Sony VAIO VGN-TX37GP (Core Solo)

Perfect for Kate

Perfect for Kate

With its petite dimensions, which were comfortably within that of the standard A4 paper format, the Sony VAIO VGN-TX37GP is as handy as one can get with a notebook. The mostly plastic chassis probably accounts for its lightweight though it does result in a rather dull and mostly gray interior. This potential drabness was thankfully saved by the choice of a daring, reddish brown carbon fiber front lid with the VAIO logo taking center stage in the middle. Those who have seen the siren charms of the redheaded Samsung Q30 can see some similarities here between the attention-grabbing decors found on these two notebooks. Compared to the boring choices of black, silver or gray notebooks out there, the unconventional reddish brown of the VGN-TX37GP stands out from the crowd almost like a fashion accessory. Together with its slim profile, we could just imagine it resting in the dainty hands of a skinny supermodel, Kate Moss for instance.

It's smaller than our magazine and it might even be thinner than some of the usual fashion magazines.

The 11.1-inch widescreen TFT LCD is almost ridiculously thin. Measuring about 0.5cm, it is one of the thinnest that we have seen and contributes to the extreme slimness of the VAIO. An overall thickness of a maximum of 2.85cm places it among the top echelon of ultra-portables in this respect. The slim design of the screen also means that Sony only has one light source coming from the bottom of the LCD and you will notice quite a fair amount of backlight bleeding even in a lighted environment, especially if your viewing angles are from the sides. This can obviously affect the image quality, more so if you are watching movies in a darkened room. Apart from these instances, you would be glad to note our observations will not detract you from general usage.

Forward view:- Its slim figure still manages to include the ubiquitous Sony Memory Stick slot, along with the more common SD Memory card slot. There's also a handy switch to enable/disable wireless functionality and the usual panel of audio related options, like volume controls and headphone jacks.

Right profile:- The dual layer DVD/CD burner has the tiniest of eject buttons so it was fortunate that Sony has a panel of AV controls, like fast-forward, play and eject. Next to the burner is the only video output available, in the form of an analog VGA output.

Rear view:- The six-cell battery dominates the rear and it's surrounded by an Ethernet port, the DC power connector and an IEEE1394 port (4-pin).

Left profile:- On this side, there's the Kensington slot, one of the two USB2.0 ports and the PC Card slot. There's also a RJ-11 modem jack and another USB2.0 port hidden behind the flap towards the forward corner.

Talking about movies, like some of the multimedia capable notebooks nowadays, the VGN-TX37GP features an instant-on multimedia mode. Clicking on the AV Mode button when the notebook is off will immediately turn it on and the usual operating system gets bypassed in favor of a suite of Sony's custom media applications. The loading times are minimized and you can playback your preferred media with ease. No mouse drivers were loaded so you have to rely solely on the keyboard for navigation when you're in this mode. Fortunately, playback buttons like fast-forward and pause are present and conveniently located just above the keyboard.

There's an AV Mode, whereby one could play media files without actually starting your operating system. This panel of controls is all you need, plus the hidden layer of Sony proprietary software that enables it.