As with most things Sony, the VAIO VGN-B1VP is well designed; we particularly like the clever cut-outs on either side that protect its ports. The firm and responsive keyboard has comfortable, well-sized keys and a good spacebar.
Connectivity options include a 100Mbps Ethernet port, a V.92 modem, and an Intel Prio/Wireless 2200b/g Wi-Fi radio that has a middling indoor range of 30m. Unlike the TravelMate 3200, the VAIO VGN-B100B02 has no internal Bluetooth radio, but all of the essential ports are present, including a pair for USB 2.0, one for FireWire (Sony's iLink), microphone and headphone jacks, and a Type II PC Card slot. The Memory Stick Pro card reader is a nice touch, but we wish Sony would get onboard with the more popular Secure Digital standard.
On the security front, the VAIO VGN-B1VP lacks both the ThinkPad T42's fingerprint scanner and the Fujitsu LifeBook S7010's digital combination lock. It does come with Norton Internet Security software, however, plus Windows XP Pro and a bundle of Sony utilities for setting up a wireless connection, managing power, and updating system software.
Our midrange test unit was equipped with a decent set of components for business use, including a 1.5GHz Pentium M processor, a 14.1-inch XGA display, 512MB of 333MHz RAM, a 60GB hard drive, and a combo DVD/CD-RW drive. Sony offers a range of configuration options.
Even with a average-speed Pentium M processor, the VAIO VGN-B1VP proved a good performer. It sped past the similarly equipped IBM ThinkPad R51 and came in just behind the TravelMate 3200, which has a faster processor. Unfortunately, equipped with a 4,400mAh battery, it lasted for a barely passable two hours, 55 minutes in our drain tests -- half an hour short of the TravelMate 3200 and more than an hour and a half less than the ThinkPad R51.
||BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
||BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Acer TravelMate 3200
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Mobility Radeon 9700 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 80GN 60GB 4,200rpm
IBM ThinkPad R51
Windows XP Professional; 1.5GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB; Fujitsu MHT2040HT 40GB 4,200rpm
Sony VAIO VGN-B1VP
Windows XP Professional; 1.5GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME 64MB; IBM Travelstar 80GN 60GB 4,200rpm
Edited by Justin Jaffe
Additional editing by Nick Hide