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Sony VGN-FJ1SR review notebook performance benchmark
Posted:2006-06-09 By notebook review
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Sony VGN-FJ1SR review notebook performance benchmark

It may seem strange, but it is indeed a very rare occasion to find a notebook that it’s impossible to find fault with. And when you do get one, it is a real pleasure to describe it in a review. Users’ pleas for a perfect notebook have been heard to by at least one manufacturer. The Sony VGN-FJ1SR is an example of a thing perfectly made.

Sony VGN-FJ1SR overviewSony VGN-FJ1SR overview

The low-key classic design of this notebook with a mirror-like VIVO logotype is among the best in this class. The slim, light and robust case is equipped with a metal lid that keeps the screen safe against physical damage. The overall quality of manufacture is superb, but it’s expectable since Sony takes great care about quality assurance. And users appreciate this, even if they have to pay somewhat more than for competitors’ products. The VGN-FJ1SR costs about the same money as the other participating notebooks, but has a humbler configuration. It lacks a Bluetooth adapter and a discrete graphics core. The latter isn’t a serious drawback because an integrated graphics core is quite enough for a computer of this class whereas a Bluetooth adapter would have been appropriate, especially as it wouldn’t have made the notebook much more expensive.

There are not many connectors here, just an optimum selection for a business notebook. The front panel seems to be empty except for the card-reader:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR card reader

Sony VGN-FJ1SR card reader

But this is just at first sight. Besides Sony’s traditional MS/MS Pro card reader, there’s a row of system status indicators on the left, and a Wi-Fi switch.

Sony VGN-FJ1SRwifi

The indicators are designed in such a way that they are only visible when shining. If the notebook is turned off, they merge into the front panel.

Not a single connector on the notebook’s back:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR back side

And this is quite right. There’s a docking station if you use the notebook as a desktop computer while in “traveling” mode it is just inconvenient to use back-panel connectors. The rest is on the notebook’s sides. Modem and LAN ports, a FireWire connector, connector for an external monitor, one of the USB ports, and PCMCIA slot are on the left panel:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR pcmcia

On the right side of the notebook there are headphones and microphone connectors, TV output, two USB ports, DVD-burner, Kensington lock and a power adapter connector.

Sony VGN-FJ1SR keyboard

Sony’s exclusive TV output is implemented as an ordinary jack connector.

Sony VGN-FJ1SR tb output

The company doesn’t include an appropriate adapter, making you take your soldering iron in your hands – it’s going to be cheaper and faster than purchasing a ready-made adapter from Sony. The soldering scheme can be found on the Web, but frankly speaking, few people ever use the video output of such notebooks.

The keyboard is very ordinary:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR keyboard

But after you’ve tried it, you won’t easily turn back to keyboards of other notebooks included in this review: the pressure force and key activation thresholds are so precisely set up that you have a minimum of mistypes and faulty presses. The single disadvantage of this keyboard is its not separated block of arrow keys.

Sony VGN-FJ1SR keyboard

This is due to the overall design of the notebook. If you take a look at its case from a side, you can see that the keyboard lies in a small depression. This easily solves the problem of scratched displays: MSI recommends putting soft cloth in between whereas Sony just sunk the keyboard a little deeper into the case. Simple and effective.

The touchpad follows the classic design:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR touchpad

The surrounding curb prevents your finger from slipping off the sensitive area. The keys are easily recognizable by touch and go down softly. The touchpad lacks any additional functionality, yet it is so agreeable to use that you almost forget you’re using it.

There are two additional buttons here:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR buttons

They are marked as S1 and S2 and it’s up to you to assign them their functions. The photo doesn’t show it but the marking is made in a curious way – it’s visible only at a certain viewing angle. The keyboard status indicators are to the left.

Besides everything else, the notebook is equipped with an integrated web-camera and microphone which are going to be useful for video conferencing:


And surely the best thing about this notebook is its display manufactured by X-black technology. Its every parameter – color reproduction, brightness adjustment range, viewing angles, matrix response time – is superb. I have no doubt this is the best screen in this device category and one of the best notebook displays at all. Whence does this quality come? It’s just because Sony itself manufactures notebook displays and, unlike other manufacturers, equips its top-end models with appropriate matrixes. My general advice to you if you care about the display is to check out if there are any Sony models in the class you are interested in. Don’t expect high quality in an inexpensive model, but Sony’s notebooks priced at $1500 and higher are very unlikely to have a poor display – only good or very good matrixes.

You have to remove the whole bottom panel to access the components. Well, you may not actually need this, but the improper placement of the vent opening is a small problem.

