Sony Vaio JS190J (silver) review: Sony Vaio JS190J (silver)

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.2
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Best deal on an all-in-one with a Blu-ray drive; best-in-class performance for its price; relatively free of software clutter.

The Bad Its 20-inch screen is smaller than some of its competition; some redundant bundled applications; cheap mouse.

The Bottom Line By virtue of its price, its desktop processor, and its Blu-ray drive, the Sony Vaio JS190J makes a case for itself as the new king of the all-in-ones. Its screen might be a bit smaller than some, but no other all-in-one, including Apple's iMac, can do as much, as fast, for the same price.

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Finally, a Windows-based all-in-one computer earns our admiration. We've seen new all-in-one PCs from Hewlett-Packard and Averatec this year, and Apple also refreshed its popular iMac. None of them deliver as much in the way of features and performance as Sony's new, $1,499 Vaio JS190J. A full-size desktop processor helps make the Vaio JS190J faster than comparable standard desktops (as well as the fastest all-in-one), and its combination of a 20-inch LCD and a Blu-ray drive deliver on the promise of the all-in-one desktop as a self-contained secondary home entertainment system. Throw in a refreshing lack of bloatware (yes, from Sony), and it becomes easy for us to recommend the Vaio JS190J to anyone looking for a powerful, midrange PC for work or for playing digital media.

The Vaio JS190J starts at $999, but the Blu-ray drive and other upgrades kick the price of our review unit up to $1,499. We're happy that someone is finally offering a sub-$1,000 all-in-one PC, but we also think our review unit is perhaps the best deal going in all-in-one PCs. You'll find the Vaio JS190 in black, silver, and light pink variants, and the box also includes a wired mouse and keyboard set, but no remote control.


The Vaio JS190J's keyboard design looks awfully familiar.

In general, the Vaio JS190J looks like a typical all-in-one PC. It has a Webcam lens built into its top edge, an adjustable foot on the back, and the Blu-ray drive opens out from the side. Sony's spare new keyboard design even borrows its looks (heavily) from Apple's revamped iMac keyboard. The unit itself measures 16 inches high by 19.1 inches wide by approximately 2.1 inches deep, not counting the stand, which makes it about 2 inches shorter than the iMac. And while it's certainly not as attractive as Apple's all-in-one, the Vaio JS190J holds its own design-wise with any of its Windows-based competition.

And if the Windows all-in-ones haven't overtaken Apple on looks, both HP's and Averatec's new all-in-ones have trumped the lower-end iMac's 20-inch display with their 22-inch LCDs. Arguably then, the Sony's 20-inch LCD is a step backward, especially if you want to use the Vaio JS190J and its Blu-ray drive as a home theater system in a den or a dorm room. In the Sony's favor, its screen and those 22-inch models all share the 1,680x1,050-pixel screen resolution, as well as the fact that neither HP nor Averatec offer Blu-ray in the first place.

If you're still lamenting the loss of two diagonal screen inches, we suspect the Vaio JS190J's features and performance will help offset your concerns. We'll make a direct comparison with Apple's iMac, as it's the perennial all-in-one to beat, but be sure to keep an eye on the Sony's performance relative to the Vista systems when we get to the charts.

  Sony Vaio JS190J Apple iMac
Price $1,499 $1,199
CPU 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700
Memory 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 4500HD integrated graphics chip 128MB ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT
Hard drives 500GB 7,200rpm 250GB 7,200rpm
Optical drive Blu-ray drive/dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet; 802.1b/g/n Wi-Fi; Bluetooth Gigabit Ethernet; 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; Bluetooth
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) OS X 10.5.4

You'll see that the Vaio JS190 has all of the features you expect to find in an all-in-one, including 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi capability as well as a built-in Bluetooth receiver. And as with virtually every Windows desktop above even $450, this system also comes with 64-bit Windows Vista. And because that operating system will let you take advantage of it, you also get 4GB of RAM.

You'll notice a $300 price gap between the iMac and the JS190J, but the Sony's advantages in its larger hard drive and its Blu-ray drive are apparent. Based on its performance below, which is independent of the Blu-ray drive, the Vaio JS190J looks like a hell of a deal either with the drive or without it.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Sony Vaio JS190J
107 
Apple iMac
143 

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Sony Vaio JS190J
126 
Apple iMac
159 

Multimedia multitasking
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iMac
455 
Sony Vaio JS190J
616 

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Gateway FX4710
10,767 
3,009 
Sony Vaio JS190J
6,857 
3,646 
Apple iMac
5,225 
2,763 
Averatec All-in-One
4,549 
2,412 
HP TouchSmart IQ506
4,200 
2,275 

Compared with other all-in-ones, the Vaio simply cleans house. The iMac outperforms it only on our multimedia multitasking test, but on all other benchmarks the Vaio JS190J is remarkably faster than its competition. We're also impressed that it outpaces the $1,150 quad-core Gateway FX4710 midtower on our iTunes test. We'll attribute these performance wins to the Sony's desktop CPU. The other all-in-ones all use slower laptop chips. Its integrated graphics chip holds it back from playing advanced 3D games, but for all other tasks, no other all-in-one desktop can match the performance of the Vaio JS190J. If you need an all-in-one PC for productivity of any kind, we recommend this system without hesitation.

We keep harping on the Blu-ray drive in this system, and for good reason. Simply, no other vendor offers Blu-ray capability for this price. In fact, the only other vendor to offer Blu-ray in an all-in-one is Dell, who will sell you its outdated XPS One with a Blu-ray option for $1,749, or $250 more. With no separate video output on the Vaio JS190J, you're stuck with the 20-inch screen, although we found the HD video playback smooth and of acceptable quality. The audio output doesn't quite get loud enough to fill a room, but fortunately the system comes with an S/PDIF output to route the sound through a digital receiver.

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Where to Buy

Sony Vaio JS190J (silver)

Part Number: VGC-JS190J/S
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Environmental standards RoHS
  • Graphics Processor Intel GMA X4500HD Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
  • Capacity 1 x 500 GB
  • OS Provided Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Color silver
  • Monitor Type LCD