Sony VAIO VGN-FW51ZF/H review

  • £1399

Powerful and has a great screen, making for an impressive, if expensive, laptop

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Our Verdict

A Full HD laptop that handles games and HD video with ease but we can't help feel it is a tad expensive

Product features

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

View full specification

For

  • Good screen
  • Decent graphics
  • Blu-ray drive

Against

  • Connectivity
  • A bit pricey

The Sony VAIO VGN-FW51ZF/H is a mid-sized media centre, offering a blend of power and portability.

Sitting at the top of the FW range, it provides a specification and performance to put most other laptops in the shade.

The screen is on an equal footing with the Acer Aspire 8935G-744G50Bn, and offers exceptionally bright and vivid colours.

The high-definition resolution helps films look crystal clear and lifelike and there's more than enough space to work with multiple windows, making it ideal for multi-tasking.

A powerful, dedicated ATi graphics card is in place. It's not as fast as the chip in the Acer, but offers enough performance to run media-intensive tasks with ease. You can also play the latest games, adding to the overall media centre functionality.

The keyboard features Sony's now standard isolated style, with each key protruding through a separate hole in the chassis. This makes it easier to type at speed, as there's more space between each key.

Build sony

With a responsive and accurate typing action, it's a joy to type on. The touchpad is also large and accurate. As with the Acer, a set of dedicated keys let you control your media files and pause, skip and adjust volume settings for your CDs and DVDs at the touch of a button.

Build quality is good, with strong metals and plastics used. The distinctive design – with a circular hinge and swooping curves – won't suit all tastes, but helps the Sony to stand out from the crowd.

Weighing 3kg, it's quite a heavy laptop, but you will still be able to carry it with you on short journeys.

Battery life is capable, lasting for 223 minutes between charges.

Exceptional performance

Office performance is exceptional, thanks to a high-end 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and an unrivalled 8192MB of memory.

Sony has installed the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, letting you take full advantage of the memory (32-bit versions of the OS can only access 3072MB of RAM) and it runs multiple tasks smoothly and with no lag.

Features include a recordable Blu-ray drive, letting you watch the latest high definition movies and record data to Bluray discs. The 500GB hard drive also offers lots of storage space.

USB ports are more limited than its rivals, and are positioned close to each other on the right-hand side of the chassis, so bulkier peripherals can obstruct the other ports.

Wireless connectivity is impressive, however, with both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in place. The Sony VAIO VGN-FW51 is a very convincing machine.

While we found that it's not as good an all-rounder as the Acer Aspire 8935G, if you need to carry out multiple tasks or edit HD videos, then it's the best choice here.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelMobility Radeon HD 4650
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Reader/DVD-Writer
Maximum Battery Run Time3.33 Hour
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
FireWire/i.LINKYes
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Product FamilyVAIO FW
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelT9600
ColourSilver
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed2.80 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size41.7 cm (16.4")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)3.20 kg
Cache6 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
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 1 GB
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
Height37 mm
Width384 mm
Depth261 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesFW
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelFW51ZF/H
Product NameVAIO FW51ZF/H Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVGNFW51ZF/H.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

The VAIO FW51ZF/H Notebook radically enhances your multimedia entertainment with a revolutionary 16.4" display. This large screen features Full HD resolution for the best possible digital media experience. Enjoy movies, games, photo slideshows and the Internet like never before with intense realism and detail. The larger display is also ideal for the office. Open two full size Explorer windows side-by-side and multi-task with ease.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO FW51ZF/H Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
Bus Speed1066 MHz