In terms of the VGC-JS1E's internals, a Core 2 Duo E7200 running at 2.53GHz provides plenty of processing power for any kind of task that prospective buyers of this kind of system are likely to want to perform. The CPU is ably backed up by 3GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM - the practical maximum amount usable for the installed 32-bit version of Windows Vista Premium - while the 500GB hard drive should be large enough for most needs.
The one really underpowered aspect of Sony's all-in-one machine is its Intel integrated GMA X4500HD graphics chip. Don't be fooled by the impressive name; this card will struggle with all but the most undemanding of games, as demonstrated by the 13.6FPS score in TrackManiaNations Forever, tested at the screen's native resolution on medium detail. Nor does it offer any intensive video processing or decoding, leaving the speedy Core 2 Duo to do all the work.
As if to make up for it, wireless connectivity is well covered by Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. In terms of software, meanwhile, there's nothing too special here save for WinDVD 8 and SonicStage Studio 2.5.
All of which brings us to the most important question: is it worth buying? As is so often the case with systems aimed at a niche sector, that's not the easiest question to answer. When looking purely at components, a normal desktop system like Medion's Akoya P36888 offers more for only £500, enabling you to then buy a Full HD monitor like the Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS for the same overall price as Sony's unit. Since you'll want to get separate speakers anyway, this makes the VGC-JS1E look less appealing for the money.
But let's not forget that this is an all-in-one, making the HP TouchSmart IQ500, which is now available for £900, a much fairer comparison. This HP features the same screen and hard drive size, and a slower processor, but the extra £260 does get you Touch functionality, a TV-tuner, wireless peripherals, a remote, better graphics, more memory and inputs, and better speakers. Then again, another £50 onto that gives you Sony's VGC-LN1M, which offers all this (except touch control) and a Blu-ray drive.
So, at the end of the day, it is the cheaper all-in-one option, and when you compare it to Dell's XPS One or Apple's iMac, you get far more than either manufacturer's base systems, which start at £800 and £780 respectively. It all comes down to a matter of end-user preference. If you want an elegant and compact all-in-one system for general everyday use, and aren't hell-bent on reaching the upper echelons of extreme graphics performance, then Sony's VGC-JS1E seems like a reasonable choice.
The Sony VGC-JS1E all-in-one PC is one of the cheapest PCs of its type, and with no major downsides compared to its competition save for the weak speakers and gaming potential, there's really no reason to not consider it if you want an elegant system on a budget.