Sony Vaio VGX-TP2S/B
Media centre PCs can be great, but the Sony's picture and sound performance let it downWrite your own review
- Stylish looks and Blu-ray spec
- decent, natural colours
- as user-friendly as PCs get
- clean, stable DVD performance
- Single Freeview tuner
- pictures are softer than the best
- not much insight to blacks
- limp sound
Designers of media centre PCs are keen to differentiate them from your average desktop model. Which is why this Sony looks a little like a squashed pedal-bin, albeit a stylish one.
Turn the unit on and a halo of white light surrounds the top rim (very pretty) and Windows Media Center loads up directly. From here you can watch and record Freeview TV, listen to music, or watch a DVD or Blu-ray disc.
In action the TP2 is decent, but not Earth-shatteringly good. The Freeview performance is a little disappointing, with a softness to images and more noise, particularly in motion, than we'd like. There is also just the one digital tuner, so you can't watch and record simultaneously.
Clean and stable DVD images
Pop on a DVD such as There Will Be Blood and the Sony fares better. Images are clean and stable, while colours are vibrant but natural. Edges still aren't as sharp as they should be, though, and detail levels aren't very high.
Blu-ray is where it's at, though, and there's a jump in quality when you move to HD. However, next to a decent standalone Blu-ray player, or a more capable media centre, the Sony is still a bit soft.
Sound is also rather limp, and the lack of support for HD audio disappoints (though this may be fixed with future firmware).
Of course there are myriad other things that you can do with this media centre, such as internet browsing, word processing and gaming; but the core component for us is the media playback, and it's here this PC is found wanting.