Last month we looked at the Sony Vaio VGN-T2XP/S and we loved the styling but hated the price tag. This month we've seen the Vaio VGN-S4M; it's not quite as easy on the eye, but the cost is a little more pleasing.
Nevertheless, the £1,249 asking price is still high enough to put the Vaio into our Power notebook category, and you'd perhaps expect a bit more than a WorldBench 5 score of 78 - merely average for a notebook of this size.
The one outstanding feature of the Vaio, other than its stylish chassis, is the 13.3in widescreen. Using X-black technology, Sony has managed to achieve a bright, colourful image without making the screen too shiny. The 128MB GeForce Go 6200 graphics card does a reasonable job, but the frame rates suggest it won't be much good for gaming.
The battery life was a real let-down. It's a small model using a 1.6GHz Pentium M 730 processor, so you'd hope it might last a little longer than two hours and 45 minutes.
Despite the fact that it is quite small, the Vaio is very usable, with a good keyboard and decent-sized keys. You can connect to wireless networks with the 802.11b/g facilities but there aren't many connectors on offer.
The Sony has a 60GB hard drive, and if you need to back up your data there's a dual-layer DVD writer.