First Looks: Sony VAIO CR Notebook (Centrino Pro)

Modish and Glamorous Sidekick

Modish and Glamorous Sidekick

Sony has released yet another stylish notebook to its VAIO line of notebooks and this new addition promises to be functional, faster and more appealing than before. By releasing the new VAIO CR, Sony hopes to capture an even larger market share of young consumers, and to ensure the VAIO CR is able to strike an emotive appeal upon first impression, the new range is available in many vibrant colors. Further adding to the cause is an equally eye-catching design that we have come to expect from Sony VAIO's designers. It's fair to say that Sony really did their homework for the Sony VAIO CR.

Better than usual

Flipping up the LCD panel reveals a new chiclet keyboard design that is brought over from recent Sony VAIO notebooks, which means it is aesthetically very similar to those found in Apple’s Macbooks. Beyond aesthetics however, the design has two functional purposes of safeguarding delicate components located under the keyboard from accidental spills and to provide a better typing experience. The matte texture and color are also applied to the area surrounding the keyboard for styling consistency. Every aspect of the VAIO CR that is visible to the eye just seems to work well at conjuring an emotional attachment to the notebook. The attention to styling and color scheme even extends to the bundled carrying case, mouse and wallpaper.

A weight of 2.5kg (inclusive of battery) is just about right for a notebook in the mainstream segment, and thanks to some clever styling, the VAIO CR manages to look very sleek. An onboard microphone and embedded camera located right above the LCD let you enjoy video calls through Instant Messaging (IM) and VoIP applications such as MSN and Skype. The LCD, measuring 14.1-inch, is just the right size for portability, web surfing and enjoying multimedia content. Direct sunlight did not cause the screen to be any less legible when the VAIO CR was used in the park.

A Centrino Pro sticker indicates that the VAIO CR is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and packs enhanced security technology. Given that it is based on Intel's Santa Rosa platform, users can pretty much expect good battery mileage and true enough, the VAIO CR managed to give us about three hours worth of uptime. Having 80GB of hard disk storage means the VAIO CR can be a notebook of many roles, ranging from a personal computer, photo viewer, music station to a video player. With all graphics applications routed through the onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, the VAIO CR is at best, a lightweight gaming machine for small footprint games. Happily though, the VAIO CR comes standard with both SD card and Memory Stick reader to offer users the convenience of high speed flash memory storage and easy file transfer between devices.

On the topic of convenience, we like the InstantOn feature of the VAIO CR that allows entertainment applications to be carried out without spending excess time to boot into Windows. Adding to the specification list is a DVD writer, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which practically means the VAIO CR is an uncompromising notebook for daily usage.

Concluding opinions

The Sony VAIO CR series of notebooks is aimed at offering style, multimedia entertainment and all round general computing. The many vibrant colors it's available in means tell us that it's targeted at consumers who are young, dynamic, image conscious and probably who have fairly active (and mobile) Internet lifestyle. over absolute computing performance. Overall, we like the fact that Sony had done a good job balancing industrial design, functionality, usability and price with the VAIO CR. For the configuration of a Core 2 Duo T7100 processor at 1.8GHz and 1GB RAM, you'll only have to splash out SGD$1,999 (~USD$1,304), which is inexpensive considering you will be freed from having to choose between cheap and unexciting notebooks.


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