Sony Vaio VGC-V2S: test and review

Faute de mieux, the success of Windows XP Media Center seems assured in terms of PC intended for general public. It is true that the idea of ​​integrating all the multimedia features in an uncluttered interface accessed via a remote control is rather attractive to those who do not want to bother with complicated technologies. But for Sony, Microsoft’s system does not seem to be a sufficiently effective solution. Also, he has the Japanese automaker decided to develop its own multimedia interface, the VAIO Zone, which also complements Windows XP. After Vaio VGC-M1, the Vaio VGC-V2S among the first PC to benefit.

At barely unpacked, the computer draws the eye. The Vaio VGC-V2S uses the principle of monoblock PC, inaugurated by the Vaio W1, namely a wide screen, the rear gathers all the “computer”, that is to say, the processor, memory and units storage. While his predecessor showed many ergonomic flaws, the VGC-V2S near perfection.

Beautiful display of 20 inches

First for the quality of its screen. Are not going around the bush, Sony used a slab LCD 20 inches, equivalent to a 16 / 9th of 50 centimeters diagonally. Framed by a casing of a beautiful glossy black, it displays brightness and outstanding contrast, worthy of the best LCD TVs. Only the resolution seems a bit low. It reaches only 1280×768 pixels while a screen of this size could have offered more. But this limitation is not innocent. In fact, the Vaio VGC-V2S is not a simple computer. It also acts as a video screen for TV or DVD and you can enjoy it without having your nose stuck on it. Now, with high resolution, it would be difficult to decipher remotely icons or characters displayed. Anyway, watch a DVD on this computer really gives the impression of being in the heart of the action of the film. Especially the sound has for once not been neglected. The speakers located on the bottom deliver a very good sound quality that can grow at high volume without fear of saturation. But we can also install a Dolby Digital audio type DTS system or through an optical audio output.

The navigation within the various multimedia functions is performed through the VAIO Zone interface. It provides access to TV functions, digital video, photo slideshow, digital music, and of course DVD viewing. There are several ways to navigate through it. The simplest is to use the special ergonomic remote control and a lot more sober than those supplied with the Media Center PC. With a simple touch, you reach the desired option and we go from one tool to another using a joystick. But we can of course also use the keyboard and / or mouse. To do this, Sony has had the brilliant idea of ​​providing wireless input devices. Stronger still, the keyboard integrates a “touchpad” like on laptops that eliminates the need of a mouse. And the latter is positioned so as to completely cover the keyboard.

excellent performance

For performance, Sony has sought the best compromise between power and the need to consolidate all the electronics in a reasonably sized box grafted on the back of the screen. Thus, the processor is a Pentium 4 3.2 GHz supported by 512 MB of DDR RAM, which provides excellent multimedia and office performance. The hard disk has, meanwhile, more than enough capacity of 250 GB. Only the graphics remains slightly behind. Sony had to settle for a system originally designed for notebook, in this case a GeForce FX Go 5700. If the poster still respectable results 3D tests, it turns out a fair bit to take advantage of latest games particularly demanding display material.

The other flaw in the Vaio VGC-V2S concerns connectors for the connections of the various possible extensions. Not on their number, which is consistent and covers all needs in terms of USB, FireWire or memory card but on their positioning. If some of them are placed on the side, the majority is present behind the screen in a trap and is very difficult to access. It will plug in devices that we will not need to disconnect permanently. Also missing SCART which would have facilitated the connection of a VCR. However, it will go through the video inputs of Composite type or S-Video. In the end, the happy buyers of this PC will gather all the same with a true technological marvel that allows to present the computer as a true high-tech object.