As a TV and video recorder, this Sony worked beautifully. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to set Giga Pocket up for timed recording via the remote control. Instead I had to use the Timer Recording Manager via the Start menu.
You can also launch the DVD player from the remote control for a bit of movie watching action. You can set up the PCV-V1/G to stream audio and video from other networked devices using the VAIO Media utility. So, if you happen to have a Sony notebook, you should be able to gain access to images, music and video from it over your network. This will of course work both ways, and you could pull media content from the PCV-V1/G as well.
The final application that will launch via the remote control is SonicStage. Now, anyone who’s familiar with VAIO products will be aware of SonicStage. This is an application for the recording and playback of music. The latest version of SonicStage is a massive improvement on the original implementation, and it’s very easy to rip your CDs and create a huge cache of music on the VAIO. Unfortunately you can’t record music as mp3 files, with Sony standing by its ATRAC standard. SonicStage will rip to WMA files though, which is some consolation. Music playback is surprisingly good through the integrated speakers, and I found myself happily using the PCV-V1/G as a jukebox.
You get the usual, generous Sony software bundle, including Adobe PhotoShop Elements 2.0 and Premiere 6 LE. You also get a copy of Microsoft Works 7 to get you productive straight away, and Norton Internet Security to keep you safe from all those horrid viruses out there.
If there’s one thing missing from the PCV-V1/G it’s integrated wireless networking. Of course there is a PC Card slot, so you can easily slip a WiFi adapter in there, but it would have been nice to see it integrated nonetheless.
This isn’t the kind of machine that’s bought for it’s raw processing power, so I saw little point of running conventional system benchmarks. A media PC is more about functionality, usability and design, and it was on those points that I judged the PCV-V1/G.
Considering the beautiful design and Sony badge, I fully expected this machine to cost the earth, but I was wrong. With a street price of £1,209 inc VAT, it seems like a bit of a bargain. Ok, so you could buy a more powerful PC for less, that could do roughly the same thing; but it wouldn’t be as small, stylish and integrated as this one.
Sony has created a great media PC in the shape of the VAIO PCV-V1/G. The feature set and price already make this unit stand out from the crowd, but it’s the beautiful, integrated design that really shines through. Everyone who saw this little VAIO wanted one, even before they knew that it was a complete media PC. If Sony could refine Giga Pocket just a little, include built-in WiFi and integrate a carrying handle, this would be a near perfect all-in-one media PC.
Score in detail