Each can call itself best of breed. Granted, there aren't many all-in-one PCs to choose from these days, but Apple's iMac and Sony's new VAIO LS1 are two of the best-designed all-in-one PCs we've ever seen. And both provide excellent mainstream performance and a variety of multimedia-friendly features.
Despite improvements Sony brought to its all-in-one from its bulky precursor, the Apple iMac still features an unparalleled design. We prefer its simple design and clean lines, though Sony must be commended for the sleekness of its VAIO LS1. The iMac is available in two sizes; the larger 20-inch version gives you an inch more screen real estate than the 19-inch VAIO LS1. Both offer a less-than-desirable amount of height adjustment, however.
Features is a back-and-forth battle. Each serves up an Intel Core Duo processor, ample memory, and a roomy hard drive. The iMac enjoys a slight edge in graphics, but the VAIO LS1 will deliver better performance on many apps, such as Photoshop, that have yet to be updated for the Mactel platform. Each includes a remote control with either Front Row or Media Center software for that 10-foot, controlling-media-from-the-couch interface, but Sony includes a TV tuner for inputting a television signal. Apple's iLife suite gives the iMac the edge in software. Lastly, Sony provides a slightly better warranty: it includes free phone support for the duration of the one-year warranty instead of for a mere 90 days.
Neither Apple nor Sony can be considered a price leader, but the Apple iMac is priced much more aggressively than the Sony VAIO LS; the 20-inch iMac costs $400 less than the 19-inch Sony VAIO LS1. Each ends up pulling down a 7.6 rating, with Apple's lead in design and features offset by Sony's edge in performance and support.
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