In a recent blog post, I talked about getting an small internet capable device. As this post’s title suggests, I decided to buy the Sony Mylo. Obviously, this decision was somewhat difficult, only partially because Sony is evil. The bigger problem was that convergance really hasn’t happened yet for small devices. Sure it would be cool to have a multi-facted, swiss-army knife portable gaget. But we have that device, it’s called a laptop. Getting any smaller and cheaper requires you to give up something (or buy more than one device).
The end result is that I bought the mylo knowing that there would be problems and annoyances. This has been true to some extent. However, what I didn’t expect was just how useful the device is. Last weekend, I attended the Atlanta Java Symposium (aka No Fluff, Just Stuff). The mylo performed admirably. I was able to jump on wireless networks with ease. Even the encrypted networks at home and at the office are are breeze to use. One potential drawback is that it does not support WPA2 Enterprise. However, since nowhere I go uses that level of security, this hasn’t been a problem for me.
The screen is plenty big enough for web browsing. The mylo runs an embedded version of Opera, and is therefore a real html web browser, meaning you can visit all of your favorite sites. The only drawback is that many sites don’t render well on a 320x240 screen. Some of the best sites are the low image version of BBC news. Many sites can be made quite enjoyable to view using the “fit to screen” function of Opera, or by viewing the printed version. One example of a site that completely sucks on this thing is Slashdot, which refuses to become compact.
Another extremely useful feature is the ability to save a site to the Mylo’s flash memory. This has been handy in saving directions for short day trips. I’d rather have a small compact device than a few sheets of paper that always seem to get stepped on.
Along with a web browser, the Mylo uses Skype, Gtalk, and Yahoo! for communication. Skype and Gtalk work wonderfully. It takes a while to adjust to the keyboard, but after that, typing speed is decent. I think I’m much faster on it than I would be with grafitti. The sound quality with Skype is extremely good, though I don’t really skype much yet. Yahoo’s client doesn’t seem to be as good as Gtalk’s, and there’s no AIM. These aren’t deal breakers for me, since most of the people I know are hard-core Google fans.
The Mylo also includes support for playing MP3’s and Mpeg4 movies. However, I haven’t actually used these features yet.
At $350 (plus tax) it’s a bit pricey. It’s the price of a used laptop on ebay. A few hundred more could get you a new laptop without the software restrictions. However, the mylo is much smaller, can be used the whole day without a recharge, and can do most of what you would want to do at a hotspot. That alone made it worth it for me.
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