Sony's VAIO VGN-BX61VN (£650 inc. VAT) is one of the more affordable machines in the VAIO range and is aimed at the corporate user.

Where lots of business laptops are smaller than average, the BX Series is a full-sized 15.4-inch machine weighing in at 2.9kg.

Large bright display

The screen is one of the brighter panels we've seen. It features a glossy Super-TFT coating, which is at its best when used indoors, providing deep and accurate colours.

It's not so good when used on the move, and we found reflections a problem when out in direct sunlight. The size makes it ideal for those wanting to work with spreadsheets, and there's enough space to run several applications simultaneously.

Graphics are handled by an integrated Intel GMA X3100 chip. This results in limited 3D performance, but helps to provide a battery life of over three hours when running multiple applications – longer when simply running standard word processing tasks.

Robust chassis

The BX is a tough laptop, which suits its role as a corporate workhorse.

The thick plastics are robust and hardwearing, and although it's not the most stylish of laptops, it's one you'll be able to use daily without fear of damage.

The keyboard is large and comfortable, with responsive keys and a board that remained flex-free when typing. The directional buttons are offset, making it easy to use them without hitting the surrounding keys.

You'll be able to navigate Windows Vista Business using a responsive pointing stick in the centre of the keyboard, along with a dedicated set of mouse buttons.

There's also a traditional touchpad below, although the accompanying buttons are slightly cramped.

Plentiful storage

The BX features a previous-generation Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor.

Running at 2.2GHz, and backed by 2048MB of memory, it offers more than enough performance for everyday use, running smoothly at all times.

The 250GB hard drive provides plenty of storage space for regular files and applications.

Speedy downloads

Unlike many of its corporate rivals, wireless connectivity is limited to an older 802.11g Wi-Fi adapter. Gigabit Ethernet lets you enjoy fast downloads over wired connections.

Features include Bluetooth and a tri-format DVD rewriter, but the Sony lacks choice for those wanting to hook up an external display.

There's a VGA-out port for older screens, but no support for high-definition (HD) or digital displays.

Underwhelming laptop

The VAIO VGN-BX61VN is a good laptop, with comfort and power on its side.

It lacks a killer punch, however, failing to stand out among its rivals, and the features are poor compared to other laptops.