I must admit that I’m very fickle when it comes to the equipment I use on a daily basis. This means my cell phone and my computer equipment. I just hope any prospective Mrs. Wistful Writer doesn’tthink my obsession with the perfect gadget is analogous to the way I think about women.

Recently, I thought that I’d be purchasing a new BlackBerry Curve 8900. In order to pay for it, I decided I would try to sell off my MacBook. The money I get from that sale should be able to cover the cost of a cheap netbook (like the ones in the ASUS line) and the full cost of an unlocked Curve 8900 (at the time available from NewEgg for $580).

Things didn’t go the way I planned. Feeling confident in my ability to sell my Macbook for a decent price, I had finally decided to make the leap and put the Curve on my NewEgg Preferred Account. It was already in my cart, along with a an ASUS Eee PC.

I looked up at the little user info bar at the top right and the dollar amount there surprised the heck out of me: it was substantially lower than what I had been accustomed to seeing there. It was about $500 short. I clicked in.Lo and behold, the BlackBerry Curve 8900 was put on backorder. It was out of stock and out of my cart. Instead, I now only had my netbook in the cart, along with a USB charging thingamabob (I’m tired of having to turn my computer on to charge my iPod).Now, there weren’t many people writing in about my MacBook sale on Craigslist. Despite my insistence that I am very open to negotiation, including trade for goods and services, I only received a handful of responses, most of them presumably poorer folks who had older electronics lying around for trade. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that interested in what they had to offer.

Then last night, a lady emailed me with an interesting offer: two seductive hours of sultry pleasures for my MacBook.

I’m just kidding. Even if I weren’t, my gadget lust is greater than my need to sow my wild oats. Maybe that’s why that girl didn’t call back…

All foolishness aside, her offer was for a trade: my MacBook for her Sony VAIO UX Series UMPC. Now, I didn’t know what a VGN-UX390N was at first. So when I Googled it, my eyes lit up and a huge smile came across my face: I hit the jackpot! The lady was apparently a huge Mac fan and needed iChat for business purposes (presumably for the ease of video conferencing? Who knows).

I spent the better part of my late-night/wee-hours of morning researching this tiny package of tech goodness. It was a very attractive prospect. I’m currently lugging around a five-pound MacBook back and forth from school. Now, I’m a strong fellow, and my commute isn’t exactly the longest (my commute to Brooklyn for my office job took damn near an hour and 45 minutes).

But I had to think about what realistic usage patterns. I have a break in between my classes, and that’s when I intended to use my laptop/netbook/UMPC. I would go to the cafeteria, eat the cheap sandwich I bought on the way to class (a dirt cheap bacon sandwich; I decided to forgo the eggs and cheese that everyone likes to get, saving both my dollars and my heart), sip on the tea or coffee I brought along in my Thermos Nissan bottle, and read various articlesonthe Internet. That, and I also blog and work on my screenplay.

It was the extensive amount of typing that I do that worried me. I knew that the UX390N wasn’t exactly popular for its keyboard. You had to slide up the screen to access the keyboard, and with the device measruing in at nearly 6 inches wide, I knew that I would hate the wide format keyboard. I tried a Nokia N810 Internet Tablet and a T-Mobile Wing (HTC Herald), and I always dreaded typing on it. To me, the keyboard should either be full-sized or Smartphone-sized, like the BlackBerry Curve or the T-Mobile Dash (HTC S620).

This meant that I had to find a good portable keyboard. Oddly enough, there really aren’t that many collapsible or foldable keyboards from well-known manufacturers. Especially those with Bluetooth. I found one from iGo that was recommended by the UX-series community, and decided that it would perform its duties well. It had a clip area where I could rest my UMPC.

Then I started thinking about how much space this would take up in my bag compared to simply having a netbook. Overall, it would take up less space. But then I realized that these keyboards would be battery operated. If I chose to trade for this UMPC, I would have to carry and charge two different devices.

I was mulling over this great opportunity. The VAIO is an extremely expensive device: $2500 brand new, and maybe $1700 used on eBay. My MacBook sells for considerably less. Even a brand new MacBook with comparable RAM and hard disk space costs $1600. Even if I didn’t like the UMPC, I could sell it off and profit.

In the end, I decided against the trade. I felt bad for disappointing the lady, but there were several hassle factors involved with my decision. She had the Korean language version of Windows Vista installed. Now, I took a look at reinstalling an OS on the UX-series UMPCs, and frankly, it was no walk in the park. Ultimately, the driver issues, the lack of an optical drive, and a myriad of little snags in conjunction with the need for me to carry around another piece of equipment turned me off the deal.

And now I’m waiting for 6 Feb 2009, the release of Sony’s P Series laptop. Apparently I’m quite the woman when it comes to electronics. Not only was it designed for women, I enjoyed looking at the accessories. I think I’ll get a nice leather case for it. Regardless of gender design bias (screw their marketing), I am keeping my eye on this slim pretty looking piece of tech. Not only is it incredibly light and slim, it has a (more or less) full sized keyboard with a pointing stick in its proper place. It also has sports on-board GPS. Yet another awesome highlight: it features a pre-Windows instant-on OS. Outstanding. Just simply outstanding.

However, some reviews of the P Series indicate that the GPS is slow. In which case, perhaps I will be buying a Curve 8900 afterall…we shall see.

Photos of the VAIO P Series PC courtesy of CNET. Boy, I haven’t used stock photos in ages…