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You get a stylish black carrying case for the X505VP that’s lined with velvet to keep it safe. The case has no handles but it’s designed to fit in your bag rather than be used as a bag. The case is surprisingly stiff and feels like it would protect the notebook well if you were silly enough to drop it. A similar case is supplied to house the accessories like the PC cards, cables and dongle. Strangely there’s no space in either case for the power supply, but I get the feeling that this little beauty is supposed to be carried with you at all times and used on battery power throughout the day.
Talking of battery power the X505VP managed just over two hours in the Mobile Mark battery rundown test. This isn’t the best battery life by today’s standards, but considering the size of this notebook, it’s pretty impressive. The battery is built into the hinge mechanism, just like with the original VAIO 505 and unclips simply in case you want to carry a spare with you. As for performance, the X505VP isn’t going to break any records, but the overall design of this machine almost transcends the question of performance. No one is going to buy this machine because of how it performs, people will buy it because they can’t help but give in to their desire to own it.
As well as Windows XP Professional, the X505VP ships with a full software suite. For office applications you get Microsoft Works 7, while the Adobe Companion Pack will take care of all your creative needs. This application suite from Adobe is exclusive to Sony VAIO products, and I’ve seen it shipping on all recent Sony notebooks. What you get is a copy of Adobe Premiere Standard, PhotoShop Elements 2.0, PhotoShop Album Starter Edition and Acrobat Elements to help you turn standard office documents into distributable PDF files.
Now, here comes the bit you’ve been waiting for, the price. With a ground breaking product like this you know that Sony is going to have to charge a premium for the R&D and the manufacturing costs. Well, despite wildly inaccurate reports elsewhere, Sony has quoted me a price of £1,999 for the X505VP, which, in my opinion is a bit of a bargain for such a technological marvel. It’s with this in mind that I’ve given the X505VP a Value rating of nine, since you simply can’t buy anything else like this, regardless of the price. And despite the fact that many notebooks have more features than the X505VP, none of them have managed to squeeze as much into such a tiny box, so again this little Sony grabs a nine out of ten in the Features score. But to be fair, all of this is pretty much moot, since the X505VP is something that you decide to either buy or not the minute you see it, and if you fall under its spell, factors like, price, performance and features just aren’t going to come into the equation.
Words like beautiful, stunning and stylish do nothing to describe the X505VP, and even the pictures accompanying this review don’t do it justice. It’s not the fastest machine out there and the price isn’t insignificant, but what you’re getting is the pinnacle of mobile computing. One day all notebooks will look like this, and for me, that day can’t come soon enough.