Sony raises the bar…X505

Sony has been on the forefront of design in the PC world although we don’t always see it here in the US because of different market trends. Although most people think Apple is the leader in innovation when it comes to notebooks, they are nowhere close to the Japanese when it comes to miniaturizing things. Sony’s latest designs based on the Pentium M chips show a sign of new innovation coming from Sony. First you had the Z1 series and then you had the TR series. Both models were super light and had very nice design and styling. However, Sony has used the same materials for a while. They were one of the first to use magnesium alloy in notebooks to make them stronger and lighter. Apple made news when they started using titanium and aluminum based frames. Now, Sony finally releases something new that marks a “first” in the PC world. The X505 Note Extreme edition with CARBON FIBER body. Yeah, that’s the same light but incredibly strong material used in performance cycling and tricked out cars (NASCAR included). Actually not the whole body is made up of carbon fiber (as that would be crazy expensive). The lid is carbon fiber and the rest of the body is made up of magnesium alloy and high-grade plastic.


The PCG-X505/SP model is the carbon fiber model that is around 1.7lbs in weight. This one will set you back a healthy $3200+.

The PCG-X505/P model is similar as it uses nickel strengthened carbon weighing in at 1.8lbs. Bargain priced at $2750+.

Both models have the same specs:
· 1Ghz Intel Pentium M
· 512MB of DDR
· 20GB hard drive
· 10.4” XGA screen
· 1 x Cardbus slot
· 2 x USB 2.0 ports
· 1 x Firewire (iLink) port
· VGA out (needs adapter) - also acts as LAN port
· Includes Wireless G PC Card (no built-in wireless)
· Includes a USB mouse that also has a memory stick slot
· Carrying case for the notebook and accessories
· Recovery CD (although it has no optical drive included)
· 2.5-4 hours of battery life

You can find more information and specs here:

The specs are good and in line with their TR series but it’s designed to be super minimalist. It’s really a lot more like the SR series (optical drive-less) since it has the same screen size. Interestingly enough it uses a trackpoint instead of the trackpad. The reason for that is because the space above the keyboard houses the harddisk, CPU and memory. Don’t forget, this little machine is 0.38 inches tall (9.7mm) at it’s smallest to 0.82 inches (21mm) at it’s highest. The battery life is ok. I’m sure Sony will release some sort of enhanced battery to double the life.

These are pricey toys and we probably won’t see these in the US since the American market tends to go for cheaper things and not highly refined products like these. I’m sure importers like iCUBE will be carrying this for a premium. Still, it’s nice to know that there is still some daring and innovation going on…too bad it’s only Sony who is doing it. I’d like to see a lot more companies work on usability and aesthetics. Dell’s recent commercials about how they spend a lot of time on design makes me laugh. Dell’s designs are better than before but their notebooks (while nicely configured and priced) leave little to be desired in terms of looks and weight. For some reasons, a lot of these companies don’t realize that people are willing to spend more on a notebook if it looks good and has good specs. Why do people go crazy over Powerbooks and VAIO notebooks? On the PC side, there is a reason why Sony Notebooks are #1 in sales (especially on the higher end)...people are willing to spend more on quality and something that’s going to be a joy to use.

Site Redesign…

Sorry for the lack of updates but I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working on the Sony TR forums site and finally have time to work on cleaning up this site and adding new content. I still have reviews in the wings and some new cool software that I’m playing with.

I also recently upgraded to Office 2003 and it’s really nice. I specifically wanted to use Outlook 2003 since it’s improved in terms of performance and usability features. My big complaint is that Microsoft still hasn’t fixed their IMAP support in Outlook. It’s atrocious! Basically, you can’t have it check multiple IMAP accounts on the same server because it craps out after checking two accounts…and I have 7 accounts I want to check. The crazy thing is that their own Outlook Express mail client works flawlessly with multiple IMAP accounts. You would think they would have borrowed the threading code from the OE team and work it into Outlook. The worse thing is that this problem has existed in the previous version which has been out for 2 years.

So, other than that issue…the program rocks although i still need to keep OE open to check my other accounts. More updates on the way…as always.

The Liberator…

If you’re like me and you have a lot of power strips around and you’re constantly frustrated by companies that ship consumer electronics/computer products with AC adapters then you’ll love the Liberator by Zio TEK.

These cables allow you to fully utilize all of the plugs on your power strip and keeps AC adapters from hogging more than one plug. I recently purchased two packs (10 pieces) and I love them. They are well built and high quality cables. They give you about one extra foot so there’s room for all of your devices.

They even have a plus version that adds a pass through in addition to the extension. I found these items at for a decent price. I highly recommend these items as it’s a lot better than buying more surge suppressors and daisy chaining them.

Site Update: Two new reviews

Taking a break from working on the forums, I banged out two new reviews of some smaller items that I had been wanting to mention.

First is a notebook stand called the Lapvantage Dome. It’s a neat little thing that totally copies the iMac look. Functionally, it’s different and it works well. The fact that it matches my notebook and some related accesories satisfies the aesthetic needs.

Secondly, I take a look at Microsoft’s Bluetooth Mouse which I’ve been using for several months now. The mouse itself is great but it comes with a crappy Bluetooth transceiver that could be so much more.

Anyways, I’ll be back to working on some forum stuff and then get back to all of my backlogged reviews. I’m targetting a few software titles worth mentioning so it should be a good read for all. Check out the side bar for the latest reviews…

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