Product Type: Sony laptops
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A great value all-in-one laptop
Sony Vaio FX501
Member Name: neepheid
Sony Vaio FX501
Date: 29/04/02, updated on 29/04/02 (780 review reads)
Advantages: Screen quality, Performance, Value for money
Disadvantages: Sound quality, Battery life
I had to get a laptop for my work, and in order to convince my boss that this was the one, I carried ot a study of all the laptops I could find in and around this price range. What I found was that no laptop packs this much punch at this price with so few compromises.
I have to add a cautionary tale before I get too carried away. The first one I received had a problem that made the keyboard and touchpad work intermittently. Thankfully, it was quickly swapped out by the retailer. Sony have now acknowledged the problem and corrected in a BIOS upgrade. Any new machines should have this update already.
The positive aspects of this laptop are as follows.
The screen is excellent. It is a 14.1" TFT that is both crisp and bright. There is lots of built in hardware, including LAN and modem, 2 USB ports, Firewire, 2 PCMCIA slots, TV and VGA out, DVD drive, floppy drive (the trend is towards removing them these days - a mistake I feel). You cannot fault the value for money - at this price most other laptops will ask you to compromise in terms of screen size, memory, hard drive space or DVD drive. The memory and hard drive space of this laptop are ample. The 1GHz Duron processor is plenty fast for the majority of tasks you would ask this machine to carry out.
The negative aspects of this laptop are as follows.
The quality of the built in sound system is only adequate. I suppose you could argue that as long as you can hear error beeps and perhaps play a CD then it's OK, but Windows XP uses digital audio extraction to play CDs. It falls down a little here. The battery life is not great (about 2 hours depending on the power scheme you use), could be better. With that in mind, you can plug in a second battery. Some people might get put off by the removal of PS2 ports, but it doesn't bother me. The TV-out is composite only where S-video would be better and easy to include, using ATi Rage video.