The Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M is the sort of laptop you can quickly pack away at the end of the day (it's light enough to carry from room to room), but it's powerful enough to be used in place of a desktop PC.

Sony has had to make few compromises, so the Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M will suit many users.

The Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M features a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 processor and a generous 2GB of RAM, which combined to notch up a healthy WorldBench 6 real-world speed score of 77.

The nVidia GeForce 8400M GT graphics chip also proved no slouch, allowing the Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M to achieve an impressive 22 frames per second (fps) in our graphics test – very high for a laptop. Battery life was less impressive at just 82 minutes. However, as the Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M weighs nearly 4kg it's likely to be plugged in to the mains for most of its working life.

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The Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M's superb 17in glossy display is capable of producing vivid colours although, as with other models, this is fairly reflective as a result. Unfortunately the resolution tops out at a maximum of 1,440x900 pixels.

Sony has included a Blu-ray drive, but you won't be able to view HD discs at their full 1,080p resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels unless you hook the Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M up to an HDTV via the high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port.

NEXT PAGE: build quality, storage and our expert verdict > >

Sony has had to make few compromises, so the Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M will suit many users.

The Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M's keyboard is decent to type on, with good-sized keys, but there isn't a separate numeric keypad. When it comes to expansion you'll find three USB ports, with one at the back and two on the right.

The Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M comes with plenty of internal storage with two 160GB drives, giving you 320GB in total.

Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M: Specs

  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, SpeedStep
  • 3 USB ports, 1 FireWire port, Ethernet
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 416x300x34mm
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft n, Bluetooth
  • 17in, 1,440x900 screen
  • nVidia GeForce 8400M GT, 256MB
  • flash memory drive
  • 2x8x8x8x2.4x4x5x (Blu-ray/DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-RW/+RW/-RAM), 24x8x8x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 320GB hard drive (2x160GB)
  • 3.9kg
  • SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro
  • InterVideo WinDVD Blu-ray, Norton Internet Security, Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, SpeedStep
  • 3 USB ports, 1 FireWire port, Ethernet
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 416x300x34mm
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft n, Bluetooth
  • 17in, 1,440x900 screen
  • nVidia GeForce 8400M GT, 256MB
  • flash memory drive
  • 2x8x8x8x2.4x4x5x (Blu-ray/DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-RW/+RW/-RAM), 24x8x8x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 320GB hard drive (2x160GB)
  • 3.9kg
  • SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro
  • InterVideo WinDVD Blu-ray, Norton Internet Security, Adobe Photoshop Elements

OUR VERDICT

The Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M is a good performer that can even turn its hand to gaming. You won't get much more than an hour out of the battery, but given its size and weight you're unlikely to be using it on the move much anyway. The inclusion of a Blu-ray drive is a bonus, but it's a shame the resolution support doesn't allow you to make the most of it.

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