Sony produces a huge variety of laptops under its VAIO brand, from large desktop replacements to sleek ultraportables. The VAIO CA Series is a colourful new entertainment machine that is well suited to staying social online.

The most striking part of this laptop's design is undoubtedly the bright green colour, which helps it to stand out from the crowd. You'll either love or hate it and we're guessing only attention seekers will enjoy using it on public transport, but it also comes in more conservative white and black finishes.

Build quality is strong and the plastic chassis feels suitably tough in all areas. The 2.3kg weight makes it a light laptop for lugging about, but the three-hour battery life the bare minimum we expect from a modern laptop. If you need a laptop to stay in touch on the go, the Packard Bell EasyNote TS13 is a better all-round option.

The excellent build quality extends to the keyboard, which is only a tiny bit spongy in its centre. The well-sized isolation-style board is comfortable and quiet to type on, while the bevelled touchpad is also responsive and spacious.

VAIO vpc-ca1s1e/g

Like most other laptops nowadays, the Sony has 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet for the fastest possible wireless and wired networking. A handy 'Web' button above the keyboard is a shortcut to your browser, so you can be surfing your favourite social websites in seconds.

We were pleased to see an integrated high-definition (HD) webcam which is reasonably sharp with good focus and minimal motion blur. This is great for web chats, although the Dell XPS 17's camera is sharper.

As with the other laptops, you can record video for uploading to sites such as YouTube, but the 250GB of storage gives you limited space for movies.

Impressive screen

The vibrant 14-inch screen fills most of the lid and offers impressive contrast levels. A 1366 x 768-pixel resolution proves sharp enough to comfortably view even complex websites, and is great for viewing photos and videos too.

As with the Dell XPS 17 and Packard Bell EasyNote TS13, Intel's latest Sandy Bridge technology is on board, in the form of the Intel Core i7 2410M. Backed up by 4GB of memory, you'll have plenty of power for running all of your applications.

A dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics card means you can happily watch high-definition movies, edit your photos and any videos you shoot, and even indulge in some light gaming. However, anyone serious about media editing or games would be better served by the Dell XPS 17.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 184 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 281
3DMark 2003: 12,373

Overall, the Sony VAIO VPC-CA1S1E/G is a colourful laptop that packs a surprising amount of power. With a longer battery life, this would have been a great way of staying in touch with friends and family on the move.

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