1999 Product of the Year: Client Hardware

Sony Electronics Inc. Vaio PCG-F190

IF YOUR COMPANY has more than a handful of mobile users, choosing the laptop that will be right for all of them can be a major effort. You must make sure that high-end users get the power they need to work efficiently, without breaking the budget on those who use their laptops for e-mail and word processing.

When the task of choosing, certifying, and purchasing systems for your enterprise falls on your shoulders, you'll love the Sony Vaio PCG-F190, which is now in its third iteration as the PCG-F390.

The Vaio gives intermediate to advanced users just the right combination of power and flexibility without costing a fortune. For users who need an easy-to-carry machine with a large display and the latest in peripheral support, this line of laptops is an excellent choice. It's powerful enough to replace a desktop PC, so your users will need only one machine wherever they work.

Although we tested some newer and faster laptops last year, including the Dell Latitude CPi R400GT and the Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 900 Notebook PC, none of them offer enterprise customers all of the power and functionality of the Vaio in such a lightweight case. The Sony Vaio PCG-F190 was the most well-rounded notebook we saw in 1999. It provides users with a lightweight chassis, a large screen, 128-bit graphics, a FireWire port, and a DVD-ROM drive, while keeping the cost affordable for corporate customers.

At approximately $3,000, its price tag puts it out of reach for casual business users, but those who need its extras will find it a wonderful machine. With its digital video disc, video editing, and a 128-bit graphics accelerator, the Vaio brings the power of a high-end desktop on the road with style.

No single laptop is right for every user or corporation. But if you need to certify a standard laptop configuration for your enterprise, the Sony Vaio's excellent combination of features, power, and flexibility at a reasonable cost make it a great choice.

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