picture frames or photo booth fun way. The panorama mode is stunning simplicity: select the number of photos you want to bind, capture the first frame and then rotate slowly in the direction indicated, Ultra Player automatically following pictures and final assembly! The result, however imperfect, is rather successful given the lack of effort. On the right side of the screen are arranged in the order the flash control (automatic or forced off), exposure compensation (-2 to +2 EV) and the play button to switch to viewing.

Samsung Player Ultra_menus

Samsung Player Ultra_panoramique

Panoramic done in seconds

We've saved the best for last, with the button at the bottom left that contains all other settings. The list is long: autofocus mode (AF, macro, face detection, depth of field maximum), timer (useless because the phone does not on its edge ...), resolution, white balance, effects (black and white, sepia ... ), sensitivity (100 to 1 600 ISO), exposure metering (matrix, weighted, spot), stabilizer, WDR (wide dynamic range to balance the contrasting scenes), detection of eye blinks, choice of compression (four levels ), and independent adjustment of contrast, saturation and sharpness! That's for the picture settings. Because there is also a second tab for the camera settings: grid display, thumbnail images, automatic rotation, geo-tagging, shutter sound, location of storage ... arch is short track, worthy of a good compact! Note that the optional geo-tagging works perfectly, the Ultra Player very quickly locating satellite signals. If you use Picasa and Google Earth, your photos will be geo-marked automatically placed on the globe.

Samsung Player Ultra_paramètres
Samsung Player Ultra_geotagging

Photo Settings and geo-tagging

Quality photos
Now for something serious. The Player offers Ultra-he image quality worthy of a compact 8 Megapixel? No, clearly not. The lack of a perspective already too irregular if the center of the picture reveals sufficient clarity on the edges are fuzzy edges and slightly deformed. Note that the fixed focal length is roughly equal to 38 mm in 24x36: A little more perspective would have been welcome. In addition, telephony requires, the images are quite compressed. Even by setting up quality, you can see slight artifacts when viewing images at full size. But it remains generally moderate to low sensitivity, the Ultra Player delivers images balanced, good for a phone. However, the paradox between the miniaturization of sensors (3 to 5 mm wide) and the surge in the number of photosites (8 million here) begins to cause problems in image processing at high sensitivities. Thus, the rather good quality in daylight is quickly altered when the light drops and increase the ISO: fleecy edges, noise color and texture is blurred in a smooth delivery. The results are suitable to ISO 200, ISO 400 means little exploitable and beyond, except possibly for small prints troubleshooting. However, the extent of exposure generally is doing well and the white balance is just outside and rather correct procedure.

The Player Ultra is the only camera phone if the comparison to not having opted for a Xenon flash but a single LED. The result is clear: its power is low enough to freeze a dimly lit scene and made turns green. Finally, another big difference with a compact camera is the lack of optical zoom. It will take just a few quality digital zoom operates as a simple interpolation of pixels. In 4X zoom, only a quarter of the resolution is used, either 816 x 612 pixels (0.5 MP): the missing pixels are created artificially to arrive at 8 MP. In addition, the zoom transitions take place in increments of 0.25 X so choppy and slow. Better to avoid abuse. Same story with regard to stabilization, there also digital, far less efficient than optically. And anyway, given the poor quality digital zoom, one wonders why propose a stabilization ... Note that wide-angle, turn the digital stabilization extends the focal length, which becomes even less wide angle.

Samsung Player Ultra_extérieurGA
Samsung Player Ultra_extérieurTL
Samsung Player Ultra_WDR

photo outside the large-angle, 4X zoom and photo light against the light with wide dynamic range enabled

Samsung Player Ultra_macro
Samsung Player Ultra_portrait flash
Samsung Player Ultra_lab

From left to right: macro photography, portrait indoors with flash, staged at 5000 ° K

Samsung Player Ultra_1600ISO_stabOFF
Samsung Player Ultra_1600ISO_stabON

At left, photo 1 600 ISO without stabilization right with stabilization (full size)

Publishing Opportunities

The Ultra Player no shortage of material resources. And so much better because Samsung does not provide software for image editing, but simply PC Studio, an interface to manage the phone via the computer. So you have to use third party software or make your edits from the phone. On the menu, there are effects (14 filters, 13 styles, 10 distortions, blurring effect part), colorimetric adjustments (levels, brightness, contrast, color), the basic transformations (resize, rotate, flip, crop) and insertions (frame, image, clipart, emoticons, text). Not much to criticize except that most effects and filters are not controllable and that the miniatures that symbolize are not always very striking.
Samsung Player Ultra_effet1
Samsung Player Ultra_effet2
Samsung Player Ultra_effet3

Sold from € 349 outside the package, the Ultra Player is a camera phone fun to use and complete. Overall, it delivers very accurate images for a phone. If he is totally convincing outside, it is disappointing however indoors because of its flash LED too small and management of high sensitivity, respectable for a phone but smaller than a compact. Not enough to replace a camera but then one extra interesting solution to capture instant on the spot, if indeed the average reactivity does not miss the moment to capture.