Sony's VAIO CA is one of the more colourful entries in the Japanese giant's laptop catalog recently. Actually, it's the most eye-catching device we've seen in months, although immediate reactions to the design are liable to vary between 'curious interest' and 'appalled double-take'.
Still, with Intel's Sandy Bridge technology on board, the VAIO CA is more than just a garish radioactive face. And with Sony's reputation for quality, we had high hopes for this laptop.
The Sandy Bridge Core i5 processor produces some typically stunning performance, with enough grunt to run all of your applications. This is backed up by the dedicated AMD graphics card, perfect for viewing and editing media and even some light gaming.
Build quality is as strong as ever. The VAIO CA's plastic chassis is as durable as it is colourful, while the backlit isolation-style keyboard is quiet and comfortable to use. A responsive beveled touchpad proves just as usable.
We also liked the VAIO CA's 14-inch Super-TFT display, which was suitably vibrant with strong contrast. An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts brightness levels, although the maximum brightness is still a little dim, and the glossy coating is reflective in light conditions.
The powerful components have a profound effect on battery life, with the VAIO CA dying after just three hours (or even quicker when watching DVDs). This isn't a terrible result, but definitely below average for a modern laptop.
A mere 250GB of storage space is also limiting, so you won't be able to carry a large amount of media with you, especially if you've got lots of applications installed.
And of course the VAIO CA's bright design won't appeal to all tastes, but bear in mind that white and black versions are also available.
There are better mid-range laptops available, but the Sony VAIO CA series is still an appealing prospect thanks to its strong performance and excellent build quality. Most attention is undoubtedly focused on the colourful design, and we're sure that many people will make their purchasing decision based on their immediate visual impressions.