Sony Notebooks Go All Out for Entertainment

Plug Sony's new A200 notebook into its docking station and it becomes a fully-fledged entertainment system.

Sony, one of the biggest names in electronics has announced a flurry of new products that showcase its prowess in both consumer electronics and IT.

Coming under its VAIO brand the new notebooks boast cutting-edge features such as widescreen X-Black displays, dual layer DVD technology, and an entertainment focused docking station.


The A200 series is split into both consumer and professional models, and most of them feature large widescreen displays with X-Black technology.

Sony beleives that X-Black, formerly known as Black Onyx, increases contrast, brightness and colour reproduction. The downside is a screen that some may find overly reflective. However, we’ve seen it on several notebooks and stand-alone monitors and like it a great deal.


The screen on the A200 series comes in three flavours. There’s a 15.4in one with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 and a 17in model that sports a resolution of 1,440 x 900 or 1,900 x 1,200 on the top-of-the-range model.

The A200 series is Centrino based meaning that it is powered by Dothan Pentium M processors running between 1.6 and 1.8Ghz with 2Mb of Level 2 cache backed by 512MB of PC2700 memory as standard. Wireless networking is built-in conforming to 802.11b/g standards and Bluetooth is also integrated.

The graphics sub-system is powered by ATI Mobile Radeon GPUs with three models featuring a 9200, and the other three a 9700 for true DirectX 9 standard gaming.

All models also feature a dual-layer DVD+-RW drive enabling up to four hours of footage to be included on a single disc. Permanent storage is provided by a 60 or 80GB drive.

What’s really differnet about the A200 series though is the S-Master AV docking station. This combines a high quality TV tuner with digital noise reduction, a hardware MPEG encoder and the S-MASTER digital amplifier. Connect any A200-Series notebook and it is becomes a complete multimedia entertainment system, The S-Master digital amplifier combined with the 10W per channel stereo speakers are great for games and music.

The A200 series is available with Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 2 pre-loaded and will have an estimated street price of between £1,399 and £1,899 including VAT depending on the model.


The K300 series of notebooks is aimed more at home users. These use Mobile Pentium 4 and Celeron processors, which are more suitable for PCs that are to be plugged in more often than they are on the move. 512MB of RAM will be fitted as standard, which is a decent amount for most applications.


The hard disk is available in capacities of 40 and 60GBs while the recordable DVD drive will burn to both DVD ‘Plus’ and DVD ‘Minus’ formats.

Widescreen is again the order of the day with the 15.4in screen sporting a resolution of 1,280 x 800. The software bundle includes a range of Adobe image applications as well as Sony audio and video tools.

The K300 laptops will have an estimated street price of between £899 and £1,199 including VAT depending on the model.


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