Sony VAIO CR120

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The Sony VAIO CR120 gives you all the high-end features of a Sony product at an affordable price. It has a sleek design and glossy finish with LEDs that you can program to glow even when the laptop is switched off. The laptop comes in four colors with silver interiors. It measures 13.1 x 10 x 1.3 inches, weighs just 6.1 pounds and sells for $1000.

The laptop comes with an Intel GMA X3100 graphics card, an Intel 965GM Express chipset and pre-loaded Windows Vista Home premium edition. It comes with a 120 GB hard disk and a 1.8 8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 processor. The CR120 comes with 1GB RAM that is a bit less to run multiple applications.

The keyboard is well designed with spacious keys that are concave and make typing easy. The touch pad is wide enough and facilitates easy navigation. The media control keys for playback, pause, stop, forward and rewind are at the base of the touch pad and you can use them even when the lid is closed. There is a set of buttons above the keyboard to regulate the volume, to start the media player even without booting the laptop, a webcam and a button to switch off the display when the laptop is not in use.

The screen is just 14.1 inches, smaller than the standard 15.4-inch screen with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. It has a glossy finish that produces bright colors but produces a glare that hampers web browsing and working on the laptop. The 1.3 mega –pixel web camera above the screen is useful for video chats and captures good images even in dim light. The CR120 comes bundled with unnecessary freeware like desktop icons and shortcuts to AOL services, Microsoft products and so on. You are better off removing this freeware to speed up the system.

The laptop has VGA and S-Video, besides stereo speakers, and headphone or microphone jacks. However the sound quality from the speakers is not too great and you are better off using headphones to listen to music. There are three USB 2.0 data ports, mini Fire Wire, Memory stick and SD card readers. There is scope for expansion by using an Express card/34. It comes with an inbuilt modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/g/n and Wi-Fi that will be useful as networking technology evolves. The optical drive comprises a DVD burner.

As regards performance, The CR 120 is ahead of its competitors when it comes to multitasking and encoding iTunes. However image processing using Adobe Photoshop takes a long time due to the small capacity 1 GB RAM. The laptop battery lasts for a full two hours on maximum capacity DVD usage that is longer than similar laptops.

The VAIO comes with a one –year labor and parts warranty, extendable to three years on payment of $199. There is a toll free customer service and online technical support that guides you to helpful software updates and drivers for the CR 120.The Sony VAIO is a good buy for home users who appreciate good looks and don’t bother with minimized performance.