The glitz, the glamour, drunkenly ringing your step-mom at 3am to tell her you’ve married a transgendered hooker called Analise… it’s the high-tack spirit of Las Vegas that Raon Digital has summoned to perfectly gloss the latest on the “is that a PC in your pocket?” catwalk. Flaunting the same 800×480 resolution of its UMPC brethren, only squeezed into a UX50-alike 4.5 inch screen, this “Ultra Portable PC” appears to have pitched its tent firmly in the multimedia/gaming camp. Noble aims, but given reviewers’ general lack of excitement when hands-on with the first generation of UMPCs, you’d be forgiven for harbouring step-mom-like suspicions that the relationship between gamer and Vega won’t last.
Like Analise, however, the Vega has a few hidden surprises, not least under the hood. For there, glistening proudly, lies AMD’s oh-so-special Geode LX800 processor with its cluster of graphics wizardry, capable of spitting out 3D graphics that might have some PSP owners wondering what they’d get for trade-in. Because here’s the kicker: Raon Digital are hinting at a bargainous $700 for the Vega, nicely undercutting far-chunkier UMPCs. Okay, you could pick up a few PSPs for that, or – as naysayers will doubtless bleat – one of Sony’s finest and a cheap laptop from BestBuy, but how likely are you to whip your laptop out on the subway to check email, or bother hooking up a DMB tuner (one of the Vega’s optional accessories) to watch TV? Add that to the 5.5hr promised battery life and the deal gets sweeter.
The big question, of course, is when. Lucky Korea gets the Vega sometime in September, apparently, with International release “very likely”. We could sob over the few specific details, yes, or we could concentrate on saving up our milk money. After all, you could spend more on an Elvis-themed wedding.