Full reviewWith the VAIO VGN-B1VP, Sony presents a well packaged thin-and-light with mobile workers in mind. At 2.3kg (2.7kg with its small AC adaptor), it's heavier than the Acer TravelMate 3200 and the featherweight Panasonic ToughBook Y2, but it's lighter than the IBM ThinkPad R51 and certainly portable enough for daily travellers. The VAIO VGN-B1VP is 321 by 43 by 255mm (though it's 50mm thick at the hinge, giving it something of a big butt).
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