If there's one company that can give Apple's iMac design team a run for its money, it's Sony. Over the years, Sony has produced some gorgeous-looking all-in-one desktop PCs. The Vaio VGC-JS2E, available for around £860, aims to continue this trend, with its sleek, all-metal design and large 20.1-inch widescreen display.
There's no doubt that Sony's designers have worked their magic again with the JS2E. It's a beautifully crafted machine, with a gorgeous brushed-metal finish, and really looks the business. There's a girly version, with a pink hue to the border around the screen, but it's also available in more man-friendly black and stainless-steel finishes.
Despite being relatively slim, the JS2E manages to pack plenty of power into its svelte frame. The main brains of the machine are taken care of by a relatively speedy Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 processor, clocked at 2.8GHz, with 3GB of RAM, to keep the notoriously memory-hungry Windows Vista Home Premium happy. It's no surprise then that the PC scored a fairly impressive 6,063 in our PCMark05 test. The Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS GPU also helped propel the JS2E to respectable score of 2,502 in 3DMark06, so its got enough graphical grunt to let you enjoy some 3D shooter action -- as long as you don't turn on all the graphical bells and whistles.
Connectivity is also good. The JS2E sports five USB ports, a digital audio output and a multi-format memory-card reader. There's also wireless-n Wi-Fi and full Bluetooth support. An integrated webcam is mounted above the screen and can be used with the built-in microphone for making video calls with software such as Skype.
Despite being designed for use as a home PC, the JS2E isn't what you'd call a multimedia powerhouse. For example, there's no built-in TV tuner, so it can't be used to watch and record TV. And, although the display produces fantastically vivid colours, given its 1,680x1,050-pixel resolution, it's perhaps unsurprising that the JS2E doesn't offer Blu-ray support. That's disappointing considering that Sony is the largest backer of Blu-ray. At least the DVD drive acts a dual layer recorder, so you can use it with high-capacity 8.5GB discs.
Another disappointment is that the mouse and keyboard are wired rather than wireless. Usually this wouldn't be a massive issue, as a wireless keyboard and mouse combo isn't all that expensive. The JS2E's keyboard and mouse are styled to blend in with the main machine, however, so finding suitable replacements won't be easy.
Hats off to Sony's design team -- the Vaio VGC-JS2E is a beautifully designed piece of kit that will look great in a living room or study. It's also quite powerful for an all-in-one model, and boasts a gorgeous screen. But we can't help feeling that Sony has missed a trick by not including a Blu-ray drive and TV tuner.
Edited by Charles Kloet