Sony Vaio VGN-TX750p

GCN Lab review

STYLISH: THE Vaio is super small, but lacks big speed.

Pros: Extremely light, long battery life

Cons: Low-end speed, no fingerprint reader

Price: $2,199

Performance: B-

Battery life: A-

Features: B+

Value: B

Of all the ultraportable notebooks in this review, the Vaio is the ultraportable-est. At a featherweight 2 pounds, 12 ounces, the Vaio can slip comfortably into any carry-on bag. Did we mention the tiny form factor includes an internal DVD/RW combo drive? It does. The drive door is so small, at first we missed it altogether.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of features packed into this small system. In addition to a standard 802.11a/b/g wireless radio, it has a broadband cellular modem. Our test unit came with a Subscriber Identity Module card that let us log into the Cingular network.

Naturally, the Vaio sports one of the smallest screens in this review. But the 11.1-inch LCD is in a wide-screen format and looks great. And it's optimized for video display, which looked incredible and made the inclusion of a FireWire port all the more worthwhile. Just plug in a digital camera and you are ready to start recording or editing video. Perfect for surveillance, forensics or other applications.

The Vaio's battery life was quite good actually. Our test unit had a six-cell battery that fit nicely in the notebook (and didn't stick out awkwardly like some other higher-capacity batteries do). Running a movie with a bright screen taxed the battery but it still lasted for 4 hours, 45 minutes in our tests.

This battery performance is due in part to the ultralow-voltage Intel Pentium CPU that Sony picked out for this Vaio model. As you might expect, that choice also accounts for the system's rather anemic performance. It scored just 4,170 on the GCN/Alterion benchmarks. That might be good enough for basic productivity applications, but not for a growing generation of geographic information systems and other complex programs.

There's also no fingerprint reader on the Vaio, the only one in the review to lack this important security feature. There is, however, a smart-card reader which might come in handy if you've actually got a smart card for logical access (most of us, of
course, have fingers).

Overall if your primary criterion for a notebook is portability, this Vaio takes the cake. But while other systems have evolved in their balance of functionality and mobility, this one isn't quite there yet.

Sony Electronics, San Diego, (800) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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