A stylish PC in a range of colours
There’s one style of computer that doesn’t seem to have captured the public’s attention as much as it should have, and that’s the all-in-one design.
On the face of it the concept of a PC built into the back of a monitor sounds like a good, space-saving idea, but people seem to have spurned it for either a conventional desktop PC or a notebook.
One of the few companies to have kept the faith with the concept is Sony, and one of its latest all-in-one models is the Vaio VGC-JS1E/S, built around a 20.1in TFT screen.
The design of the VGC-JS1E/S nods in the direction of Apple’s iMac, the stylish design using a single handle-like foot under the screen and a small metal arm at the rear to provide stability and viewing angle. Our review sample was finished in brushed metal silver, but the JS1E is also available in black and pink.
At the heart of the VGC-JS1E/S sits one of Intel’s Core 2 Duo E7200 processors, which has a clock speed of 2.53GHz and a 1,066MHz front-side bus. Backing this up is 3GB of PC2-6400 800MHz DDR2 memory, together with Intel’s G45 Express chipset, so although it doesn’t have stunning performance it will do all the everyday jobs reasonably well, as confirmed by our benchmark scores of 5,092 and 3,230 for PCmark05 and PCmark Vantage respectively. And it does it all pretty much silently.
However, the one thing it won’t do is play the current crop of hardcore games, as it relies on Intel’s integrated GMA X4500HD graphics technology, something proved quite well by the average frame rate score of 11 frames per second (fps) when using World in Conflict’s built-in benchmark.
The 20.1in X-black WSXGA+ screen is up to Sony’s usual high standard and has a native resolution of 1,680x1,020 pixels. It produces sharp colours and excellent contrasts, just right for watching movies on, but you’ll be watching them from standard DVDs, as only a Pioneer DVD burner is installed in the VGC-JS1E. The screen’s glossy coating does reflect office lighting a little, but is by no means the worst offender we have seen for this. Built into the top of the bezel is a 1.3-megapixel webcam with dual mics.
The right-hand side of the unit houses just the optical drive, while the left-hand side is home to a Memory Stick slot and a separate SD card reader, two USB ports, three audio ports and an on/off switch for the 802.11b/g/Draft-n Wifi. The rest of the ports are on the back of the unit and comprise three more USB ports, a Sony mini Firewire port, an optical S/PDIF port and the port for the Gigabit wired Ethernet.
The built-in speakers sit under the screen and for monitor speakers they’re some of the best we have heard, again perfect for watching movies and certainly loud enough, though they do tend to lose what bass response they have and distort a little if you turn them right the way up.
For storage Sony provides a 500GB hard drive but, as is usual with a Sony system, this comes with a fair portion of software preloaded to help you with any of the multimedia jobs you are planning to do. For the audio side of things there’s Sony’s Vaio Music Box and Sonic Stage Mastering Studio 2.5; for photo editing you get Picture Motion Browser and Vaio movie story, which also helps you work on your video files, along with Win DVD 8, and to burn them onto disc there is Easy Media Creator 10.
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Pros: Stylish, compact design Cons: Shame it doesn’t have better gaming potential Overall: Stylish all-in-one design, with reasonable all-round performance
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