10-point touchscreen; gesture recognition; PiP and P&P modes.
Expensive; lesser CPU, GPU, and hard drive than the cheaper Asus.
Sony introduces a number of cool innovations with its latest generation of VAIO L-Series all-in-ones, but the company exacts a hefty premium from those who want the best the company has to offer. This model SVL24116FXB costs $200 more than the Asus ET2701 , but is outfitted with a slower CPU, a smaller display, a lesser videocard, and a smaller hard drive.
Sony declined to say if its 24-inch touchscreen panel is based on TN or IPS technology, but we can tell you it isn’t nearly as bright and vibrant as either the Asus or the Dell.
Sony’s most important innovation is its capacitive touchscreen that recognizes not just two, but 10 touch points. As such, this will be one of the few current-generation computers that will meet the Windows 8 requirement for touchscreens to recognize a minimum of five touch points. What’s more, the computer can use its built-in webcam to respond to physical gestures even without the touchscreen.
While listening to music, for instance, you can adjust the volume by pointing your index finger at the computer’s camera and drawing a circle in the air: A clockwise spin turns the volume up, and a counterclockwise movement turns it down. If you’re watching a slideshow, waving your hand from left to right advances to the next photo, while moving it from right to left moves back to the previous slide. It’s a bit of a gimmick now, but we predict it’s a feature we’ll come to expect over time.
Other unique features we’d like to see every all-in-one manufacturercopy include a picture-in-picture mode that lets you use the full Windows 7 desktop while video from the HDMI input streams to a small window in a corner. This allows you to watch TV and use the web at the same time. There’s also a picture-and-picture mode that splits the screen vertically and places a window for the HDMI input alongside a Windows 7 window. These features would be even better if you swap either to full-screen mode without losing sound from the HDMI input (so you could focus on the web during commercial breaks and switch back to the windowed view when they’re finished).
Sony is one of the few all-in-one manufacturers still providing a TV tuner by default. The Vaio L-Series also provides both an HDMI input and an output.
Unlike the Asus, the Sony has an integrated TV tuner, and you don’t need to fire up the PC to use it, to use the display with an HDMI source, or even to use a web browser. There’s a Core i7 CPU under the hood, but it’s a Core i7-3610QM that doesn’t include Intel’s more advanced virtualization technologies (vPro and VT-d) or Intel’s demand-based switching technology. The Vaio’s Nvidia GeForce GT 620M videocard is also a step behind what Asus, Dell, and HP have to offer.
Sony’s Vaio L-Series model SVL24116FXB brings some impressive innovations to the all-in-one market, but we don’t think they’re worth a $200 premium over the much more powerful Asus ET2701 with its larger, better-looking display.