I notice a pattern emerging...
I bought a netbook the other month. Do you think I bought a Samsung NC10 for a smudge over £300, or a Sony Vaio P for (again) twice the price?
In case you're still struggling, here's a little history to help you out...
In the mid 90s I begged and begged my parents for a Mini-system as a combined. They finally said yes. After much research, it was between a JVC, a Sony and an Aiwa (where are they now?). After much deliberation and in-store testing, the Aiwa had the gimmicks and bells and whistles, the JVC Adagio S20 (god I miss that thing ) had the sound quality and a decent design, the Sony had nothing to offer apart from it's looks (horrible sounding thing it was).
More recently I bought a Sony NW-E55 Network Walkman a while back. Not an MP3 player. A "Network Walkman". The hardware itself was an utterly gorgeous, well made piece of kit and a joy to use. But it didn't play MP3s natively or support drag and drop. In Sony's infinite wisdom, they insisted on forcing the use of their uniformly atrocious SonicStage software and pretended that their cack handed attempts at selling ATRAC files via Sony Connect were a viable alternative to simply ripping your own MP3s or using the iPod/iTunes setup.
I ended up flashing the hardware to allow drag and drop and native MP3 playback. But I won't buy another Sony MP3 player based on that experience. My Mum & Dad were recently researching MP3 players. They're not tech-heads (but they went from Win98 to Vista and wondered why it was so borked). I made mention of the potential lock-in if they went for an iPod. They took that on board, agreed, and decided on a Sansa Fuse in the end. Personally, I use my phone. Speaking of which...
I now a Sony Ericsson K770i phone. Again, a mostly splendid and capable piece of hardware. But hamstrung by it's OS (or lack of it). I'd also dearly love to install a Last.fm Audioscrobbler. Symbian? No probs. iPhone? Sorted. Win Mob? Yup. SE phones? Not happening. Also, the default browser is bobbins. I installed Opera Mini and it's like getting a new phone. And the video playback won't allow for fast forward or rewind. And the proprietary headphone connector is complete and utter balls. It's merely an annoying obfuscation that allows them to differentiate between their otherwise very similar K and W ranges.
In the 18 months since the K770i was released they've managed to sort out the video playback and add a couple of megapixels to the camera, but similarly priced SE phones around now offer little else. Meanwhile Nokia (and relative newcomers like Samsung) have really started to hit their stride. I expect to go back to a Nokia phone in the next couple of months. When I do, it'll probably feel all clean again, like shaving my head and having a long bath, all rolled into one. I've had a few Nokias and they've always been great. I should never have strayed.
A while back, I was in the market for a laptop 13.3" sub-2kg laptop. The only machines available with any degree of decent product design were made by Apple, Sony or Dell. Didn't want an Apple and the Sony Vaios were crazy prices. So as soon as the Dell XPS M1330 came out, I bought that. It's been a brilliant machine. And at £700, an equivalent Sony would have cost twice the price.
It is acknowledged that Sony products are priced at a premium, but why? Sony are no longer producers of premium products.