Not one to be squeezed into the back pocket of your jeans, Sony's Vaio W is a 'proper' netbook.
The Vaio W heralds Sony's full-fledged entry into the netbook world. Not one to be squeezed into the back pocket of your jeans, the Vaio W is a proper netbook - one that can lock horns with other brands dominating the market right now.
What impressed us most about the Sony Vaio W was its style and design. It isn't the thinnest netbook around, nor the lightest, but boy is it good looking. Sony offers the Vaio W with three colour choices on the screen lid: white, brown, and pink. Glossiness is all the rage in netbooks these days - from screen lid, bezel, even palmrests - its everywhere, and so are your fingerprints, as a result. Thankfully, the Sony Vaio W doesn't come with a glossy screen lid - it has a smooth matt finish, in common with a typical Vaio notebook. In fact, there's not an inch of gloss on the netbook, not even on the screen bezel, and we like that. The build of the Vaio W is very good, too. The netbook oozes the aura of a premium, lifestyle product.
The Vaio W's 10.1in glossy screen is capable of 1,366x768 resolution - most 10in netbook displays are capable of 1,024x768. The Sony Vaio W, therefore, gives you more desktop space in the same form factor, and we hope other netbook manufacturers follow this trend. The LED-backlit screen also has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is great for watching movies. Around the keyboard, including the palmrest and palmrest, Sony has adorned the Vaio W with finely textured plastic. The keyboard has chiclet-styled keys, and well spaced, but they are tiny in comparison to netbooks from Asus, Acer, or Samsung.
The Sony Vaio W has standard netbook specs, and nothing here stands out. It has an Intel Atom N280 1.66GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Sony also includes ethernet, draft-n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a webcam, for connectivity and communication. It has a multicard reader and Sony's proprietary Memory Stick Pro Duo card, but disappointingly only two USB ports.
Port placement is well thought out on the Sony Vaio W. Take the front edge below the touchpad, for example: The power slider-button resides on the right corner, the Wi-Fi toggle on the left, and the two card readers in between them.
The Sony Vaio W did little to differentiate itself from the rest of the netbook pack in our performance benchmarks. A WorldBench 6 score of 36 is pretty average from a netbook. In real-world usage, its performance was in line with expectations - we was able to browse the web on a browser with multiple tabs over Wi-Fi, while listening to music at the same time. Whether it was working with productivity suites or watching movies, it was all good on the Vaio W. Disappointingly, the three-cell battery didn't go past the three-hour mark.