So yesterday evening we hit up the launch event for the Vaio VGN-T350, Sony's new ultraportable lappy that comes pretty fully stocked in the wireless department (you may remember this one from about a month ago, when word of it leaked out courtesy of the FCC). Besides the usual 802.11b/g WiFi, the T350 also comes with Bluetooth (still a rarity in PCs) and—and this is the biggie—built-in cellular for connecting up to Cingular's GPRS/EDGE data network.
The real question is, how badly do you need to have a WAN connection built into your laptop? Most people who need to rock GPRS or EDGE or EV-DO on their laptop usually get by with using a wireless laptop card. You lose the integration, but you also don?t have to worry about your laptop feeling obsolete when a newer, faster network is deployed 12 or 18 months later (Cingular is already building out their high-speed HSDPA network). The real advantage here is how seamless the integration is. Cingular?s WAN utility made getting on their EDGE network a snap, and Sony?s new SmartFi technology made switching back and forth between EDGE and WiFi pretty easy. Those two factors alone might make it worthwhile for road warriors who want to get online with as little hassle as possible. Cingular is charging $80 a month for unlimited data, though there?s a cheaper $50 a month plan that includes 50MB of data. Our other major question: is the laptop SIM locked to Cingular?s network? Could you go overseas and use the T350 with another carrier?s network?
The rest of the specs on the T350 are suspiciously similiar to that Vaio T2 we mentioned last month: it?s got a 10.6-inch widescreen LCD (with XBRITE), a 1.2GHz Pentium M processor, a 60GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, a double layer DVD+-RW drive, and a battery life of 9 hours (there?s no way they?re getting that with the EDGE cranked up). Should be available in June for about $2200, with silver and burgundy options also available.
The Vaio VGN-T350 in burgundy.
The VGN-T350?s SIM card slot.