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Sony VAIO J11 review

Verdict

A sturdy, stylish and capable all-in-one, for a lower price than you'd expect

Review Date: 8 Jun 2010

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £765 (£899 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

The new Sony VAIO J11 all-in-one PC shares its basic design with the VAIO L11. The latter is our current A-List favourite so that's no bad thing, and this model looks and feels every bit as smart and solid.

Both boast optical multitouch screens at Full HD resolution, but the J11's 21.5in panel make less of a statement than the 24in screen of the L11. And the J11 effectively surrenders any claim to rival the L11 as a front-room entertainment centre. The TV tuner, remote control and video input ports have all vanished and, unusually for Sony, the optical drive is a standard DVD rewriter with no support for Blu-ray media.

But this ruthless pruning has a salutary effect on the price, which is almost £500 cheaper than the L11. By all-in-one standards, it's almost affordable. That, plus the more desk-friendly size, makes it a realistic proposition for a luxurious personal desktop.

Sony VAIO J11

And in that context it's a strong performer. The Core i3-350M processor is some way down Intel's current range, but it's still a very capable chip: in our benchmarks, partnered with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, it drove the J11 to a solid 2D benchmark score of 1.34. Throw in a 500GB hard disk and you have a system that's more than ample for office and internet tasks, and fine even for photo or video editing, although we're sure it won't be long before all-in-one PCs start showing up with more powerful i5 and i7 CPUs.

At the same time, it's a remarkably power-efficient system. The entire system drew just 52W when idle, and when we turned down the display brightness to minimum, consumption fell to an amazing 25W - less than many home server appliances, let alone complete PCs.

Perhaps even more important, the J11 is a pleasure to use. The glossy screen is beautifully rich, with bold colours and deep contrast, and Sony's multi-lamp system helps achieve even brightness across the display. Sound is good too: far louder and richer than you'd expect from a machine with no visible speakers. You could happily enjoy a Hollywood blockbuster on the J11, or even use it as a back-room music centre if you don't insist on audiophile quality. External speakers or headphones can be attached via a 3.5mm socket.

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