iOS app Android app More

Zandile Blay

Zandile Blay

Posted April 29, 2009 | 03:52 PM (EST)

Fashion Road Test: Chic Laptops


Gigabytes, software and memory: relevant terms all, yet when it comes to computers the only ones I care about are shiny, tiny and cute. It must be for technologically challenged fashionistas like me that the computer industry has churned out a crop of laptops which are as easy to use as they are easy on the eyes. Efficient, powerful and fast, these beauties, are as good as a standard PC and often at a much lower cost. Their chief selling point however? Being small enough to fit in a purse.

Perhaps petite is the last quality one should look for in a PC, but more often than not logging on while on the go is a top priority, and sometimes a Blackberry just won't do. That's exactly why I endeavored to undertake this week's fashion road test: trying out three of the most fashionable -- and portable -notebooks on the market: Acer Aspire One, Sony Vaio P Series, and the Vivienne Tam HP Mini.

From fashion shows to interviewing designers to market appointments, I used each computer during a standard work day to experience how versatile and durable they would be in an average work day.

First up was the Acer Aspire One, which debuted last summer and remains popular for it's light weight, mini 10.1 or 8.9 inch monitor and uber-friendly price point: a starting cost of $379. I found it sturdy, dependable and super easy to use. But alas, function alone doesn't suffice, for this fashion writer, a certain measure of style was needed -- and though the Apsire One is available in several colors, I needed a little bit more.

I found that in Sony Vaio's new P Series, a computer so light and lean that it literally fits in your back pocket. The P Series debuted to much fan fair last fashion week during a super swank party at the Sony Style lounge in New York City. Several fashion designers, including threeASFOUR and Cushnie et Ochs created special window displays which combined their couture creations with the luxe laptop. Ultimately, that's the hook of the Vaio P series: a computer that seamlessly marries fashion with technology. Unfortunately, this union isn't always blissful. To have a unit that small, that sleek and that pretty meant sacrificing a touch pad, a disk drive and other elements which I still found essential to my work day.

Fortunately, the best -- Vivienne Tam's HP Mini -- came last. Unlike the first two laptops the HP doesn't just aspire to be a fashionista's notebook, it literally is. Legendary fashion designer Vivienne Tam partnered with HP to design a notebook for the fashion set. The PC, which debuted in December 2008, comes in only one color: a brilliant cherry red overlayed with delicate pink peonies. True to it's fashion roots, the computer comes in a red silk duster -- much like European luxury houses who provide customers with a silk monogrammed bag to preserve the color and quality of expensive leather bags. But the Vivienne Tam Mini is not about superfluous finery, it's about supreme function. Weather writing from the front row at the premier Fashion Rocks fashion show in Miami or transcribing an interview at a coffee shop in New York, this computer worked flawlessly time and again. At a starting price of $699 it's not as cheap as the Acer Aspire One and with a 10.2 inch monitor it's not as small as the Sony Vaio's P series yet ultimately, it offers something both don't: fashion and function at a friendly price point.

Finally I found everything a fashionista needs in a laptop: size, style and substance.