If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Sony thinks Apple’s iMac is a great PC.
One by one, PC manufacturers are pushing all-in-one models to the PC customer base. The latest is Sony’s VAIO JS1, an attractive and powerful PC that looks remarkably like an Apple iMac.
Even the PC market has changed through the years with notebook computers making up about half of all PCs sold. For Apple, the percentage of notebooks vs. other Macs is even higher.
Yet, the most popular desktop Mac remains the powerful and affordable all-in-one iMac, a 4th generation relative of the original all-in-one 128k Mac, circa 1984.
That original Mac concept was reborn in the iMac of 1998. 10 years later, and a few design changes in between, the new iMac remains a popular and attractive computer that can run Mac OS X, Windows, even Linux.
Few other PC manufacturers have had success with all-in-one models. eMachine built an iMac-like clone which sold for less than half the price of an iMac.
A lawsuit ended the obvious theft of Apple’s “look and feel design” epitomized by the original iMac.
In recent years both HP and Gateway introduced all-in-one models to compete with the iMac. Neither met with much success, so why is design favorite Sony dipping a toe in the water?
Sony’s new VAIO JS1 is loaded and ready for bear. The design is strikingly similar to the iMac, complete with an aluminum-looking keyboard, a black framed display, and a backside hinge.
The iMac and Sony differ in the design of the stand. Sony features a wide and beveled front base which sits well below the screen, while the iMac sits on a single bent leg of aluminum.
The VAIO JS1 features an Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 processor and 3 gigabytes of RAM, a 500 gigabyte hard drive, built-in WiFi, and a 20.1 inch black display with 1680×1050 screen resolution.
Sony thinks of itself as the PC multimedia king and provides the VAIO with Dolby virtual surround sound and Sony’s proprietary Sound Reality chip to record, play, and edit SACD audio. SonicStage Mastering Studio software is pre-installed.
Sony is the main promoter of Blu-ray DVD technology and includes Blu-ray as an option. The Vaio also includes a 1.3 megapixel integrated camera, similar to the iMac’s iSight camera.
The price tag starts at $999 and with additional options tops out at $1,499. Compare to the iMac which begins at $1,199 for a measly 1 gigabyte of RAM and a 250 gigabyte hard drive with a similar sized screen.
The iMac, of course, includes Apple’s popular iLife ‘08. The Sony VAIO JS1 includes VAIO Movie Story and VAIO Music Box, in addition to Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 6, and Premiere Elements 4 for video and audio editing.
Sony equips the VAIO with Microsoft’s Windows Vista Home Premium. Also included is an optical disk drive which reads and writes various formats of DVDs.
For graphics, Sony utilizes the onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD vs. Apple’s base iMac which features the ATI Radeon HD 2400XT GPU with 128 megabytes of GDDR3 RAM.
I have an aging Sony VAIO running Windows XP. It only gets booted up on Sunday afternoons to run the virus and spyware software. Sony’s designs are arguably more attractive than most PCs, though somewhat plastic.
Is the Sony competition for the base model iMac? The $200 price difference may not be enough to attract discriminating computer users to Sony’s polished plastic look. Little attention is given by Sony to the VAIO’s operating system, Windows, while OS X Leopard is a clear differentiator.
Competition? Nope. Not gonna happen. SlashGear has a set of stock photos and the original Sony press release.