Sony has added an Vaio CR - Apple MacBook-like notebook - to its Vaio line of notebooks. It promises to be functional, faster and more appealing than its predecessors.
A stylish casing and design only serve to further Sony's claim of producing aesthetically appealing laptops.
The Vaio CR is available with a range of Core 2 Duo processors (from the Intel T7100 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo up to the T7700 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo). The screen is 14.1 inches and the notebook can take up to 4GB of RAM. The CR range has options that can have the hard drive capacity extend up to 200GB in select models.
There are the usual bells and whistles too, like the built-in DVD burner, Intel's wireless module supporting 802.11n standard, ethernet LAN, and a 56k modem. Each Sony Vaio CR has three USB ports, ExpressCard slot, Memory Stick Duo card reader, Secure Digital slot, VGA and S-Video outputs along with Firewire port.
The Core 2 Duo processors that come with the Vaio CR-series provide more than expected levels of performance. Sony Vaio CR comes pre-installed with Windows Vista Home Premium operating system or with the optional Windows Vista Business edition.
The keyboard on the Vaio CR is perhaps the most unique feature of this notebook. The Vaio CR also features dedicated media buttons at the front of the notebook beneath the touchpad buttons.
While watching a DVD, the controls make the Vaio CR as convenient as a DVD player. Sony CR averages between 2.5-3.0 hours at half screen brightness, wireless off and a mixture of Word usage and idle browsing.
At prices that begin from Rs 55,000, looks like Sony has intentionally given a look and style that resembles Apple MacBook to lure college students or young consumers towards the CR range. And, they do a good job at it too.
Sony's nearest competition seems to be the Apple MacBook. The company made minor updates to its MacBook line of laptops earlier this year, upgrading to Core 2 Duo processors, larger hard drives, and making 1GB the minimum amount of memory available.
The 13.3-inch screen size of MacBook falls a step back when compared with the Sony Vaio CR range. Also, the MacBook is built on the previous-generation Intel platform, and again Sony CR range scores higher here.
At around Rs 60,000 as the entry-level price for a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory, a 80GB hard drive, and Apple's CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive, they are still a costly option for most buyers. Each model allows you to upgrade the standard 1GB of memory to 2GB and to select up to a 200GB hard drive.
Dell, on the other hand, has never been known as an innovator in consumer product design. As a result its stodgy, boxy products have lost market share to the bolder designs of competitors such as HP and Sony. The new 13-inch Dell XPS M1330 is a pleasant surprise, though.
This thin, high-end laptop comes with a slot-loading DVD drive, touch-sensitive media buttons and HDMI-output jack. At approximately Rs 80,000, it's definitely a premium product, complete with a webcam and a credit-card-sized remote control that pops into the PC card slot on the side.