Sony takes a bite out of Apple

September 13th, 2005 Mobile Computing, Tech, The West Australian

So far in computing, only Apple has consistently nailed the fusion between software and hardware better than the rest. Since the days of the first LCII, the machine has had the programming to ensure the two are the perfect match.

Sony is another company with fingers in every pie, and with their extraordinary resources in hardware and software media, it was only a matter of time before they started giving the likes of Final Cut, Tiger and the G5 a run for their money.

Producing everything from the computer you use to the DVD you watch on it, the machines you hook up to it and everything in between, Sony’s VAIO range has always had a strong audiovisual focus, and they’ve always included a decent stable of multimedia tools.

With the (albeit unwieldy-named) VGN-FS28GP, the fusion hits a peak. If you’re new to making a DVD, Click to DVD is a software application with the same power and ease of use in a product you’d expect to pay a lot of money for — and it’s free. Making all your menus, buttons, transitions and backgrounds on the fly, the one-touch simplicity works with templates that are a little cheesy but an ideal introduction to the world of DVD editing. Click to DVD alone sends the value for money of the FS28GP through the roof.

The VAIO suite also includes utilities to organise and import your music, photos and handycam data — and play or view them through the one integrated content browser. It’s as good — just not as high profile — as anything Apple gives you in Mac OS.

What’s more (like the rest of the VAIO range), it’s beautiful looking and comfortable machine to use. It’s not afraid to take up some room in width and depth (at 36x26cm), but the flat design makes up for it. Weighing just under 3kg, it allows for a clean and uncluttered keyboard area whose brushed grey plastic is pleasant and inviting, not trying to look more impressive than it is.

The specs are a nice mix for the office or fun user on the go. The graphics card isn’t the best on the market but you’ll get enough grunt out of the 2GHz processor for most of what you’re after. With only two fairly average speakers, it’s not a high end film or sound editing machine, but it’s so nice to use that investing in a decent set of speakers wouldn’t be too much extra an investment.

With Sony’s sense of style and some of the latest tricks, the VAIO FS28GP is hard to go past.

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