The Vaio is one of Sony's first new notebooks which combines contemporary design and technology with significant doses of entertaining multi-media features. The thin sleek case has a refreshing gray and lavender color scheme and generous sized keyboard, for a laptop, that makes typing with my extra large hands comfortable for longer periods. It's 5.5 pounds and 9 x 11 x 1.25 inch size allow it to fit into a brief case or medium size computer bag.
The unit's Intel 150MHz MMX Pentium processor , 16 MB RAM, 14 X CD-ROM, 33.6 kbps full-duplex modem kept things moving along at only moderate speed when first purchased. A RAM upgrade to 64MB was necessary to improve performance. The 12.1 inch color screen provides bright, vivid images with good color saturation. Multi-media highlights include MPEG1 video, which is Sony tuned, and supports full screen display of images taken with Sony's new digital Mavica camera that can be transmitted via a built-in infrared port at the back of the computer. The unit also takes advantage of today's multi-media, gaming and entertainment applications. You can even listen to audio CD's when the computer is in suspend or sleep mode.
This elegantly designed, consumer machine gives the impression that Sony took great care to make the machine easy to setup and use. It looks cool and has established the product platform for more advanced and ultra thin units such as the popular Vaio 505, 748 and 808 series. The user guide was well organized and laid out which facilitated a straight forward easy setup. Sony's 7X24 customer service, SOS software and telephone tech support perform remote diagnostics which helped keep this computer running smoothly.
In the peripherals department, CD, floppy disc, batteries smoothly fit into bays. They even supply a weight saver cover to protect the computer when a bay is empty. An optional docking station can accommodate 14 elements, including : video out, USB, mouse/keyboard, game port, line in/out, monitor , Ethernet and SCSI connections. Battery pack recharging and CD or floppy drives can be handled by the docking station as well. This accessory is available through Sony and other companies for about $100 to $200 depending if networking is required.
The Lithium Ion battery provides power for 2 to 3 hours when fully charged after 2.5 hours. Additional time can be obtained by purchasing a second battery pack at $250 for an empty drive bay. However, a little extra weight is added.
An on screen Communication Center feature allows easy access to place and receive calls and faxes, check messages and use your phone book including your Web browser.
In summary, this unit is a well thought system with good prospects for long term durability and ease of use. Its niche is multimedia and entertainment applications in a very stylish package.
Contemporary Design with attractive colors
Well laid out keyboard
Easy to Use
Base unit has too little RAM (only 16MB)
© 1998 Jim Bennett All rights reserved.