Sony VAIO VGN-AW31XY/Q review

Sony's high-end laptop is aimed at professional photographers

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

Sony's laptop compromises nowhere, including price, sadly - but it makes for a serious pro-level machine

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification


  • SSD drives
  • Huge amount of RAM
  • Quality build
  • Excellent ports and connections


  • Massively expensive

Aimed at photography professionals, the VAIO VGN-AW31XY/Q is an exceptionally powerful laptop that offers great comfort and usability.

The 18.4-inch screen is the only panel in this group test not to feature a shiny Super- TFT coating. As a result, working in bright light is not an issue, as reflections are eliminated. The full HD 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution is exceptionally sharp and colour reproduction is excellent, thanks to the use of 3LED screen technology, which uses primary-coloured pixels for the best effect.

The large chassis is surprisingly light at 3.8kg. It also boasts excellent build quality thanks to its matt-black plastic, with both the screen hinge and large speaker grill built from aluminium. The palmrest is created from a soft rubber that Sony employs on its Alpha range of SLR cameras.

Sony's isolation-style keyboard is in evidence. Each key is cut through a hole in the chassis and it provides an excellent typing action.

Although not the fastest laptop at the high end, the Sony offers excellent performance for those looking to edit photos and video. A top-end Intel Core 2 Duo processor is in place, alongside an outstanding 8192MB of memory, so running very resource-intensive programs isn't an issue. There's also a powerful Nvidia graphics card included with 512MB of dedicated video memory, so editing HD footage is easy and the latest games also run smoothly.

Ample storage

To ensure maximum performance the laptop features a 500GB hard drive for storing all your data, and two faster 64GB SSDs (Solid State Drives) from which to run the operating system and all your software. This means that the processor can run the machine from the much faster SSDs and avoid having to access the slower rotational hard disks.

The integrated hybrid digital and analogue TV tuner is a nice touch. The bundled software is also excellent, with Adobe Photoshop Elements photo-editing software and Sony's VAIO entertainment tools included among others.

Sony vaio vgn aw31xy q ports

Connectivity is top of the range, with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet providing the fastest network connections currently available. There's also a host of card slots, including a CF card – a rarity on a laptop – which makes uploading photos from most digital SLR cameras quick and easy. VGA, HDMI, mini-FireWire and three USB ports round off the specification.

The Sony VAIO VGN-AW31XQ/Y is a fantastic multimedia machine and its great screen and performance are ideal for professional photo and video editing. Although expensive, its impressive level of quality is hard to ignore.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter:

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce 9600M GT
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilitySemi-shared
Maximum Battery Run Time1.66 Hour
Finger Print ReaderYes
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
Product FamilyVAIO AW
Processor ModelT9900
ColourPiano Black
Operating SystemWindows Vista Ultimate
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed3.06 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size46.7 cm (18.4")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)3.95 kg
Cache6 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelPM45 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedBD-R/RE
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
Height39.7 mm
Width437.5 mm
Depth288.9 mm
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesAW
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelAW31XY/Q
Product NameVAIO AW31XY/Q Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVGNAW31XY/Q.CEK
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

VAIO AW31XY/Q Notebook offers the ultimate in big screen multimedia entertainment with a revolutionary 18.4" real wide display. With its large size, 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution and true 16:9 aspect ratio, this new display offers the best possible digital media experience. Enjoy blockbuster movies with no or reduced black bars top and bottom. Pictures are perfectly true-to-life with up to 100% colour fidelity.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO AW31XY/Q Notebook
  • Lithium-Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed1066 MHz