Sonys have very high pricing and they have the worst service for desktops and notebooks for any major manufacturer. They are #4 overall and $3 in PC notebook quality (Apple is #1 in quality and service so their pricing is justified but not Sony with this lousy service).
If you truly don't need battery life which would necessitate you looking at the new Dell 17" Pentium Notebook or Sony Pentium M notebook 17" (both over $2,000 and Sony over $2500) then look at the HPzd7000 series (17" Pentium 4M notebook). See zd7000forums.com (dedicated free user forum -- see for best pricing and specs at hpshopping.com) -- you can get the SXGA or UXGA resolutions, you can get 128mb dedicated video (still a good idea if you ever think you will play games or run high end video programs) and you can get a faster 5400rpm hard drive, etc.
Battery life is very poor (under 2 hours with the Pentium 4M and 17" LCD) but it is a high 8.4 rating at CNet (find how many other models get higher than this rating -- over 8.0 is very good and recommended)and it is excellent if you truly want a desktop replacement.
Note that if you didn't need to sync with work the Apple 17" powerbook is in the same price range as the Sony and Dell (over $2500) but weighs an amazing 6.9 pounds -- the HPzd7000 and similar Toshiba Pentium 4M model weigh about 9 pounds and the A/C adaptor is huge as well (12 cell battery versus 8 cell for efficient Pentium M notebooks)
The HPzd7000 has a wide range of customization options -- you can even spend more and get a multiformat DVD burner custom order, utilize it as a DV-R (TIVO like digital video recorder in hook up to TV (requires Windows XP media center edition instead of XP or XP pro, etc).
I've been browsing around the reviews for the last couple of hours looking for a new notebook. My only real absolute requirement is that the notebook have a 17" screen with 1600x1200 resolution or better. That actually narrows down the field quite a lot.
I don't really do anything multimedia, and don't play video games. I might watch an occasional movie on the computer but the resolution requirement is really only for work purposes. I'm looking for just solid performance and a proven record of reliability. Size/bulkiness is not much of an issue because while I travel, I'm not constantly in an airport. I'm looking for a true desktop replacement.
I first looked at the Inspiron 9200 with the upgrade to the UXGA Display (which costs about $85 more). However in reading around, I got a feeling that a lot of users were weary of new Inspirons with respect to their reliability and quality. The reviews here are big on the Sony VAIO VGN-A190, but I'm not sure why - it comes with a high price for what seems like less performance than its competitors. I also am less familiar with Sonys than I am with Dells.
Are there any other 17" UXGA notebooks I should be considering? If not, which would you pick?