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(Pocket-lint) - Sony is the king of the ultraportable notebook. Whether in the form of the design chic of the X505 or the all-in-one functionality of the TR2MP, the company has proven that the VAIO range has something to offer everyone, regardless of your portable needs. So, at first glance it looks like as though there is no place for the VGN-S2XP. That is, until you notice that it has widescreen display - the first Sony ultraportable to do so.

Widescreen displays are usually the preserve of the larger desktop replacement notebook, but with a weight of 2kg, the VGN-S2XP is small and light enough to be carried in a briefcase. Classed as a two-spindle machine, it comes with a built-in optical drive; it could feasibly be used as your main computer as opposed to one that is just used when out on the road.

The quality of this screen has to be seen to be believed. The 13.3-inch screen uses Sony’s patented X-black technology. This gives the screen a glass-like lacquer that improves the contrast ratio of the display to an unbelievable level. Sadly, once you have used such a screen there is no going back to a standard TFT screen. Add to this the fact that Sony has managed to squeeze the ATi Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics adapter into the chassis and you’ll be able to play the latest 3D games available.

The specifications of the VGN-S2XP are also set to impress. Based around an Intel Pentium M 745 processor, which runs at a clock speed of 1.8GHz and supported by 512MB of memory. It isn’t the fastest mobile configuration on the market but there is enough power to run applications with ease.

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It seems, for the time being at least, that the DVD format war has reached a truce with optical drives now supporting both the popular standards. With a depth of 30mm, it is initially difficult to see where Sony has fitted the optical drive on the VGN-S2XP, but there is one - integrated into the front of the chassis.

For many, an ultraportable notebook is only as good as the battery life it provides. In the case of the VGN-S2XP, we found that it offered in the region of four hours between charges. This isn’t quite the all-day computing we’d like but it’s more than usable for long meetings and catching up on work when away from the desk.

The only real problem with the VGN-S2XP, as far as we can see, is the price. With a list price of £1799, this notebook will be out of the reach of most people’s budgets- in fact, with that amount of money you could now buy two PCs. If you, or better yet an employer, have the money to spare, the VGN-S2XP is possibly the best multi-use ultraportable on the market.


If you're the type of person who needs to have everything in one place, then the Sony VGN-S2XP is the ideal notebook for you. The X-black screen and 3D graphics can be used for business or pleasure and the optical drive means you can watch DVD movies or make copies on the move. Add to this the latest in specifications and a battery life that allows the notebook to run and run, and the VGN-S2XP is the perfect editor's choice.

Writing by Mike Browne. Originally published on 18 October 2004.