We’ve grown accustomed in the last twelve months to notebooks sporting widescreen displays. The Sony VAIO VGN-T1XP takes this concept and squeezes this concept into an ultraportable chassis that weighs in at a minimum weight of 1.4kg. The widescreen laptop has a 10.5-inch display that has a native resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels. The ace-in-the-hole for the T1XP is the use of Sony’s X-black, which gives improved contrast - ideal when you’re watching a DVD movie. A complaint often levelled at such a panel is the amount of reflection that it casts. However, with such a small display size, we found that there was little evidence of this with the T1XP.
Considering that the system houses a DVD rewriter, located on the right-hand side of the chassis, and that the battery sticks out of the spine of the main body you’ll find that the T1XP can but slipped into any briefcase with ease. The build quality of the VAIO is excellent and feels incredibly sturdy to the touch. There is even a satisfactory snap as you close it shut, rather like closing a hardback book.
The build up of heat is often a problem with ultraportable notebooks, so manufacturers often resort to using less powerful components. Sony has opted to use Intel’s 1.1GHz Pentium M (ULV) processor, which is an ultra-low voltage solution. Designed with battery life and low heat dissipation in mind, we found that it doesn’t quite have the processing power to perform anything more than typical office tasks. If you are thinking that the T1XP could easily replace your desktop computer then you’ll be sadly mistaken. However, if you simply want to write documents on the go, then this chip will be fine. Supported by 512MB of RAM and supplied with a 40GB hard drive, the specification is satisfactory for average use but for the asking price it’s a little on the lean side.
When it came to actually using the T1XP we found that it was a pleasure to use. The screen, as mentioned, offers the best image quality to be found on a notebook and while the keyboard is compact and initially feels cramped it quickly becomes comfortable to use.
As you would expect, the graphics solution is an integrated one, in the form of the Intel 855 chipset. You won’t want to run anything complicated on the T1XP. However, it is ideal for watching DVD movies on the go.
Without cutting-edge performance, we were hoping that the T1XP would at least have an extended battery life to boast about. However, with an average run time of 170 minutes, we were less than impressed with what it had to offer. The T1XP may well prove satisfactory for occasional meetings and for writing the odd document on the move but it will have you seeking out a mains source to top-up the battery as soon as you try anything strenuous.
It looks right and it feels right but there are a number of flaws in the Sony VAIO VGN-T1XP that stop it from being a true ultraportable notebook. True, it has a lightweight in its favour but the lack of power and poor battery life will keep it tied to mains power.