Sony VAIO VGN-T2XP review

£1299
Price when reviewed

Despite not being as small and light as the incredible VAIO PCG-X505, Sony’s T2 is still a tiny notebook. Measuring 271 x 212 x 36mm (WDH), you’ll be able to use it comfortably on airplanes and trains. What’s more, at 1.4kg, it’s the third lightest machine in the Labs.

Sony VAIO VGN-T2XP review

Although protruding batteries don’t usually add to a notebook’s attractiveness, we can forgive the 7,200mAh unit that adds an extra 20mm to the VAIO’s depth. Under intensive use, it lasted three hours, 29 minutes. This is the longest we saw, and under light use the T2 lasted an astonishing ten hours. This means it might even be able to last two working days without needing a recharge.

Inevitably, some compromises have been made to conserve power. One is the ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) 1.2GHz Pentium M processor, as also used by Fujitsu Siemens and Toshiba. The overall 2D benchmark score of 0.83 means the VAIO was noticeably slower than others on test, although it was by no means frustrating to use. Partially, this is thanks to 512MB of RAM.

Even the hard disk on the Sony is ultraportable. It’s one of Toshiba’s new 1.8in disks, and the 60GB capacity provides ample storage. It consumes just 1.4W while seeking.

What’s more amazing is that Sony has managed to fit in an optical drive as well. The DVD writer isn’t the fastest around, but it will write to dual-layer discs.

As usual, Sony hasn’t provided support for memory cards other than Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro, which is a frustration for SD card users. There are a couple of other design niggles as well. The network and modem sockets on the right-hand side of the unit have plastic covers over them. It gives a tidier look, but means cables are fiddly to plug in. As you’d expect, 802.11 is integrated.

Widescreen TFTs are a familiar sight in this Labs, and the resolution of 1,280 x 768 is just about usable on this 10.6in screen. It’s reflective and suffers the usual average viewing angles of others on test. It’s also grainier than most, but is more than bright enough. The keyboard keys are smaller than usual as well, and don’t offer the same quality feel as the ThinkPad, but we got used to it relatively quickly.

Unfortunately, the Sony suffers the same problem as the Samsung Q30 this month: a high price, single year of return-to-base warranty and mediocre performance. However, if you need an ultra-light notebook with a built-in DVD writer and excellent battery life, the VAIO T2’s disadvantages could easily be outweighed.

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