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I recently brought a Sony PCG-C1F and was astonished at the capibility it had for being such a little machine. it was about the size of a video tape and had a built in camera, colour screen, pcmcia type 2, infared, usb, firewire, audio, built in microphone, and still able to withstand all the drivers and windows ME which i installed on it. ive now put a wireless cade in it and got wireless internet all around my house. so if your looking for a office or study pc i would recomend this to anyone. if you want more infomation i am willing to give just add me CPUAMD2200@hotmail.co.uk . thanks for reading.
Do you want a really mobile notebook ? Do you like to attract attention? If you can answer “yes” to both, then this is the notebook for you. It is small – 14cm x 24cm x 3.5cm (that makes it a bit larger than a paperback book) – and it only weighs about one kilo. That’s why it is really mobile. Its diminutive proportions, and the built-in still/movie camera are what makes it attract attention. Whenever I use it, people around me are intrigued… I am writing this on my Vaio PCG-C1F, which features a 233MHz Pentium processor with MMX, 64MB RAM, and a 3.9GB disk. But Sony have made several Vaio PCG-C1s which look identical, with faster or slower Intel or Crusoe processors and larger or smaller disks. But they all look and feel about the same. Sony seem to “churn” their products more than most, so if you are lucky, you may be able to get a reduction on a model which is just about to be replaced – I did. And the “Picturebook” name seems to be limited to the USA (mine is not a Picturebook, no matter what DooYoo says!) Interestingly, the weight is about the same as some other Sony Vaios which look bigger. It turns out that these other ones have bigger screens, a trackpad instead of a trackpoint, and are thinner than the PCG-C1. So they really are quite mobile too. But many of the others feature Celeron processors whereas the PCG-C1s have Pentiums (well, at least most of them do, please check!) Best bits: the camera, the screen, the keyboard, the trackpoint pointing device (the little stick in the middle of the keyboard), a nicely light mains transformer. Worst bits: no parallel or serial ports, and no supplied CD-ROM drive. First, the camera. This is an amazingly small and neat device set into the lid, above the screen. It can swivel around so that it faces towards or away from you, or anywhere in between. Cleverly, the software flips the image to be the right way up as you
rotate the camera (think about it). There is a focussing knob by the lens; a resolution control in the software; and no other controls. So it is reasonably basic as cameras go, especially when combined with its maximum resolution, which is only 640 x 480 pixels. That is fine for snapshots and web pics, but not for high-quality photos. And it can be used to create video clips too. It works well. I actually use it to grab pictures while I am away from base; and in a pinch, I have even used it to take a snap of a whiteboard which contained a diagram which took four of us a whole afternoon to develop – very satisfying! The screen is an odd shape, or maybe unique. It displays 1024 x 480 pixels, which means its height is less than on almost any other PC. At first I thought this would be a problem, especially when the traditional pimply youth in Dixons was unable to show me how to get normal applications to use the whole screen properly. But everything is fine in fact; you just need to set the setting you want in the Display Control Panel. I even find I use two Word documents side by side when I need to refer to them together. The drawback, of course, is that you can only see half of (say) an A4 portrait page at once (unless you use a very small zoom), either the top or the bottom half; but I don’t find that a problem. It might be a problem if, say, you work on large images or graphics though. If you want a larger display, you can use one of the two extra hardware components supplied – a short cable to connect an external monitor or projector. You need this cable because the PC is too small to house a conventional monitor socket! I have used an external monitor several times, and it works fine, though you have to re-set the Display Control Panel and this has some strange effects on the built-in small display. The other extra hardware component is an external diskette drive, with its detachable USB cable. This is light enough, th
in, and generally fine. I thought it was a bit mean of Sony not to supply a CD-ROM or DVD drive too, especially in view of the machine’s multimedia pretentions. So make sure you have, or budget for, a CD-ROM drive – USB, Firewire or PC-card (PCMCIA) but not parallel. Sony sell several other Vaio-branded goodies on their web sites, but they seem over-priced to me. There are Firewire and infrared ports too, which I have not used yet. Also one single PC-Card slot, which I use for a modem. As I said, there is no parallel port (you can’t use your old parallel port printer without a third-party USB adapter for £30 - £40; and you probably can’t use your old parallel port tape drive or scanner at all); no serial port (ditto for serial port modems then), and only one USB port (so you can’t print and use the supplied diskette drive at the same time… unless you have a separate USB hub…hmmm). You can see it is easy to start adding to the collection of bits and pieces which you carry around. Really, if you want it to be mobile with this PC, restrict yourself to tasks where you don’t need lots of connectivity. The Firewire port is intended, I think, for multimedia applications such as connecting a video camera. Sony supplies a huge collection of Sony software to allow you to do clever multimedia-ish things. I really have not used it (which proves that you don’t have to use this PC for multimedia) save to laugh at the application which turns the camera into a barcode scanner (for proprietary Sony barcodes, of course – you can’t use it to scan supermarket barcodes!) Sony has a “thing” about trying to improve user interfaces. So some Vaio notebooks have a “jog wheel” to the right of the keyboard (mine doesn’t); and mine has a programmable button on the front of the case. I can’t imagine why. It works, but seems to me to be completely superfluous. Final
ly, the battery life. That’s easy: it’s low. Less than two hours, the way I use it. A little tip: it can be difficult to find a soft case to protect this notebook, because of its unusual size. Muji, the Japanese chain which sells brandless goods, sells a soft, black, zip-up pouch – a bit like a large pencil case – for only £5. I like the way this machine is designed. It looks good, it feels solid, there are no silly port covers to be lost. It works well, works fast, and is reliable. This is my fourth small notebook computer, and by far my favourite. I’ll keep it.