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Sony Vaio VGN-NW11Z/S review

Is there an Apple in Sony's eye?

Our Verdict

Aesthetes will love the VAIO's design, but gamers are better off with lower-profile brands

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • A handsome laptop
  • Lovely screen

Against

  • Too expensive
  • Mediocre battery

Sony, what happened? One minute you're bringing out MiniDiscs, BetaMax video tapes, UMDs and Blu-Rays.

The next you're making boring laptops and TVs. In spite of all those years of innovation, you, the Japanese technological giant, seem to be resting on your laurels.

Take the awkwardly-named VGN-NW11Z/S, for instance. It's a VAIO laptop, so looks the part, but where's the innovation? It seems Apple has stolen Sony's thunder, with its iPods usurping Sony's Walkman, and its MacBooks replacing the VAIOs.

In turn, Sony has stolen Apple's swanky aesthetics. This VAIO is lovely-looking, but the well-spaced keyboard and curvaceous edging can't help but recall to us Apple's latest MacBooks. Inside, though, it's still a Vista installation with a metric ton of bloatware pre-installed.

The screen is lovely: a whopping 16:9 ratio-ed 15.6" affair with bright colours and deep contrast. Sony has provided some reasonably beefy hardware too, with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of memory.

The built-in Blu-Ray drive renders videos in proper 720p hi-definition, but still reeks of Sony attempting to milk its ailing storage format. In spite of not being marketed as a gaming laptop, if you're happy to play on medium settings the VAIO will still fit the bill.

We got decent, playable framerates out of World in Conflict and Far Cry 2, just don't expect to be playing Crysis on the highest settings. Battery life though is mediocre; we managed to get two and a half hours out of it, which is acceptable, but still nowhere near the big leagues of Acer's Timeline series. It is enough to watch most films, which seems to be the VAIO's raison d'etre.

The VGN-NW11Z/S is incredibly overpriced for what it is, and bearing in mind the slightly-more-expensive Zepto from six months ago is still going strong, it doesn't feel like value.

There are better laptops out there, such as MSI's GT725, which is £300 more but infinitely more powerful when it comes to gaming. The Sony brand then can still drive consumer interest, but we'd prefer to look elsewhere.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelMobility Radeon HD 4570
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Reader/DVD-Writer
Maximum Battery Run Time3.16 Hour
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
FireWire/i.LINKYes
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Product FamilyVAIO NW
Processor ModelT6500
ColourSilver
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Home Premium with SP1
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed2.10 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size39.4 cm (15.5")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.70 kg
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelPM45 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedBD-ROM/DVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 512 MB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyX-black
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR2-800/PC2-6400
Height29.1 mm
Width370 mm
Depth249 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesNW
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelVGNNW11Z/S
Product NameVAIO VGNNW11Z/S Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVGNNW11Z/S.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

With a slim rounded profile and one of the most compact chassis in its class, VAIO NW11Z/S Notebook are easy to hold and carry around. Soft curves and textured surfaces feel natural in the hand and smooth to the touch.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO VGNNW11Z/S Notebook
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Cord
Bus Speed800 MHz