If you feel that the notebook’s interface ports are not enough or if you work in your office and don’t want to attach the cables all the time, connect a docking station to the connector that is hidden under a movable shutter:

The battery’s parameters and size are typical enough:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR battery

Sony VGN-FJ1SR battery

Overall, this is one of the best notebooks in its class which just cannot leave you disappointed. You get an ideally balanced computer capable of running any office application. Add also that the world-famous VAIO logotype has long become a kind of status indicator, something which other brands can only hope to achieve. In a rating of brands, Sony stands right after IBM, but IBM notebooks are now manufactured by another, China-based company and are inferior to Sony’s in the quality of the display. So, if you need a notebook that would tell everyone of your high status, there’s not much choice.

Moreover, the VGN-FJ1SR notebook is priced rather modestly for a Sony product, so I personally have my favorite among the ten notebooks presented to you in this review and my opinion may only change after I’ve checked them in practical tests.


First I checked the notebooks in Business Winstone 2004 and Content Creation Winstone 2004 benchmarks

Sony VGN-FJ1SR  winstone benchmark

Sony VGN-FJ1SR winstone benchmark

Sony VGN-FJ1SR  winstone benchmark

And here are the results produced by PCMark04:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR pcmark performance

Sony VGN-FJ1SR pcmark performance

Sony VGN-FJ1SR pcmark performance

Sony VGN-FJ1SR pcmark performance

Sony VGN-FJ1SR  pcmark performance

Sony VGN-FJ1SR pcmark performance

The results of the Photoshop CS are indicative of the overall performance of the CPU, platform and hard drive:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR  adobe photoshop

Sony VGN-FJ1SR adobe photoshop

The well-balanced LW40 is almost as fast as the two notebooks on the new platform. Other notebooks are slower. The two slowest models shouldn’t be used to run such applications at all – they are only capable of performing office tasks like processing text and spreadsheets, browsing the Web, etc.

The next test shows what you can expect from these notebooks in gaming applications:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR  gaming benchmark

Sony VGN-FJ1SR 3dmark benchmark

Sony VGN-FJ1SR  3dmark benchmark

performed this test using the maximum display resolution of each notebook, except for the LG T1 (I used 1280x800 with it because 1440x900 would have been too much for its integrated graphics core). The Acer TravelMate 3222WXMi is the best and can cope with modern games if you don’t use the highest graphics quality settings. Among other notebooks, only models with the X600 are interesting. The Samsung X11 is second after the TravelMate 3222WXMi but I doubt it’s going to be that fast in real games.

I also published the results of the CPU subtest to show you that 3DMark03 favors the Centrino Core Duo platform. This is indicated by the Samsung X11’s results. This platform is the most promising one when it comes to games, considering that all the leading game developers have confirmed support for dual-core processors in their upcoming products.

And now, the results of the most important test:

Sony VGN-FJ1SR  battery life

I put the results the notebooks achieved in Reader’s mode and under maximum load into one diagram because the difference between the two is indicative of how well the manufacturer set up the power-saving parameters. The Sony VGN-FJ1SR looks best here as it yields you its full computing power under max load but is very economical in Reader’s mode. Besides the Sony, there are two more leaders: LG’s T1 with a high-capacity battery and an L series Core Duo processor which features low power consumption, and ASUS W3H00V. The latter proved to be a bit of a cheater, though. Even under max load with the portable/laptop power management scheme selected this notebook never increased its CPU frequency higher than 1.3GHz.

It’s all clear with the first two diagrams, but then there are some things I’d want to single out. The LW40 is very fast in the memory test; it’s the best Centrino-based notebook I’ve seen in this benchmark. The Acer TravelMate 3222WXMi is unrivalled in the graphics subsystem test just because it has the fastest graphics adapter among the tested notebooks.

Nvidia’s GeForce Go 7400 is downright disappointing. If you need fast graphics, buy a notebook that has dedicated graphics memory. Graphics subsystems of other kind (with such suffixes as TC, HM) are not much better than integrated graphics and cannot ensure high performance in 3D. In the disk subsystem test the notebooks rank up according to the spindle rotation speed of the hard drive they use.

Other related notebook:

Acer TravelMate 3222WXMi notebook review
Acer TravelMate 2423NWXMi notebook review
ASUS W3H00V notebook review
LG LW40 notebook review
LG T1 notebook review
MSI MegaBook S425 notebook review
Samsung X1 notebook review
Samsung X11 notebook review
Sony VGN-FJ1SR notebook review
Toshiba Tecra A6-S513 notebook review

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Sony VGN-FJ1SR review notebook performance benchmark

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