Moreover, the Vaio has so many nice touches you tend to overlook its flaws. We particularly liked the dedicated DVD keys under the display, as well as the clearly marked (and lighted) status panel for the unit’s wireless LAN and WAN. The 11.1-inch screen was also the best in the roundup. This is hardly surprising: Sony’s dominance of the TV business has long helped it to dazzle computer buyers with the quality of its displays. Buyers of this Vaio may find themselves dazzled, period.
Even as these machines set a new standard for small-but-powerful, companies such as FlipStart Labs (backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen) are already ushering forth a new generation of even smaller devices. No doubt the day will come when you’ll tell your kids how you once lugged a three-pound computer from meeting to meeting and they’ll be as incredulous as we were when reminded that the Compaq Portable of 1982 weighed 28 pounds and cost $3,600. But for now, these ultralight machines set the standard for full-featured business use.
John Goff is technology editor of CFO.
Fujitsu Lifebook P7230
Inside: Intel Core Solo processor (1.2 GHz), 80 GB HD, 1 MB RAM, wireless WAN, Bluetooth, optical drive (DVD+R)
Outside: 10.6″ display, touchpad, VGA port, 2 USB ports, Type I/II PC Card, 3-in-1 media card reader, Webcam
All sides: 10.7″ x 7.9″ x 1.1″, 2.9 lbs.
Lenovo ThinkPad X60
Inside: Intel Core Duo processor (2 GHz), 80 GB HD, 2 MBs RAM, wireless LAN and WAN, Bluetooth
Outside: 12.1″ display, trackpoint, VGA port, 2 USB ports, SD port, Ethernet
All sides: 10.5″ x 8.3″ x 1.39″, 3.7 lbs.
Panasonic Toughbook CF-W5
Inside: Intel Core Solo processor (1.2 GHz), 60 GB HD, 512 MB RAM, wireless LAN and WAN, Bluetooth, optical drive (CD-RW/DVD ROM)
Outside: 12.1″ display, touchpad, 2 USB ports, Type II PC Card, SD memory card, Ethernet
All sides: 10.6″ x 8.3″ x 1.8″, 2.9 lbs.
Sony Vaio TXN15P/B
Inside: Intel Core Solo processor (1.2 GHz), 80 GB HD, 1 GB RAM, wireless LAN and WAN, optical drive (DVD+/-RW)
Outside: 11.1″ display, touchpad, fire wire port, 2 USB ports, memory stick/SD slot, Ethernet, Bluetooth
All sides: 7.7″ x 10.7″ x 1.2″, 2.8 lbs.