Sony has added yet another family to the huge Vaio range of notebooks, namely the K series. This is aimed at home users who want a desktop replacement notebook without paying a (relatively) huge amount for it. The PCG-K115S sits in the middle of this new range and is a powerful, feature-packed machine.
It’s a stylish beast finished in what Sony describes as a polarised pearl finish body and a two-tone silver and grey chassis. It needs to look vaguely attractive, as weighing in at around 4kg this is one notebook that’s defiantly desk-bound.
Powering the PCG-K115S is a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 desktop CPU backed up by 512MB of DDR266 memory, although this can be upgraded to 1GB through two SO-DIMM slots, so it’s got plenty of power for all your applications. It’s got plenty of space for all your applications, too, as it comes with a 60GB hard drive as standard. There’s also a Type I/II PC Card slot and, as you might expect from Sony, a Memory Stick slot.
Two of the features that really stand out on the PCG-K115S are the optical drive and the graphics sub-system. The optical drive is a dual-format DVD/RW drive, allowing you to read, write and re-write DVDs and CDs regardless of format. ATI provides the graphics sub-system, in the form of a Mobility Radeon 9200 chipset which uses its own 64MB of memory. This will allow you to play most of the current 3D games and should please all but the most pernickety gamers out there.
To connect the PCG-K115S to the outside world, Sony has provided an integrated V.92 modem, 10/100Mbps Ethernet adapter and 802.11g Wireless networking. The PCG-K115S also has an i-Link (a.k.a. FireWire) port and three USB 2.0 ports.
The 15-inch screen is a joy to use. One of Sony’s ultra-bright XBrite XGA screens, it is sharp and clear and the screen coating reduces reflection. The only downside is that its native resolution is just 1,078 pixels by 768 pixels; there are plenty of notebooks out there with 15-inch screens and more agreeable 1,400 pixels by 1,050 pixels resolutions.
Battery life is somewhat irrelevant on this type of desk-bound notebook, but under test the PCG-K115S managed two hours and fifteen minutes on the standard Lithium-Ion battery.
Sony pre-installs Windows XP Home as the operating system and, as is the norm with any Sony PC, this laptop comes with a whole raft of useful software; you get Adobe’s PhotoShop Album SE and PhotoShop Elements, plus PictureGear’s Studio, to take care of any imaging jobs. To help you create your own movies there is Adobe’s Premiere LE, Dvgate and WinDVD, while to burn these onto a DVD there is Click to DVD and Drag n Drop CD + DVD. Among the rest of the software titles are SonicStage, Moodlogic and Microsoft Works.
The PCG-K115S comes with a one year warranty which can be extended to three years with the optional Warranty Pack.
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