Sony VAIO Port Replicator for T series
While others pile on features such as speakers and audio/video ports, Sony keeps it simple with its $199 VAIO Port Replicator. We looked at the version compatible with Sony's new ultraportable T-series laptop.
Unlike many of the docking systems we tested, the VAIO Port Replicator's textured surface matched its companion notebook's case exactly. Drop the notebook onto the dock, and it easily locks into place. It's a good fit: the VAIO Port Replicator provides a nice 5-degree tilt to give you a better angle for typing, and the notebook's battery doesn't obscure the dock's ports or labels. Releasing is another matter, however, because there's neither a release lever nor a button. You're left to jerk the notebook out of the VAIO Port Replicator--an operation that takes a little getting used to. We wonder whether we'd ever get used to treating a delicate $2,000 laptop in such a way.
At 3 pounds, the VAIO Port Replicator is meant to stay on the desk. It uses the same AC adapter as the notebook, and it doesn't come with its own. It provides only basic connectivity: three USB 2.0 sockets (in addition to the pair that remain active on the laptop), 100Mbps Ethernet, external monitor, and a parallel connector for a printer or scanner cable. If you require a PS/2, serial, modem, or DVI connection, look elsewhere. In our file-transfer tests, the VAIO Port Replicator was one of the slowest performers, reading files on an external hard drive at 51.7Mbps and writing them at 56.7Mbps.
Like the VAIO T-series notebooks, the VAIO Port Replicator comes with a one-year warranty that pales in comparison to IBMÂ’s three years of coverage for its X4 UltraBase. While Sony provides 24-hour toll-free phone support, its Web site focuses on supporting SonyÂ’s notebooks, not accessories; we couldn't find the VAIO Port Replicator's model number anywhere in the companyÂ’s support knowledge base.