JVC is better known for its home entertainment and camcorder ranges in the UK, but in Japan it has been shipping Windows CE-based devices for a while. Now it is taking a step up and offering its first subnotebooks, which will run Windows XP.

The new JVC models are the MP-XP7120 and the MP-XP3210. The former runs XP Professional, uses an 800MHz Mobile Pentium III processor, and has 256MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive, while the latter is powered by a 650MHz Mobile Celeron, runs XP Home and has 128MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive.

Both have 8.9in widescreen TFT displays, which support a maximum resolution of 1,024x768, SoundBlaster Pro sound cards, FireWire and USB connectors, plus built-in ethernet and SD (Secure Digital) slots.

The units measure 225x152x28mm; the 3210 weighs in at 880g, while the 7210 is 5g heavier.

The move into this market puts JVC in direct competition with Sony's Vaio C1.

The C1 is virtually identical in terms of size at 248x152x27mm, although it is slightly heavier at 1kg and is powered by Transmeta's Crusoe processor. A new C1 model, the C1MHP, is due out here in two weeks, and it will use an 867MHz processor, 256MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive. It will be priced £1,619.

JVC's models are due for launch in Japan and Germany at the end of the month, but there are plans to launch in the UK soon after. UK pricing has not been set, but in Japan the 3210 costs approximately ¥160,000 (£866), while the 7210 is expected to be ¥210,000 (£1,136).