Sleek Sony desktop makes its mark

The VAIO VGC-LS1 is gorgeous, but falls short on raw processing power

Fashion mavens and other demanding aesthetes should find little fault with Sony's latest all-in-one PC: The US$2100 VAIO VGC-LS1 is gorgeous. I looked at a shipping model, and its design was superb--trumping even the Apple iMac--but our tests indicate that it's no powerhouse. (The unit arrived too late to be considered for our Top 5 Power Desktop PCs.)

Suspended in a clear frame, the VGC-LS1's brilliant, 19-inch wide-screen LCD perfectly hides the guts of the computer. Sony backs the high style with some substance, too: This XP Media Center-based system includes 2GB of DDR2 memory, nice features (a 250GB hard drive; a slot-loading, multiformat DVD burner mounted behind the LCD; and a Sony MotionEye Webcam on the LCD's frame), and S-Video, composite A/V, cable-in, and TV-in ports.

Unfortunately, the VGC-LS1 falls short on raw processing power. Though the 1.83-GHz Core Duo T2400 processor and the integrated 950GMA graphics chip set should handle most computing tasks and video playback chores, they lack the power to support demanding game play, as the system's scores on our tests indicate.

The PC earned a 97 on our WorldBench 5 tests, comparable to the marks other systems of similar configuration got, but about 20 percent behind that of our Best Buy value desktop, which costs about half as much. Its gaming scores were low on all measures. The VAIO VGC-LS1 comes in only one configuration, and its closed design means that you can't upgrade later to a more powerful CPU or better graphics.

Given its lackluster performance, the VGC-LS1 is somewhat pricey: Sony certainly got the handsome design right, but you pay for it dearly.

Sony VAIO VGC-LS1

Handsome, expensive all-in-one PC meets today's computing needs, but lacks power and high-def features for the future.

Price when reviewed: US$2100

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