Ports And Connectors: Very Few Wishes Left Unfulfilled
In terms of its integrated ports and connectors, this device leaves little to complain about. You might perhaps yearn for an integrated CompactFlash card reader, or an Express Card slot. But as the old saying goes, "there's always room for improvement," even in a laptop this well equipped. At least Sony saw fit to include a long overdue SD card slot in this new generation of laptops.
Sony put network and Firewire ports on the back of the laptop, as well as the jack for the power brick. (Click on the image to see a larger version).
The Firewire connector is based on a Class A 1394 controller, which supports a maximum data transfer rate of 400 Mbps (50 MBps). This is more than fast enough, because this laptop is equipped with a 1.8" hard disk, which is incapable of reading or writing data any faster than that anyway.
The DVD drive and a VGA connector both reside on the right side of the case (click on the image to see a larger version).
The front side of the VAIO VGN-TX1XP is where you'll find the volume control and audio ports, plus a card reader and an on/off switch for wireless networking.
The integrated card reader can handle the SD, Sony Memory Stick and Sony Memory Stick Pro formats.
Practical: To the left of the card reader you'll find a small LED that reports on the status of cards in that read/write device.
The small on/off switch for wireless components on the case's front is a slider type and relatively stiff.
The wireless networking modules in the laptop support wireless LAN and/or Bluetooth networks. A stiff slider switch on the front of the case is used to activate or deactivate wireless communications, for all-or-nothing wireless access. Thus, activating 802.11 WLAN also means activating Bluetooth, and vice-versa. (Separate on-off switches simply wouldn't be practical given the small amount of real estate available for such controls on the case.) That said, you can always disable one or the other independently inside the Device Manager in Windows. Sony also wisely chose to forego inclusion of the now somewhat antiquated infrared device interface in this product family.
On the networking side, in the United States, select TX models come with a built in EDGE Wireless WAN radio. For more on this see MobilityGuru's review of the Sony VGN-T350P.
The Bluetooth driver that Sony bundles with the TX1XP supports a more substantial profile than does the standard driver included with Windows XP