In fact the more I used the machine the more I was impressed. Its look and feel is typically PC, - angles, grilles and transparent plastic, compared to the iMac aluminium and glass, but it's a great look - sleek and modern. I'd say overall the iMac still wins in the design stakes but if you mount the screen on the wall you'll certainly be making an impressive style statement.
With the display on the desk it looks like a large photo frame and lacks height adjustment, and of course you'll be fairly limited on games performance from the built-in 8400 M GT graphics but this system is about media centre style entertainment, media creation and office work. In fact it's good for all the things the iMac does, just PC 'stylee'.
Value wise it's a good £500 more than the base iMac but you get more - more RAM, though that's a necessity for Vista, a larger display, dual digital TV tuners and a still very expensive Blu-ray drive - so it's pricey but still well priced.
If you have been considering an iMac but like the thought of Blu-ray and TV Tuners, neither of which Apple's machine currently offers, this could be enough to stop you from switching. Sure, Vista just isn't as good as MacOS, even before Leopard launches but this machine is more about media than pure computing, and on that basis this machine makes a lot of sense.
In the end some minor issues means it's just shy of full marks but I couldn't help but be impressed with this stylish, powerful and well featured media centre.
Sony's latest all-in-one is an undeniably stylish machine that's powerful, and well featured, with highlights including a Blu-ray drive and dual hybrid tuners. It's not hideously expensive for what you get either - there's no denying that this is a first class machine.