Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import) review: Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.6
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Battery life: 7.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Only 1.7 pounds; extremely thin; handsome; excellent performance for an ultraportable; includes 802.11g wireless PC Card.

The Bad Expensive; no drive bay; documentation isn't in English; tiny spacebar.

The Bottom Line This extraordinarily light ultraportable might thrill business travelers, but you'd be better off with a U.S. version.

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summary

The Sony VAIO X505 fits Gulliver-like performance into a Lilliputian body. Shelled in lightweight carbon fiber, this technological wonder, which turned heads at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, sports a 1GHz Pentium M processor and a 10.4-inch display, yet it tips the scales at a mind-blowingly light 1.7 pounds. It's hardly cheap either: the high-end model runs $3,999, and you'll have to type around a few Kanji keys and deal with documentation in Japanese. Sadly, this ultraportable is sold only in Japan, so you'll have to contact an importer, such as &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Edynamism%2Ecom">Dynamism.com, to get one, although most business users would be far better off with a U.S. version.

Design of Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import)

The Sony VAIO X505 placed first by the narrowest of margins in this small test group of ultraportables, but that's still fast enough to be the highest-scoring Pentium M 1GHz laptop that CNET Labs has tested. The Sony VAIO X505 scored 19 percent above the similarly configured Sony VAIO TR2A. The system scored one point above the IBM ThinkPad X40 , which houses similar components.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  

System configurations:

IBM ThinkPad X40
Windows XP Professional; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 82852/82855GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Hitachi DK13FA-40 60GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO TR2A
Windows XP Home; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK4004GAH 40GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO X505
Windows XP Professional; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK4004GAH 40GB 4,200rpm

Features of Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import)

The Sony VAIO X505's specs read like a budget laptop's--impressive, considering the unit's diminutive size. The processor is a 1GHz Pentium M, there's 512MB of SDRAM onboard, and a 20GB hard drive provides adequate storage. An Intel 82855 integrated GPU dynamically allocates up to 64MB of main memory to push pixels on the 10.4-inch, 1,024x768 active color display. The screen looks its best viewed from relatively narrow angles, since it's quite bright. The 802.11g wireless is provided via a VAIO Wireless LAN PC Card.

If there's a downside to the Sony VAIO X505 besides the heat and the price, it's the laptop's lack of a drive bay. (To be fair, ultraportables this small don't include an integrated drive bay.) Sony and Dynamism.com offer a number of external storage options, from a $99 floppy to a $599 DVD-+R/RW drive, but they can weigh almost as much as the machine itself.

The Sony VAIO X505 ships with Microsoft's Windows XP Professional operating system and a good selection of Sony utilities and programs, such as Digital Print, Drag & Drop CD+DVD, DVGate, GigaPocket Pico Player, MovieShaker, PictureGear 5.1, Smart Capture, and Sonic Stage.

Performance of Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import)

The Sony VAIO X505 placed first by the narrowest of margins in this small test group of ultraportables, but that's still fast enough to be the highest-scoring Pentium M 1GHz laptop that CNET Labs has tested. The Sony VAIO X505 scored 19 percent above the similarly configured Sony VAIO TR2A. The system scored one point above the IBM ThinkPad X40 , which houses similar components.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  

System configurations:

IBM ThinkPad X40
Windows XP Professional; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 82852/82855GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Hitachi DK13FA-40 60GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO TR2A
Windows XP Home; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK4004GAH 40GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO X505
Windows XP Professional; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK4004GAH 40GB 4,200rpm

Battery life of Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import)

Despite its diminutive dimensions, the Sony VAIO X505 gets darn decent battery life, close to three hours. Not surprisingly, the heavier and thicker Sony VAIO TR2A with its 11.1V, 4,300mAh (48WHr) battery beat it handily, with more than four hours of life. The Sony VAIO X505, with its significantly smaller 11.1V, 2,000mAh (22WHr) battery, just could not keep up. The IBM ThinkPad X40, with its similarly diminutive 14.4V, 1,900mAh (27WHr) battery, also fell by the wayside, with only about two and a half hours of life. In the end, you'll give up anywhere from one to one and a half hours of battery life for the X505's ultra-ultraportable design--a trade-off that many will gladly make.

Battery life analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

IBM ThinkPad X40
Windows XP Professional; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 82852/82855GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Hitachi DK13FA-40 60GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO TR2A
Windows XP Home; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK4004GAH 40GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO X505
Windows XP Professional; 1,000MHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855GM/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK4004GAH 40GB 4,200rpm

Service and support of Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import)

Sony doesn't sell the VAIO X505 in the United States, so service and support are courtesy of the reseller that imports the laptop--in our case, that was Dynamism.com, which backs the laptop with a one-year, FedEx-pickup warranty and toll-free technical support from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. You can upgrade the warranty to up to three years at a hefty $299 per year. The documentation accompanying our unit was in Japanese, so we were unable to judge its quality.

To find out more about how this product's warranty really stacks up and what you should look for in terms of service and support, take a look at CNET's hardware warranty explainer.

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Sony VAIO X505 (Japanese Import)

Part Number: PCG-X505/P Released: Dec. 1, 2003

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Dec. 1, 2003
  • Installed Size 512 MB
  • Weight 1.81 lbs
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