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Sony VAIO FRV series review: Sony VAIO FRV series

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Walk softly but always carry a big battery. This must be the philosophy that Toshiba took when designing the Satellite A25-S279, as it was able to crush its peers in this test, thanks to its powerful 10.8V, 8,400mAh (91WHr) battery. The Sony VAIO PCG-FRV37, with its 14V, 4,000mAh (59WHr) battery, came in last place--two minutes behind the Sharp PC-RD3D, which houses an 11.1V, 6,000mAh (67WHr) battery. The Toshiba Satellite A25-S279 lasted well over three hours compared to the Sony VAIO PCG-FRV37, which lasted only a bit over two hours. The Sony VAIO PCG-FRV37 delivers disappointing battery life, thanks to its low-power battery. When running office and content-creation apps in an unplugged state, don't count on getting too much work done.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  
Toshiba Satellite A25-S279
218 
Sharp PC-RD3D
128 
Sony VAIO PCG-FRV37
126 

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).

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

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

Sharp PC-RD3D
Windows XP Pro; 2,800MHz Intel Pentium 4; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 440 Go; Fujitsu MHT2060AT SP 60GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-FRV37
Windows XP Home; 2,800MHz Intel Pentium 4; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Radeon IGP 345M 64MB; IBM Travelstar 60GN 60GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite A25-S279
Windows XP Home; 2,800MHz Intel Pentium 4; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Trident Video Accelerator Cyber-XP4 32MB; Toshiba MK4004GAH 40GB 4,200rpm

The VAIO FRV series' warranty matches its hardware: merely average. The policy includes a year's worth of free parts and labor with return-to-depot service and toll-free, 24/7 phone support. Sony is banking that this policy will be enough; the company doesn't offer extended-warranty options.

The FRV series comes with a fairly easy to follow setup guide, but its manual covers mostly complex topics, such as interpreting BIOS errors and lowering CPU clock speed, that will be understood by only more-advanced users. Sony's support Web site features a good selection of FAQs and tutorials, but they're targeted at the operating system running on your notebook rather than on your specific laptop model.

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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