Every time I look at a new notebook computer, I get the feeling computer manufacturers are exceeding their brief.
Originally, the compelling aspect of a portable computer was that it let you work anywhere. Today, it is quite possible to believe that the ‘work anywhere’ aspect is gradually being replaced with a ‘play anywhere’ attitude.
Notebook computers are becoming more akin to portable multimedia entertainment devices that allow you to watch TV and DVDs, manage your music, play stunning computer games, manage photographs and even edit a movie.
Sony’s Vaio FE Series, which continues the company’s tradition of producing attractive notebook computers, marries work with play quite effectively.
The FE11H boasts the latest Intel dual-core processors and is a formidable workstation in its own right. As a workhorse it comes with Microsoft Office pre-installed along with 802.11 a/b/g wireless connectivity.
It even has Skype software pre-installed, allowing you to make internet telephone calls from anywhere in the world.
On the other hand the FE11H is a complete entertainment system. It has a 15.4-inch widescreen display that uses Sony’s X-Black LCD technology resulting in a mesmerizing, vivid colour display.
The device also has a DVD rewritable drive that allows users to burn their own CDs and DVDs.
For the growing army of PC gamers out there, as well as having a dual-core processor the FE11H has 1,024MB of memory, 1280×800 resolution and has the latest Nvidia GeForce Go7400 graphics card — a must-have if you want to enjoy a seamless gaming experience with the latest games.
The FE11H is quite bulky and heavy compared to some of the slimmer, lighter members of Sony’s Vaio family. It’s not a machine you’re likely to carry everywhere with you, unless you want to walk in a lopsided manner.
Appearance-wise, however, Sony has managed to explode the myth of laptops being dull, conservative items of a businessperson’s kit. The FE11H boasts a stylish magnesium body with discreet, built-in speakers.
Once again, Sony has raised the bar for notebook computers as business machines and complete entertainment facilities. The Vaio is available from Sony for €1,590.
Value for money ****
By John Kennedy