- User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Quality of Tech Support:
Pros:Light weight, clear screen, powerful
Cons:No serial/parallel ports, CD Rom and floppy drive sold separately, MS Office not preloaded
The Bottom Line: Strong contender, even with its shortcomings. Look closely at HP Omnibook and IBM Thinkpad.
I purchased the Sony Vaio SR7K after performing a great deal of research, but still missed some important decision factors that I hope to share here.
While this machine is very powerful and ultraportable, it does have some frustrating shortcomings. Most notably, it has only a USB port for attaching periphals. None of the literature I read in advance made this point, and unless you already have replaced all of your devices (such as printers, mouse, zip drives, etc.), you will need to buy an adapter that plugs into the usb port and enables you to plug other devices into the serial and parallel ports. When I called Sony, they were no help, telling me that "everyone" is converting to usb and that they don't make or sell an adapter. Finding an adapter was also difficult. Eventually, I found one at Circuit City. It is the Targus USB Mobil Expansion Hub, model number PA070. It cost about $120 at Circuit City, but I have since found it on eBay for about half that price. You can also purchase it directly at targus.com. This adapter is nice because it is small (weighs about 3 ounces) and includes 2 usb ports, 2 serial ports and 2 parallel ports (1 for printers and 1 for PDAs). However, it needs is not plug and play, and its drivers come only on a floppy disk (they cannot be downloaded from the targus.com site).
Which brings me to my second gripe. Sony sells the CD Rom and floppy drives separately, and each will set you back about $70 - $90.
Finally, this machine is only preloaded with MS Windows 2000 and MS Word. If you do a lot of work on Excel or PowerPoint (as I do), you will need to invest in these, too.
Obviously, these little extras can start to add up quickly. So, while I like this laptop a lot, I think if I had it to do over I would more strongly look at the latest IBM Thinkpad or the HP Omnibook.
By the way, check out Personalogic.com to help in your decision-making. It asks you to answer several "usage" type questions and then recommends a best fit laptop based on your answers. I have found it useful on several other purchases (but again, it doesn't point out the shortcomings I listed here). Happy shopping...
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Amount Paid (US$): 1650
Operating System: Windows
Processor: Intel Pentium III
Processor speed: 601-700
Hard Drive (GB): 13-20