Pros: Blu-ray writer included; Fast processor; Big hard disk; Good design.
Cons: Poor graphics quality.
Bottomline: A sparkly, design-led computer that's ideal for home entertainment but not for gamers.
Microsoft's dream of having a PC in every living room doesn't look like one that is going to come true anytime soon, but Sony's VGC-LT2S certainly ought to give it a helping hand.
Looking more like a widescreen television than a computer, this Windows Vista Home Premium PC has plenty to offer. The 22in screen dominates the VGC-LT2S and is surrounded by an acrylic border. Various icons, such as power and a Sony logo, light up along this border when the computer is in use, giving the PC a touch of class – should they become an annoyance, though, you can switch the lights off.
The display features a glossy coating to provide vivid colours and video looks absolutely stunning on it. Thanks to the Blu-ray drive on the side, you can watch all the latest blockbusters. What's more, this drive will also write Blu-ray discs, so if you have a high-definition camcorder you can share your videos with other Blu-ray owners.
A selection of ports is dotted around the side of the case, including USB and digital audio outputs. Pop off the rear cover and you'll find yet more ports such as the wired network connection (it also works with wireless networks) and a multi-format memory card reader.
A single aerial input links up with two hybrid (digital and analogue) TV tuners, which means you can record two channels the same time, or watch one live broadcast while recording another. As you'd expect, the keyboard is wireless (powered by four AA batteries) and connects to the computer via radio waves – unlike infrared remote controls, radio waves don't require a clear line of sight to communicate.
The keyboard's cover folds back on itself to provide a wrist rest, and three shortcut buttons join the power, hibernate and volume functions, but other than this it's a pretty standard keyboard. A remote control and rather plain looking wireless mouse are also included.
Inside the case is an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 processor running at 2.1GHz, backed up with 2GB of memory, which is more than enough to ensure Vista runs smoothly. Thanks to the 500GB hard disk, you've also got plenty of space to store video, music and photos. If you're into gaming, however, the Nvidia Geforce Go 8400 GT graphics card will disappoint.
Although the VGC-LT2S will cope with most games at low detail settings, it simply won't be able to handle the latest titles. At just under £1,300, this is an expensive computer, but you do get a lot for your money.
For the same price you could definitely pick up a more powerful PC that's more suited to gaming and processor-intensive tasks such as video editing, but you'd lose out on the VGC-LT2S' minimalist design that will fit seamlessly into just about any lounge.