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Big is beautiful

By now we all ought to know that the crucial trade-off when picking a laptop computer is between size and performance. So when RM sent through a Sony Vaio PCG-GRT896HP for review Online wondered who would need such a big laptop - until we turned it on and experienced the impressive combination of high-quality 16-inch screen (Sony Onyx-black), excellent graphics performance (high-quality NVIDIA graphics card), ready-installed Adobe graphics and video programs (Photoshop Elements 2 and Premiere 6 LE) and DVD burner.

The pound;1,379 price tag (pound;1,351.42 online) makes this a compelling rival to desktop alternatives that normally have the edge in power and price. The Vaio comes with a range of programs on Windows XP Pro - including Microsoft Works and Sony's own multimedia software.

The Vaio can connect to the internet by modem, Ethernet and switchable wireless. There are three USB 2.0 ports, a firewire connector, two PC card slots providing access for the whole range of memory cards and a slot for Sony's proprietary memory sticks. There are also audio-in and - out and video-out sockets and high-speed networking is a real advantage.

You wouldn't want it on your shoulder for too long (it weighs 3.9kg), but its mobility gives it distinct advantages over a desktop. Although battery life is relatively short (one and a half hours) there is space for an extra battery.

Once again RM is showing its education acumen in picking up tasty offerings from other manufacturers that could fill important niche roles in education.

Sony PCG-GRT896HP

Laptop computer with Pentium 4 (2.8MHz) processor with 512Mb RAM, 60Gb hard disk, 16-inch SXGA TFT screen, NVIDIA GeForce FX GO5600 graphics card with 3D performance, and removable DVD-RWCD-RW disk drive, Ethernet, modem, high-speed WiFi (802.11g and b), three USB ports, one firewire connector, two PC card slots, one Sony memory stick slot, audio-in and - out and video-out.

Weight: 3.9kg

Dimensions: 327mm (W) x 44.8 - 47.4 mm (H) x 300mm (D)

Price: pound;1,379, online price pound;1,351.42

RM

Tel: 08709 086969

www.rm.com

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