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Sony VGC-LT1S.CEK Media Center
Just a couple of weeks ago I reviewed Apple's iMac, the epitome of high design, one box computing. As I sat there looking taking in its sleek curves and glossy looks, I couldn't help but wonder why you couldn't get a PC that could equal its style. Ironic then that just a few days later, I found, waiting for me on a desk in our labs, the Sony VGC-LT1S, as if to say, "oh yeah Apple, check this out". So can Sony style, match Apple attitude?
The Sony VGC-LT1S certainly makes an impression compared to your average PC. As with the iMac the PC is built into the back of the display and with a wireless and keyboard and mouse it makes for a very minimalist set up. However, the Sony looks quite different. While the back of the display is not as thin as Apple's deliciously svelte new iMac, Sony has placed the whole thing in a transparent frame, with thin photo frame like edges, giving it a floating look, reminiscent of Sony's Bravia TVs. This is quite fitting though as this machine is more than just a PC - it's a fully fledged media centre courtesy of a dual hybrid TV tuners - which is great to see as it means you can watch one digital or analogue channel while recording another. Naturally, with Windows Vista Home Premium installed you get Windows Media Centre and a nice looking remote control is supplied, though for some reason it's white rather than a system matching silver, which seems to be a bit of an oversight.
The display is 22in in diameter and has a 1,680 x 1,050 resolution and sports X-Black technology - a glossy coating that's designed to enhance colours and contrast. The size is large enough to serve as a small TV for a study, office or kitchen, say, and of course is perfectly comfortable to work on as a regular PC. The display is Vesa compliant so can be wall mounted - you just need to remove the rear stand, though the mount has to be purchased separately, according to the US website - as of writing the LT series isn't currently on the UK Sony site. The TV Tuner inputs and networking connections are side mounted so you could get to them even when it's hung up on the wall. There are also some cable management hooks so you can keep the wiring neat and tidy.