It's often claimed that Sony products are over-priced - more about style than substance. That's certainly not a conclusion you could form about the VAIO VGN-T2XP/S. One reason is that it's not that stylish, at least to our eyes, but there's plenty to like about the notebook itself. The keyboard is responsive and well laid out, for instance. It may feel initially uncomfortable if you're used to a desktop layout, but the design is as good as you'd expect from this size of notebook.

The 10.6-inch screen is impressive, too. Set to 1,280x768 pixels, it's clear and bright enough to be viewed comfortably in most conditions, and works well for watching DVDs. Built-in buttons under the screen simplify the process of DVD navigation, and you can also use the system to play CDs or import and view pictures from memory cards.

The specifications for the VAIO VGN-T2XP/S generally don't look particularly special. There's the usual 1.2GHz Pentium-M processor, a 60GB hard drive, a 2.4x DVD writer and only 512MB of RAM. Furthermore, it's pretty heavy, weighing in at 1.38kg.

Benchmarking the VAIO demonstrates that Sony knows what it's doing, though. This was the only system to both manage a lengthy battery life at 311 minutes and produce a reasonable MobileMark score of 154. The huge pile of bundled software is appealing, too, with Works 8.0 and a range of Adobe applications - Premiere Standard, Photoshop Elements and more.

There are some problem areas, of course. The network card uses conventional Fast Ethernet instead of Gigabit; you get a V.90 instead of a V.92 modem; and the warranty is pretty stingy at one year. You could extend it, obviously, but then the otherwise reasonable price won't be looking so great. The T2XP is still an impressive notebook, but whether it's the best of its price range is another matter.