Sony's VAIO FW range has been around for a little while now, offering stylish and feature-packed media machines. The VAIO FW41E/H is the latest and comes with one of the most powerful specifications you'll get at this price.
It's apparent from the moment you open it that it's a laptop centred around multimedia use, with its large 16.4-inch glossy widescreen and a set of hotkeys that make it easier than ever to control your movies and music.
The screen is one of the best here, with the sharpest image quality and excellent colour reproduction, matched only by the Acer. It is a glossy panel, proving reflective when used in bright conditions. As with the other laptops, it's not quite sharp enough to take full advantage of the integrated Blu-ray drive – and you'll need to connect an external display if you want to play back films in Full HD.
This machine really shines when it comes to gaming, with a high-end ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 graphics card that handles intensive 3D tasks with ease. We had no trouble playing the latest games and it's easily powerful enough to last you several years.
The keyboard is large and comfortable. With a short keystroke, it's not quite as pleasant to type on as the Samsung, but the keys are firmly attached and the isolated-key design makes it easy to type at speed.
The chassis features the most distinct design in this group, with curved edges, a cylindrical hinge and bright green LED lighting around the power button. Build quality is excellent, with magnesium used in the construction to offer extra strength and an aluminium coating to the lid that offers plenty of protection for the screen.
Office performance wasn't quite as impressive as we would've hoped, taking a little longer than anticipated to start and shut down. That said, the 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 4096MB of memory still offer plenty of power for multi-tasking. Additionally, the 500GB hard drive offers an ample amount of storage space that should take a long time to fill, if ever.
Three USB ports offer reasonable connectivity, with Bluetooth also provided for wireless connections. Sony's memory card format is supported, with a regular SD memory card reader also in place. 802.11n Wi-Fi allows wireless networking.
As an all-round package, the VAIO FW41E/H is just about unbeatable at this price. With style, quality and a great screen, along with a generous feature set and powerful 3D performance, it's the ideal companion for your multimedia and work use.
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