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16 years before the Steam Deck, Sony’s Vaio UX was the coolest portable PC ever

Isn’t the Steam Deck an incredible piece of hardware? Just look at it, hanging around Steam’s front page in all its matte black glory, promising those with copious patience and money modern PC gaming absolutely anywhere they dare take it. Valve’s machine is a bold and beautiful thing: the present pinnacle of portable PC play, and the beginning of another generation in a long and haphazard family tree. Its roots are the chunky Game Boys and laptops of the ’90s, but the Steam Deck’s closest (or at least quirkiest) ancestor is Sony’s now sixteen-year-old, but still astonishingly chic, Vaio UX. 

The chicness of Sony’s Vaios has always come at a cost—one so high that not even in my dual-wielding credit card phase did I dare order Sony’s palm-sized PC. But the lust never faded? Imagine owning a really tiny computer, one so beautiful it was used in one of Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies.

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