Although Sony has addressed the issue of dual tuners, it hasn't done so in a very elegant way -- the tuners are on different cards so you have to use a splitter to connect them to a single aerial. It would have been much better to employ a single card with dual tuners, such as the one used in the Asus Asteio D22 DAV media PC.
Another annoyance is that Blu-ray movie playback still isn't integrated fully into Media Center. Although there's now a menu option for the Blu-ray player within Media Center, this simply starts up the external WinDVD Blu-ray player. Still, this is more Microsoft's than Sony's fault -- support for Blu-ray hasn't been integrated into Media Center yet.
Some may also be put off by the sheer size of the box. Although designed to slot in under a flat-panel telly in the front room, it's still huge and takes up much more space than an ordinary piece of AV kit. It's also one of the most expensive media PCs on the market at the moment -- the Blu-ray drive pushes up the overall system price.
It's difficult not to be impressed by this Media Center PC. It looks good, runs nearly silent and has a seriously impressive specification. Sony has really gone out of its way to pack this box full of the best goodies available.
If you're not fussed about Blu-ray, you can opt for the VGX-XL301, which costs £700 less and comes with a DVD re-writer. The hard drive is smaller, and the processor slower, but you can always buy an external drive with the money, and the slower processor shouldn't matter. If, however, you're set on getting the ultimate under-the-telly Media Center PC, the XL302 certainly fits the bill.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield