Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Sony VAIO VGN-TX47GP/B
- Design, excellent battery life, comfortable keyboard
- Sluggish performance when asked to do taxing tasks, screen exhibits some flex when pushed, average sound
An ultra-portable ideal for road warriors, the VAIO TX47 offers outstanding battery life, and a stylish design.
Price$ 3,599.00 (AUD)
Sony continues to push its ultra portable line, and the VAIO VGN-TX47GP is another well designed notebook. This compact and lightweight ultra-portable system offers an internal optical drive as a standard feature, and it performed comfortably throughout our tests. The VAIO VGN-TX47GP also offers excellent battery life, making it an option worth considering for mobile professionals.
The TX47GP has a 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo U1400 processor, an 80GB hard drive and 1GB of DDR2 memory (expandable up to 1.5GB). Being an ultra portable the focus is on battery life before performance, and these specifications are geared for that functionality. The VAIO also features built-in Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. It has plenty of options including two USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port for hooking up a monitor, headphone and microphone jacks, a FireWire 400 port, 10/100 LAN and modem ports, as well as an ExpressCard slot. There are also front mounted Memory Stick and SD card slots.
We ran the World Bench 5 benchmark on the TX47 and its result of 54 is average for a notebook this size and indicates that the CPU will struggle with taxing processing tasks. Keep in mind though that this is an ultra-portable business notebook, so the result isn't surprising and doesn't diminish the value of this system. For business users, the VAIO comes with some useful features including a biometric fingerprint scanner, which allows the system to be locked and adds security to the Windows XP login process, while a VGA port is available to output presentations to a larger screen or projector.
The VAIO has an 11.1in LCD and the screen is quite good for most uses, including watching DVD movies and performing basic office and productivity tasks, but its viewing angle could have been improved. The screen also exhibits some flex when pushed, so do take care when opening and closing the lid. The display features a glossy "Clear Bright" coating, making the images look quite crisp and vibrant. The VAIO relies on integrated graphics, so its score of 3858 in our 3DMark2001 benchmark wasn't surprising. The unit isn't designed for gaming or any graphical intense applications though, so this isn't an issue.
The TX47GP defines the word style, thanks to a carbon black finish, the media buttons located along the hinge of the lid and the silver VAIO logo etched into the top of the flip. Flipping the lid open reveals a stylish, silver keyboard that is relatively comfortable to type on, despite its small size. There is also a responsive touchpad with two buttons and a biometric fingerprint reader. Sony includes software on the VAIO to program and customise the way you use the scanner. It can be assigned to a number of programs, and can also be used in tandem with basic Windows XP functions including logging on or off, waking the computer from sleep mode and switching users.
Above the keyboard is an array of media buttons; AV mode, play/pause, stop, previous/next track, eject and a glowing green power button. To the left of these are a set of status lights, indicating battery life, hard drive usage, caps lock, num lock and scroll lock. On the front of the VAIO you'll find a wireless switch, as well as mute and volume buttons.
The VAIO weighs a featherweight 1.25kg and measures 272.4mm x 195.1mm x 21mm. Despite the small and lightweight form factor, the unit seems well built, although the display does exhibit some flex when pushed. Sound quality from the speaker above the keyboard is average, so anyone planning to use this for multimedia, we suggest some notebook speakers or headphones to get a better overall experience.
We tested the battery life by running MobileMark 2005's productivity test and the result of 407 minutes was outstanding. The TX47 is a real road warrior and will suit anyone who is a frequent traveller, thanks to its diminutive frame and great battery life.
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