Sony Vaio PCG-XE7

The XE7 comes complete with a mini docking station, which gives additional functionality and adds support for a host of connectors. These include PCMCIA, two USB sockets, stereo line in and out jacks, an external monitor output, RCA and S-Video out, PS/2 external mouse/keyboard, serial and parallel (printer) ports, optical out jack, external floppy drive connector, and an i.LINK IEEE 1394 (FireWire) connector. The latter is brilliant for connection with audio-visual devices such as camcorders.

The notebook alone contains the usual ports plus its own FireWire connector but, oddly enough, has no slot for Sony's own memory sticks. The overall construction quality and design of the grey-and-purple toned Vaio is superb, from the full size keys, palm rests and easy-to-use touchpad to innovative ideas such as the hard plastic protection over the display and Sony's proprietary jog dial. A small wheel to the right of the keyboard, the jog dial can be used to gain quick access to applications and system settings. It can also be programmed for your own needs, and certainly is a welcome addition.

System cooling and keyboard ergonomics are aided by a drop-down attachment underneath the unit, which helps encourage air flow. The Yamaha XG sound controller produces a well balanced sound through the internal speakers. At about 45mm thick and weighing 3kg including the floppy drive and battery, the Vaio PCG-XE7 is the flagship of Sony's notebook computing push in Australia.

Sony Vaio PCG-XE7

Price: $6799

Supplier: Sony Australia

Phone: 1300 138 246

URL: www.sonystyle.com.au

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