Sony Vaio VGN-NS30E/W review

  • £529

Can Sony's budget laptop retain the gloss of its high-end offerings?

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Our Verdict

A stylish, comfortable and good-quality laptop, but performance is lacking

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great build quality
  • Excellent battery life

Against

  • Disappointing performance
  • Missing useful multimedia features

Sony is well known for its ultraportables and high-end VAIO laptops, but the brand also features a range of cheaper machines. The VAIO NS30E/W falls into this category and is ideally suited to those looking for a budget laptop.

With a crisp, white finish and a textured design, it's one of the smartest and most distinctive laptops in this price range. With a 15.4-inch screen, it's also a highly portable choice, letting you use it in the home, office or on the road.

The screen is bright and offers accurate and bright colour reproduction. The 1280 x 800-pixel resolution is average, with crisp images and the ability to fit several windows onscreen at once, although the glossy Super-TFT coating is more reflective than many of its rivals.

Integrated graphics

The provision of an integrated Intel graphics card makes this a machine for simple home or office use only, and you should look elsewhere if 3D capabilities are required. That said, it coped fine with movie playback, web browsing and regular office tasks, and the lower power consumption allowed it to run for an impressive 366 minutes during our benchmark tests.

The keyboard offers an excellent level of comfort, with large keys that feature contoured edges to make it easier to touch type. It does rattle under pressure, however, lacking the quality that some business laptop offer. The rest of the chassis offers faultless build quality – the textured plastics proving robust, with sturdy hinges to hold the screen in place.

Sony vaio vgn ns30e w keyboard

Costs have been cut on this machine when it comes to processing power; it uses a budget Intel Pentium processor. Even with 3072MB of memory, we found this system slow in daily use, with plenty of lag when multi-tasking. Keep to single tasks, and performance is reasonable, but for reliable business use we'd recommend something like the Lenovo SL500 business machine.

Features are more impressive, with the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet network adapters in place. Storage space, at 250GB, isn't particularly impressive, but there's still plenty of room for all your files.

Four USB ports and an ExpressCard slot make it easy to connect peripherals, although those wanting to connect a display can do so via the analogue VGA port only.

Although the Sony VAIO VGN-NS30E/W has the potential to be an excellent laptop, budget components hinder everyday performance and usability. It remains a comfortable and stylish option, but look elsewhere if gaming or multitasking is a requirement.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA 4500MHD
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Maximum Battery Run Time4 Hour
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
FireWire/i.LINKYes
WebcamYes
Product FamilyVAIO NS
Processor ModelT4200
ColourWhite
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Premium
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypePentium Dual-core
Screen Size39.1 cm (15.4")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory3 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.90 kg
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelGM45 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1.28 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyX-black
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR2-800/PC2-6400
Height38 mm
Width360 mm
Depth270 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesNS
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelNS30E/W
Product NameVAIO NS30E/W Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberVGNNS30E/W.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Although a basic Notebook, the VAIO NS30E/W Notebook is full of style and features a slim profile for good looks and portability. With smooth rounded corners and edges, the VAIO NS30E/W Notebook sports a relaxed and natural form that looks good by your side.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO NS30E/W Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed800 MHz