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Laptops

Sony VAIO VGC-LA38G

Cheaper than competitors, and also more portable, the Sony VAIO should help revolutionise how we view the PC and its place in the home.

Looking like the little brother of the Dell XPS M2010 and the HP TouchSmart PC is the new Sony L series VAIO. Like those two models, the VGC-LA38G is designed to be an all-in-one PC based on a notebook design. It is also Sony's first PC to feature Windows Vista.

Upside
The Sony features a "floating" design, which is based on Sony's own LCD televisions, and is constructed from a lightweight polycarbonate frame to provide solidity and strength. We like the look of the power and battery lights, which "float" in the polycarbonate edge -- very cool.

The VAIO is also designed to double as a stereo -- with something Sony calls a Sound Reality audio chipset driving a pair of 3W speakers -- and it will display track and artist information even with the keyboard folded up.

The notebook, if we can call it that, also includes a 15.4 inch widescreen LCD, a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a 120GB hard drive. It will ship with Windows Vista Home Premium, and so also includes 1GB of RAM, in addition to a wireless 802.11g adaptor, microphone and Webcam.
The trackpad is well placed at the right of the keypad, and as this is where the mouse usually sits, this should make for more natural computing.

Downside
The keyboard doesn't appear to be detachable, and being so close to the screen could make it uncomfortable to use for extended periods. Though it's portable, it doesn't appear to be well-suited to travelling, as the picture frame-type stand could be too bulky.

It's designed to be used in the main spaces in the home, but will it be resilient enough? The HP TouchSmart is also designed for a similar role, but doesn't have something as simple as a spill-resistant keyboard. And for something designed to be used in a kitchen this is an oversight. We look forward to testing both PCs shortly.

Outlook
Cheaper than both the Dell and HP, and also more portable, the Sony VAIO should help revolutionise how we view the PC and its place in the home.

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