Sony – Vaio PCG-N505X/LT review

sexy, slimline epitome of notebook style
Photo of Sony – Vaio PCG-N505X/LT
£1,449 + VAT

Sony’s Vaio launch gave more than a few notebook manufacturers sleepless nights when the first product in the range was launched last year. A new round of product announcements in October included this slim, but highly usable, Vaio PCG-N505X/LT.

Just as before, the accent is on cuteness. Straight out of the box the Vaio draws admiration; it’s thinner than a VHS video tape when closed, with the battery pack cleverly doubling as a hinge bar, and it weighs just 1.2kg. The 10.4-inch TFT screen will feel pretty small if you’re more familiar with the 14- or even 15-inch screens seen on larger desktop replacement notebooks, but it’s quite usable at its top resolution of 1024 x 768. Despite the compact size, the notebook feels strong and reliable; another apparently exceptionally well-made product with the only niggling concern being the usability of the small keyboard.

Powered by a 333MHz Intel Celeron processor, the PCG-N505X/LT has 64MB of memory as standard, along with a 6.4GB hard drive. Sony is keen on digital video, and the Vaio PCG-N505X/LT ships with an i.Link port, otherwise known as FireWire or IEEE1394. On this machine, this is primarily for importing images and video clips from DV cameras (Sony’s, of course), and there’s a suite of video editing tools installed on the machine as standard.

The new Vaio lacks the usual array of serial, parallel and VGA ports, but these can be added using the supplied slimline ‘docking station’ that can easily be carried in a briefcase with the Vaio if necessary. Also included in the box with our review machine was a USB-connected floppy drive, plus a CDROM drive that connects via the machine’s own PC Card slot.

Company: Sony

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Verdict
This is yet another cute gadget from Sony. By the time you've connected the floppy and CDROM drive, you might as well have bought a full-sized notebook; this is not the most practical of devices. But it is more usable than most of its ilk, and very few people will out-pose you on the train home if you whip out one of these machines.