Tweak3D - Your Freakin' Tweakin' Source!

Posted: October 18th, 2002
Written by: Adam Honek


Mobile technology innovations seem only to improve in strength year by year. It is now roughly a decade since notebook computers (those you could actually carry around) took a share in the overall computer market. Through time they never could rival in capabilities and especially performance compared to their desktop variants. If water can turn stone to dust given an extensive moment, we ask do notebook PC's really lag behind their bigger brothers, desktops? For this we hand picked a portable fresh from Sony's design department, namely the GRX Pentium 4 series. Join us as we investigate and take this stylish “big boy’s toy” through its paces here at labs. The model we will be looking at is the GRX316MP, a European model. It is worth noting by the North American reader that all US/Canadian models contain only minor differences and are sold baring alternative model numbers.


First Impressions

Just as apples, pears or the bananas your mom used to put in your school lunch notebooks come in various sizes. This remark although true needs a little fine tuning, in fact the LCD screens that form part of portables vary thus the whole footprint of the machine does too. Just as clothes, computers you can take with you on your vacation fall into several categories. What has to be noted is that the Sony GRX notebook is positioned at the demanding business market where features and performance are at more importance than for example portability (size and weight). For those who like big things (including a weight of 7.8lbs) the footprint will surely please, it's both stylish and most importantly very solid in feel. The industry well known Dell Inspirons and Latitudes really need to take a leaf out of Sony's book as far as build quality goes. To add to this positive observation the LCD lid is made from titanium to ensure extra endurance thus protection from flexing the delicate display panel. While the casing does not exhibit perhaps as much vibrant design as for example a Hewlett Packard notebook there is still very much a sense of thoughtful thinking, the exterior design blends together forming a classy package. Opening the lid a proper sized 87 key keyboard sits within the large base, the keys themselves have an elegant feel. The Jog Dial found below the touchpad is a Sony idea and this too is made with class in mind as is the titanium bar installed where the LCD panel connects to the base. In summary by far the most pleasing aspect to notice straight from the box is the sturdy construction, despite its size it is impossible to flex the casing as with some other notebooks. It is very hard to fault Sony's efforts at this time so as we evaluate this machine further we see it as an opportunity to congratulate them albeit at such an early stage, so far so good.


In the box

1.) Main unit
2.) Product recovery CD ROM's (5 CD's)
3.) Documentation pack
4.) AC adapter
5.) Rechargeable battery pack
6.) Weight Saver
7.) Phone plug (Country specific)
8.) Phone cable
9.) Power cord


Technology overview
1.) Intel 845MP chipset
2.) Intel Pentium 4-M 1.6GHz CPU
3.) 256MB Samsung PC2100 DDR SDRAM
4.) ATI Radeon 7500 Mobility 32MB DDR SDRAM
5.) 30GB Toshiba MK3018GAS HDD
6.) Sony CRX810E 16xCDR/10xCD-RW/8xDVD/24xDVD
7.) 16'1" (40.9cm) TFT color display 1600x1200 UXGA resolution
8.) Windows sound system compatible and 3D sound system
9.) Built-in stereo speakers
10.) Built-in V.90/K56 flex modem
11.) 87 keys keyboard, 12 function keys, Touchpad, Jog Dial
12.) No built-in FDD drive, for purchase as a separate USB device (PCGA-UFD5)

Other product information:
1.) Weight: 3.8KG with supplied battery and supplied CD-RW/DVD ROM weight saver
2.) OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
3.) Warranty: 1 year (extendable to 3 years with VAIO Plus Warranty Pack)
4.) Retail price: £1878 including VAT at 17.5% (UK price), around $2800

List of supported Interfaces
1.) i.LINK (IEEE 1394), 400Mbps
2.) 3x USB ports
3.) DC In
4.) Microphone jack
5.) Headphone jack
6.) Parallel port
7.) RJ-11 direct port - built-in modem V.90/56K flex
8.) VGA out
9.) RJ-45 direct port - built-in Ethernet 10 BASE-T/100 BASE TX
11.) TV out
12.) MagicGate Memory Stick slot
13.) PCMCIA Type III x1, 2x Type II, card bus compatible

Next Page: Installation

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