capsule review

Sony VAIO VPCJ114FX/B: Wait for the Price to Drop

At a Glance
  • Sony VAIO VPCJ114FX/B

    PCWorld Rating

    Facing tough competition at varying sizes and costs, Sony's attractive all-in-one doesn't quite live up to its $1000 asking price.

Sony's VAIO VPCJ114FX/B all-in-one desktop PC sits in a crowded category. The competition is just too strong for the system to make headway when burdened with a $1050 (as of January 19, 2011) asking price.

The VAIO's 1.86GHz Intel Pentium P6000 processor and 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory helped the system to achieve a score of 86 on our WorldBench 6 suite of tests--about average for the category. But we've reviewed machines in both the Budget All-in-One and Big-Screen All-in-One categories that did better. The 23-inch Acer AZ5700-U2112, for instance, beats the VAIO on price and performance, with a WorldBench 6 score of 119. And the Gateway ZX6951-53--a striking, 23-inch $999 all-in-one--posted a score of 121.

We question Sony's decision to include a meager (and nonupgradable) 500GB hard drive. Acer's system offers a drive with twice that capacity (1TB). And the ZX6951-53 offers 640GB of storage space (20 percent more than the VAIO), while matching the VAIO's Blu-ray combo drive and native 1080p display.

We were also disappointed by the VAIO's paltry range of connections for external devices. Instead of a multiformat card reader on the system's side--a standard feature of most all-in-one desktops--you get an SD Card reader and a Memory Stick reader located above a FireWire 400 port and two USB ports.

On the system's rear, Sony supplies two USB ports and a gigabit ethernet port; the VAIO supports Wireless-N networking as well. This collection of options isn't the load-out we expected to see on a thousand-dollar all-in-one. You don't get a TV tuner, external audio connections, HDMI, or eSATA.

The only upgradable component of this VAIO is its memory. But at least you won't have to spend much time removing useless software on the rig. Sony's proprietary VAIO software is enjoyable to play around with; an included Control Center doubles as a prettier version of Windows' default; and Sony's VAIO Care tools give you one-touch access to various analysis and PC tune-up utilities. Bravo.

Sony packages a wireless mouse alongside a thin but boring wired keyboard. The keyboard drops the total number of available USB ports on the VAIO to three.

Sony's VAIO VPCJ114FX/B is attractive, and it's no slouch at performance. But the all-in-one's price is too high for what you get in return. If you're not absolutely thrilled by the chassis, save some cash on a larger, more capable machine.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Facing tough competition at varying sizes and costs, Sony's attractive all-in-one doesn't quite live up to its $1000 asking price.

    Pros

    • Blu-ray support
    • Excellent bundled software

    Cons

    • Lacks diverse external connections
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