Sony VAIO PCG-FRV28 15" (40 GB, Intel Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz, 512 MB) Notebook - PCG-FRV28 Reviews

Sony VAIO PCG-FRV28 15" (40 GB, Intel Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz, 512 MB) Notebook - PCG-FRV28

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SONY VAIO PCG-FRV28 September 2003 Review

Sep 23, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Quality of Tech Support:

Pros:Value, price, software, feature-loaded.

Cons:Battery life, weight of laptop and weight/size of charger and Made In China sub-standard quality.

The Bottom Line: A good choice for value and features. Excellent software for immediate feature use. Yet heavy and sub-standard battery life.


What's not to like? For a list price of $1699 (actually $1499 after rebates as of 09/03), you'll get a Sony VAIO laptop/notebook loaded with great software and a ton of features and specifications.

Expect a Intel Pentium 4 processor at 2.80 GHz (better than many desktop units). A 15" XGA TFT screen. 40GB of hard drive space (very good for a laptop) and 512 MB ddr SDRAM (which you can double to 1024 MB).

It still gets better though with a built-in DVD-RW/CD-RW burner (both) as standard issue! Plus, Sony has tossed in a Memory Stick media slot (reader) as well in case you happen to use other Sony products. For complete details see: WWW.SONY.COM and click on COMPUTERS.

This is my third Sony VAIO laptop. Being candid, I didn't want the Sony VAIO FRV28 but instead wanted the Sony VAIO ZR1A (highly rated laptop) but I could afford the Sony FRV28 and I am pleased for the most part.

It's fast if not faster than my desktop. It's so feature loaded and software loaded that I still haven't utilized many of the features yet. However, it's really HEAVY at a full 8.1 lbs. You'll also have to carry the charger which is about the size and weight of a brick plus if you fly and need power enough to get you from one coast to the other, another battery or two is essential.

Battery life is minimal. Rated at 2.5 hours per charge, don't expect more than half of that as the Pentium 4 chip is sucking power while the screen itself is taking anything left over. This is the SUV of laptops in fuel consumption and was the main reason I didn't want the Sony FRV28 (take a look at Centrino chips for better battery life but slower performance).

Laptops/notebooks run HOT. The SONY FRV28 is no exception and Sony has placed the intake vent for cooling on the bottom of the laptop and thus, it cannot rest on your lap without blocking that essential vent. You'll need to place a telephone book or find a flat surface to clear that vent. There is a exhaust vent located aft as well and of course hot air is expelled and that vent needs to remain clear and free as well.

Sony has elected to build this laptop in China. They did this with the FRV25 and FRV27 and both ended up with recalls. Time remains at 'watch' to see if the FRV28 avoids a Made In China recall. Sony's ZR1A and smaller other Centrino chip laptops are Made In Japan with ultra quality. Electronics Made In China are always questionable and an extended warranty is suggested.

Some other quirks are the latch system which incorporates a single plastic latch that has a history of breaking. The touchpad is awful and requires tweaking or better yet, a added mouse. There is no extra bay for adding a backup battery so once your battery is exhausted, you'll have to change battery packs. Also, there is no wireless LAN but two PC slots make a wireless card an option for you if needed. Finally, Sony fails to include 'recovery or application discs' as a way to save money and you must download and 'burn' your own.

What else is included? Three USB ports, 1 I-Link port/firewire, 2 PC card slots, 1 Memory stick slot, 1 MIC, and 1 headphone jack. Printer and monitor ports. Phone jack and ethernet jack. 1 DVD-RW and CD-RW combo drive.

Still a good choice for $1699 less $200 in rebates for a laptop that equals a desktop in features. While not very mobile because of weight or battery life, the Sony VAIO PCG-FRV28 combines the best of both worlds into a very affordable portable unit.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 1499.00
Operating System: Windows
Processor: Intel Pentium
Processor speed: over 1000
Screen Size: 15 inches
RAM: More than 256
Internal Storage: CD-RW and DVD
Hard Drive (GB): 31-40


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