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As soon as the VGC-LA38G (I am not calling it a desktop or a laptop yet) got out of the box, there were three people all around it, marveling its looks and design. Later, as inquiries poured in regarding the specifications and the price, the 'oomph' factor started to fade and practicality over took the drivers seat. So what is it? Well, for starters it’s not a laptop. It’s a lifestyle PC, shrunk and re-styled or rather inspired (I am hinting at something, does Apple ring a bell, no?… Never mind) to suit ultra hip homes. Lets have a closer look.
The transparent design with the polycarbonate frame and the 'embedded indicator lights look' makes it appear uber cool. To support the device, there is a stand at the back that allows a screen tilt of 12-30 degrees.
The attached keyboard can take two positions - open or folded. When folded up, the 'SoundFLOW' software is triggered and it converts the uncovered portion of the screen into a music player, calendar and an alarm clock. There are special keys on the right hand side of the keyboard to control multimedia functions. There is also a carrying handle at the rear, incase you plan to carry this 4.5kg device from one room to another.
Features and Performance
Although this device is meant to serve the purpose of a desktop, to compensate for its sleek size, it uses a mobile platform i.e. the components used are the ones used in a laptop and not a desktop. An Intel Core 2 Duo T5600 processor @ 1.83 GHz and 1GB of DDR2 RAM power the VGC-LA38G. It also has an external video card in Nvidia’s Go 7400, a 120GB SATA HDD and a slot loading dual layer DVD Writer.
We generally criticize Sony for its overpriced products but we fail to observe the quality of components it uses and this is reflected in the 15.4-inch wide-screen LCD. It’s a brilliant screen with very good color reproduction. The transition in the color and the gray-scale gradients is perfect. I have once too often seen laptops (that’s where the screen comes integrated with the device) from branded computer manufacturers that give sub-standard screens, and just for the brilliant LCD display we give Sony full marks here.
Coming to performance, I am not subjecting this device to our regular dose of PCMark 2005 and 3Dmark 2006. The reason here is pretty straightforward, an enthusiast who digs for these numbers will pretty much know what to expect from a mobile platform and what he can achieve from desktop parts with the same amount of money. On the other hand, customers who are more likely to buy lifestyle products will not be interested in these numbers leave alone understand them. For them, it would be important to know whether the machine is powerful enough and in this regard the VGC-LA38G with a T5600 Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM and a Go7400 external graphics card is powerful enough. The VGC-LA38G comes with Windows latest operating system, Windows Vista and has the Premium variant.
Another aspect to note is that the VGC-LA38G comes with a battery that gives a back-up time of about 2 hours. A battery pack is useless in a desktop, since you would be drawing power from the AC outlet, unless you have frequent power cuts in your area. Nevertheless, if you can afford to buy a lifestyle PC, and live in a power-cut prone area, you surely would be having an inverter installed at home, which again brings a question mark on its utility.
Well, if we look at the money being spent, at Rs. 90,000 you can get a desktop with screaming performance or a 'desktop replacement laptop' (desktop replacements are laptops intended to replace a desktop and hence the name. They generally have a screen size of 17-inches and have powerful specs) that is more powerful and feature rich than the VGC-LA38G. The only place where the VGC-LA38G might be adopted is life-style homes where money spent is not that much of a criteria and looks play a crucial role. Nevertheless, the VGC-LA38G with its specs is a powerful device and its wide-array of features will take care of all of your digital requirements.