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Sony VAIO VGN-T140P/L Notebook Review

Sony VAIO VGN-T140P/L Notebook Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The navy blue and silver Sony VAIO VGN-T140P/L laptop is the size of a hardcover book and weighs only a little over three pounds.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Sony Apr 22 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > Sony VAIO VGN-T140P/L

Real world testing of the VAIO

As an ultra-portable laptop, the Sony VAIO VGN-T140P/L does an excellent job. The 1.10GHz Pentium M processor provides enough power for Windows XP and basic multi-tasking, and feels pretty snappy doing it. We found the keyboard to be extremely fast and usable over an extended period of time, though users with very large hands might disagree.

Watching DVDs was a pleasure, as you might expect with this portable's extra-bright wide aspect screen. We experienced no issues with DVD playback, and the results were often spectacular. The sound was also great on headphones, and even decent on the internal speakers. The VAIO VGN-T140P/L would be a great portable entertainment centre. We're tempted to say that this is what the notebook does best.

The wireless networking and Bluetooth internal adaptors are both enabled by the same switch on the front of the unit. In our testing, wireless range was more than adequate, though slightly less than some other Centrino-based notebooks we have recently tested.

The control panel contains a nice 'Sony notebook setup' application which allows the user to customize a variety of settings including Sound, performance and screen options, boot sequence and DVD settings. Full marks to Sony for including this handy app.

The integrated SoundMax sound is a cut above the AC'97 integrated sound generally found in modern notebooks. It sounds good, with excellent bass and clarity, and can use virtual Dolby Surround sound technology to decent effect while playing DVD movies.

The VAIO VGN-T140P/L has some of the best sound we've heard in a review notebook. The onboard speakers are not bad, but cannot handle much bass. This is the same as almost every other portable we've ever tested.

The front mounted volume controls worked well, and had the added bonus of popping a TV-style volume bar up on the screen when used. The 'sound effect' button next to the volume controls mutes the speakers and adds a 'bass boost' effect if it is pressed while a volume control is held down.One negative we noticed after a few hours of using this Sony laptop was the level of heat it can generate. Laying on your lap for any length of time can become rather uncomfortable. We've seen this before in ultra-portables, so we were not really surprised by it, but remember; on long flights, tray-tables are your friend.

We made use of the system restore wizard feature to return our test model to its factory settings after testing. Using the image stored in its separate partition, the restore program completed flawlessly in less than 10 minutes.

Overall, we found the VAIO VGN-T140P/L to be a pleasure to use, until one major incident somewhat soured our perceptions of the unit. It happened while we were testing the unit's DVD playback abilities. We were halfway through a DVD, AC power connected, battery fully charged, screen at full brightness, when it occurred to us that we ought to test how the VAIO VGN-T140P/L sounded through headphones. We grabbed a set of Sony earbuds and plugged them into the front headphone jack. The system powered down instantly; all lights off.

Somewhat disconcerted, we hit the power button to switch the system back on. Nothing. We checked the AC power, unplugged the battery and tried again; nothing. A few minutes of experimenting later, we concluded that this brand new $2000+ laptop was well and truly deceased. It was very difficult for us to figure how a piece of computing equipment could have been so quickly destroyed by plugging in a set of earbuds, let alone earbuds made by the Sony.

Fortunately, a replacement was shortly at hand, and we were able to continue with the tests. The incident did leave a bit of a sour taste in our mouths though. In case you are wondering, the earbuds survived the incident unscathed and are still being used in an MP3 player. They have also been used successfully on several other computers, as they had been before the incident.

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Contents of Article: Sony VAIO VGN-T140P/L
 Pg 1.  Sony VAIO VGN-T140P/L Notebook Review
 Pg 2.  Mesmerizing LCD Screen
 Pg 3.  Physical dimensions and port placement
 Pg 4.  Keyboard layout and more
 Pg 5.  First impressions and upgrading
 Pg 6.  — Real world testing of the VAIO
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Windbench 99, BatteryMark and Sandra
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Super PI, PCmark2002, PCMark 04
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: 3Dmark 2001, 3DMark 03, X2: The Threat
 Pg 10.  Benchmark: UT2003 and Conclusions

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