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Sony VAIO PCG-QR10

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  • Editors' rating
    7.1 Very good

Pros

  • Eyecatching design.

Cons

  • Unremarkable performance and battery life
  • relatively expensive.

Sony has produced a VAIO notebook that it hopes will appeal to students, and other young people from what Sony calls the 'Playstation generation'. However, the reality is that the price (£1,104 ex. VAT, or £1,297 inc.VAT) will have to fall somewhat for it to succeed in this market.

The design of the PCG-QR10 certainly isn't going to appeal to business users. With its shiny black plastic and silver piping, it looks more like a fashion accessory than a serious productivity tool. The tilt stand doubles as a carry handle, allowing you to pick up the PCG-QR10 quickly -- providing you remember to remove any cables first. At 3kg it's quite heavy compared to some notebooks, and doesn't have the modular drive bays seen in many notebooks of this weight. We wouldn't recommend you carry the notebook far this way, since it's not protected from knocks and the prominent 'VAIO' logo on top of the unit makes it obvious what you're carrying to any would-be thieves. You also need somewhere to put the external power supply.

The hardware specification is nothing special: the PCG-QR10 is built around a 650MHz Intel Celeron supported by just 64MB RAM, which is upgradeable to 512MB. Fixed storage is provided by a 10GB hard drive, which is large enough for most purposes unless you want to store and process large amounts of digital video. The 13.3in. colour TFT screen has a native resolution of 1,024 by 768, and is driven by the Intel 815 chipset's integrated graphics module. This moderate specification is reflected in the PCG-QR10's unremarkable Business Winstone 2001 score of 16.

The 650MHz Mobile Celeron processor lacks Intel's power-saving SpeedStep technology and the standard Li-ion battery is only a 1,700mAh unit, all of which conspires to deliver a disappointing BatteryMark 4 score of 1 hour and 27 minutes.

The PCG-QR10 has a legacy-free design, so the iLink (IEEE 1394) and USB ports are the only way of connecting peripherals to this notebook. Built-in 10/100 Ethernet networking and a V.90 modem make getting connected relatively easy, and you can connect an external monitor using the standard VGA port. However, there's no dedicated docking station or port replicator for this notebook. A pair of stacked Type II PC card slots plus headphone and microphone jacks complete the expansion options. The only removable drive is a built-in 24-speed CD-ROM drive, so any other removable media you want to use will have to be connected externally.

As well as a two-button trackpad for navigation, the PCG-QR10 has a Jog Dial at the top right-hand side of the 87-key keyboard. Although the Jog Dial may be very useful on handhelds and ultraportables, it's less so on a notebook with a full-sized keyboard and trackpad -- you can do many of the things the Jog Dial comes configured to do in a few keypresses.

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The PCG-QR10 is supplied with Windows ME. You're given a recovery CD, which restores the notebook to its factory configuration should something catastrophic happen. Supplied utilities include Sony Notebook setup, which provides simple configuration facilities, PowerPanel for adjusting power management settings, and MediaBar, a media player application that also allows you to create MiniDisc playlists.

Much of the remainder of Sony's software bundle is aimed at digital video editing. A video capture package, DVGate, and an editing package called MovieShaker allow you to work with footage shot on a digital video camera, providing it supports IEEE 1394. VisualFlow, the Memory Stick browser, is also supplied even though this notebook doesn't have a Memory Stick slot.

The VAIO PCG-QR10 is decidedly average in terms of specification and performance, but its design may have some appeal. However, the price really should be under £1,000 (inc. VAT) if it's going to appeal to students.

Specifications

Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Celeron 650 MHz
Cache L2 - 128 KB - Advanced Transfer Cache
General
Recommended Use home use
Operating System Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
Memory
Max Supported Size 512 MB
Technology SDRAM
Form Factor SO-DIMM 144-pin
Slots Qty 4
Empty Slots 3
Storage
Optical Drive 1 x CD-ROM fixed
Compliant Standards CD-DA, CD-XA, CDi, Kodak PhotoCD
Read Speed 24x
Type standard
Display
Resolution 1024 x 768 (XGA)
Widescreen Display No
Diagonal Size (metric) 33.8 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation XGA
Audio & Video
Memory Allocation Technology shared video memory (UMA)
Supported Display Graphics SVGA (800x600), VGA (640x480), XGA (1024x768)
Analogue Video Format none
Compliant Standards Microsoft WSS 1.0/2.0, Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster 16/Pro
Input
Type Jog Dial, keyboard, touchpad
Communications
Wireless Controller PCI
Wired Protocol 10/100 Ethernet
Processor
Installed Qty 1
Max Supported Qty 1
Upgradability not upgradable
Type Celeron
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 650 MHz
Modem
Protocols & Specifications ITU V.90, k56Flex, Hayes AT command set
AC Adapter
Input AC 110/220 V ± 10% (50/60 Hz)
Connections & Expansion
Slots 2 x CardBus (2 free)
4 x memory (3 free)
Interfaces 1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
2 x USB 4 pin USB Type A
1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) 6 PIN FireWire
1 x microphone - input - mini-phone mono 3.5 mm
1 x headphones - output - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
1 x modem - phone line - RJ-11
1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45
Header
Brand Sony
Product Line Sony VAIO
Model PCG-QR10
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Max Transfer Rate 56 Kbps
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
Compliant Standards IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u
System
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 10 GB
Miscellaneous
Colour black, white
Integrated Options Stereo speakers, keyboard, touchpad, display, Jog Dial
Dimensions & Weight
Width 33.1 cm
Depth 26.1 cm
Height 4.7 cm
Monitor
Diagonal Size 13.3 in
Native Resolution 1024 x 768
Colour Support 24-bit (16.7 million colors)
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Installed Size 128 KB
RAM
Form Factor SO-DIMM 144-pin
Technology SDRAM
Installed Size 64 MB
Max Supported Size 512 MB
Slots Qty 4
Empty Slots 3
Physical Characteristics
Weight 3 kg
Hard Drive
Type HDD
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 10 GB
Power
Voltage Required AC 110/220 V
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
Type Adobe Acrobat Reader, Drivers & Utilities, Sony DVgate, Sony Media Bar, Sony MovieShaker, Sony PictureGear, Sony PictureToy, Sony Smart Capture, Sony VisualFlow
Optical Storage
Drive Type CD-ROM
Type CD-ROM
Form Factor fixed
Video Memory
Memory Allocation Technology shared video memory (UMA)
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year

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