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This machine is ultra small (just a bit bigger than a video cassette with loads of great features. The built-in camera provides much better images than any webcam I've ever seen and can be rotated through 180 degrees to point at either the user or aaway from them. The complete spec is amazing for the price. Pentium III processor 128Mb Ram 10 GB Hard disk USB port IEEE 'firewire' port Long battery life However, the system does have its problems. Screen: The screen on this palmtop measures an odd 1024 x 460 pixels. This gives good resolution but when using applications, it is as though only half of the screen can be seen. (E.g. when using Word, you can see, on average, only about 13 lines of text). This poses a problem for frequent users and is annoying. Ports: If you intend to buy extra peripherals for the system, be aware that it only provides one USB port. Even though USB hubs can be bought, this provides an extra cost. Keyboard: Being so small, again, this palmtop may not be suitable for frequent users. All in all, this Vaio is a great example of what technology can do today and may be the right choice for some people. However, if you are considering buying this computer, go and see it working in real life, don't buy it off the net by looking at the spec alone.
I want all of the benefits of desktop PCs, such as fast processors, high-capacity hard disks, large screens and so on. But they also require size and weight to be minimised and battery life to be maximised, which requires trade-offs to be made. In the absence of any revolutionary breakthroughs in battery technology, system designers have turned to the CPU, as the biggest single power-consuming component, in the search for more battery life. The C1VE is worth looking at for its diminutive dimensions (24.8cm wide by 15.2cm deep by 2.7cm high), 1kg weight, widescreen 8.9in. 1,024 by 480 TFT screen and built-in Motion Eye CCD camera. The camera will capture stills at VGA (640 by 480 pixel) resolution, or up to 30 minutes of 160 by 120 resolution video at 30 frames per second. There's a dedicated button that fires up Sony's Smart Capture software. The small size of the unit leaves little room for I/O interfaces and other features, but Sony packs in as much as possible. There are USB and i.LINK (IEEE 1394) ports, an external VGA port (on the end of a short proprietary cable) and three audio/visual ports (mic/line in, headphone, TV out/line out). As well as the new Memory Stick slot, there's a single CardBus-compliant PC Card slot, which will be required for dial-up communications as there's no built-in modem on the European model. A 56Kbit/s PC Card modem is bundled with the system. The battery is an 1,800mAh Li-ion unit with a rated life of 2.5 hours, and there's an optional extended-life battery if this isn't sufficient. Other options include USB floppy and CD-RW drives and a USB wheel mouse. The built-in navigation devices are a three-button trackpoint and Sony's PDA-style Jog Dial. The keyboard is admirably usable given the system's small size. But what of the Crusoe's much-vaunted combination of performance and battery life? I have no complaints, its quick to boot, responds with speed and gives a
round two and a half hours' life. The VAIO PCG-C1VE is an appealing ultraportable notebook, whose combination of multimedia hardware and software is remarkable in so small a system. A valuable new addition to the C1VE's Sony software bundle is MovieShaker, a usable and efficient video-editing program.