By Kalpana Narayanamurthi
Can one extra inch of screen on a laptop really make a difference? Most emphatically yes, as shown by Sony's new VAIO PCG-GRX570, the first desktop replacement notebook with a huge 16.1-inch display.
I looked at a preproduction version of the $2500, dark gray GRX570, and I was very impressed by both the colors and the text on its bright display. However, at its native 1600 by 1200 resolution, desktop icons were tiny and hard to read from a normal viewing angle. (To magnify the icons, you can change the resolution, or choose Large Icons in the Properties menu of your OS.)
We know that larger screens affect power consumption, and that was true here: The GRX570's main battery lasted only 2 hours, 11 minutes in our tests, short of the 3-hour average for desktop replacements. The notebook uses a 1.6-GHz Intel Pentium 4-M SpeedStep processor (the clock speed drops to 1.2 GHz on battery power), and 512MB of 266-MHz DDR RAM.
The screen also contributes to the notebook's weight and bulk: The GRX570 checks in at 8.3 pounds. That jumps up to 9.8 pounds when you include a phone cord and the uncommonly large AC adapter.
However, this laptop is a digital powerhouse. It has Windows XP Home, an I.Link (IEEE 1394 or FireWire) port, three USB ports, ATI Radeon Mobility graphics with 32MB of DDR SDRAM, and a 40GB hard drive. One small beef: Some ports sit behind flimsy covers with weak hinges. The unit also has Sony's unique Jog Dial pointing device, a well-laid-out, easy-to-use keyboard, and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive that you can swap out for a second battery.
At $2500 for all of these features, and a mobile P4 processor to boot, this notebook with screen to spare is worth the cost, as long as you work near a power outlet.
From the June 2002 issue of PC World magazine