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Sony Vaio ‘K’ series laptop

April 1st, 2005

As my old, grey 400mhz Celeron desktop seems to be grinding ever closer to obsoletion I’ve finally bitten the bullet and decided to upgrade to something more befitting of somebody in my profession.

Sony Vaio 'K' series

I’m now the ‘proud’ owner of a funky ‘K’ series Sony Vaio laptop resplendent with DVD playing and burning facilities – a novelty for me. It enters the realms of hyper-speed with all this talk of GHz (3 of them in fact) and ATI radion graphics (whatever they might be).

All sounds pretty impressive I’m sure you’ll agree. I did a little research before parting with the relatively large sum of £800. Do bear in mind that my last computer was a freebie from a mate and the 400mhz Celeron before that was bought back in 1999 for around £500. I’m not used to paying over the odds for hardware and tend to avoid name-brands like Sony for fear that with the badge comes the equally impressive price-tag. As I say, I did a little research first.

I scoured through pages and pages of Computer Shopper magazine and even had a gander at PC Pro for buying advice. And plentiful indeed was the advice. But also somewhat confusing. It would seem that in this technological age there are devices and features to meet even the weirdest of requirements. Mine were simple. I wanted a desktop replacement with at least 512mb of RAM and more than 1.6GHz of processing power, a decent X -black/X-brite reflective style screen with a native resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels (15″ widescreen), at least a 40gig hard drive, tough buttons, 4 USB ports, Wi-Fi (for living on the edge, using it in the bath and whilst mowing the lawn) and a few old skool ports for my printer and relics of a hardware past. What I didn’t see too much of a need for was ‘centrino’ mobile technology as I’m not going to be using this thing in trains, planes or automobiles. I didn’t need it to be tiny or light as it’ll be on a desk in my house most of the time and I didn’t need ‘firewire’ as nothing ive ever bought or intend to buy uses such a port.

The ‘K’ series more than met my expectations. The screen, you could say, was the most important thing on my list. I wanted crisp, sharp, high-contrast and realistic colour. Sony’s patented X-brite/X-black technology delivers this. To say it’s fantastic is something of an understatement. The processor is a 3Ghz Intel Celeron (about a quarter of the cache of a Pentium but you pay for what you get) ‘D’ (which means ‘desktop’ as opposed to ‘M’ meaning ‘mobile’). It’s a chunky thing, not one of those ultra-slim Vaios you might have seen. All this is fine with me because it does what I need to do – enables me do more freelance work at home (imagining I ever get time to engage in such sporting activity). So I’d definitely recommend it to people like me.

I’ll update this review as my time with the machine flowers and I can talk about things like 3D gaming and all that jazz. For now I’ll leave you with this: I tried phoning Dell all over Easter weekend to enquire about the Inspiron 6000’s screen. Technical support was non-existent and pre-sales was farmed out to some non-English speaking representative who simply read back all the info on the website I’d already read. So my pre-sales experience from Dell put me off them for life. So I popped down to my local Dixons, had a play with the Vaio, examined the screen, typed a few words and the deal was done within minutes. An I usually wouldn’t touch the Dixons group with a barge pole. This time they came through. But I still aint taking out your crazy over-inflated warranty.

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