Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B review

A stylish high-end media system, offering power, comfort and high quality

The Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B is one of the best featured laptops out but with the price tag to match

TechRadar Verdict

A great multi-function laptop that will serve more than useful with its host of features


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    Bluray writer

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    The VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B (£1559 inc. VAT) is the mid-range model, offering enough features to keep most users entertained for years.

    The 18.4-inch screen is one of the best we've seen on any laptop, offering vivid colours. Blacks are also accurately dark.

    It's a Super-TFT panel, so there are some inevitable reflections in brighter conditions, but it's a price well worth paying. Photos and movies look stunning, with high-definition (HD) films in particular reproduced in their full glory.

    Gaming performance is excellent, thanks to the nVidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics card, making this a machine the whole family can enjoy. We had no trouble at all playing the latest games, and it was capable of handling everything we threw at it. The excellent colour reproduction also makes it the laptop of choice when it comes to photo editing.

    The large screen creates more than enough space for the keyboard. Sony has used the space wisely, and the board is a pleasure to work on, proving responsive enough for the fastest of touch-typists, but with enough space between the keys that even beginners will find it easy to type at a reasonable speed.

    As with other Sony laptops, the keys protrude through individual holes in the chassis, and we found it both functional and stylish.

    High-quality build

    The excellent build quality helps to justify this machine's high price. Magnesium alloy is used for the lid, and it withstands pressure better than most other laptops, offering ample protection for the display. The palm rest and surround is covered in a lightly textured plastic, which looks good and feels sturdy to the touch.

    The Sony also excels when it comes to features, offering the largest amount of storage space for your media collections. You'll find twin 320GB hard drives in place, giving 640GB of storage, and there's a rewritable Blu-ray drive, letting you back files up to blank 25GB Blu-ray discs.

    In addition to an SD card reader and Sony's Memory Stick reader, you'll find the AW capable of accessing CF cards. This makes it the ideal choice for professional photographers wanting to quickly download images from high-end digital SLR cameras.

    External displays can also easily be connected using the high-definition digital HDMI or analogue VGA ports. If you can afford the high price tag, the AW11Z/B is without peer. You'll find a perfect blend of performance and features, and the large screen makes the most of your HD movies.