Sony VAIO W Series review

Sony finally enters the netbook race

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Our Verdict

What you'd expect from a Sony netbook, one for the name-tag fan-boys only

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768

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  • Nice screen
  • Beautifully designed


  • Stingy battery life
  • Needlessly expensive

The first proper effort at a netbook from Sony, the new VAIO W series, comes a long, long while after everyone else has already delivered their versions, comes in a bit pricier (as expected I suppose) but better designed (again, as expected).

You know exactly what to expect from a netbook these days. Nine times out of ten it will be powered by a 1.6GHz CPU, with a gig of RAM and more often than not come in a 10.1-inch chassis. They all share the same Intel GMA graphics, and you'd expect to get a decent amount of play-time on the move.

What you get with the VAIO W series for your extra cash over something like the Wind, Eee or Samsung netbooks though is a Memory Stick Pro Duo port and an ever so slightly higher resolution screen. Which is all well and good for general web-browsing and productivity, but the actual desktop ends up just looking that little bit too small for comfortable viewing.

For all that though it is a gorgeous screen. But the design side of things is far better. This VAIO looks like the sexiest netbook I've seen in a long time. The curved edges and recessed ports give it a really nice feel as does the textured nature of the open side of the laptop.

The keyboard though doesn't hold up its end of the bargain. It's uncomfortable to type on for any period of time, with tiny, unresponsive keys and too many function buttons with the smallest left-hand shift key we've seen on a netbook.

The real killer of the VAIO netbook though is the battery life. I can forgive practically everything else on a machine so long as it will keep running for a decent length of time when not being taxed too hard. Anything around six hours and I'm happy. The three hour battery life of the VAIO leaves me stone cold.

So it's beautifully designed, with a great screen, but over-priced and under-specced for the cash. So, in short it's exactly what you would expect from a Sony laptop. It also comes in white and pink if you feel you have to have a Sony if you're going to have a netbook.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNetbook
Hard Drive Capacity160 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA 950
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Maximum Battery Run Time2.66 Hour
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
Product FamilyVAIO W
Processor ModelN280
Operating SystemWindows XP Home, Windows XP Home with SP3
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed1.66 GHz
Processor TypeAtom
Screen Size25.7 cm (10.1")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.19 kg
Cache512 KB
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset Model945GSE Express
Number of Total Memory Slots1
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyX-black
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports2
Height32.4 mm
Width267.8 mm
Depth179.6 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesW
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelW11S1E/W
Product NameVAIO W11S1E/W Netbook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVPCW11S1E/W.CEK
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

It's light, it's stylish, it's the all-new VAIO W11S1E/W Netbook. A welcome addition to the VAIO family, this little go getter delivers the essential experience email, instant messaging, Facebook, YouTube in a size so small you can take it anywhere.

Maximum Memory1 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO W11S1E/W Netbook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
Bus Speed667 MHz