We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 review

£478.11 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Sony

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 is Sony's budget VAIO PC.

The Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 is Sony's budget VAIO PC.

Sony's VAIO laptops are sometimes seen as offering something a little more than your average Windows notebook. And one of the additions, aside from more software bloat than just about any other vendor we test, is found in the bottom line.

In recent months we've tested Sony laptops pegged at £850 (for a netbook...!), £1,270, £1,420, £1,950, and even £2,500. So we strived to see what Sony could do for under £500 - and discovered the Sony VAIO NS20.

At £479, the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 is a replacement for the NS10 we reviewed in March this year.

Like that starter model, the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 features a plastic construction, all industrial-cloth-textured on lid and around the keyboard area, and finished in silver paint. It feels reasonably solid and chunky but not especially light at over 2.7kg.

To the left we have two USB, a mini FireWire port, ExpressCard|34 and audio ins and outs. There's a video output here too, although limited to VGA analogue. On the right of the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 are two more USB and a tray-loading dual-layer DVD drive. An ethernet port and modem reside at the back below the lefthand screen hinge, while on the front lip are card slots for standard SD cards and Sony's proprietary MemorySticks.

We found the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20's keyboard action and that of the touchpad and click buttons hearteningly comfortable to use. The latter buttons, for example, fell easily below the thumb and had a soft but positive click to use.

Since these are all make-or-break interface points, the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 earns praise for getting the basics right here. The 15in LCD screen, meanwhile, suffered from the usual gloss sheen issues but was held good contrast and brightness.

Inside the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 we have the same low-power Intel graphics chipset, a 250GB hard drive and 3GB RAM.

The principal update comes in the shape of a later generation Intel 2GHz CPU, helping the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 turn in a good WorldBench 6 score of 79 points. Battery life measured by MobileMark 2007 Productivity was ranked adequate at around 3 hours 20 minutes (203 mins).

NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict >>

Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 Expert Verdict »
Sony Vaio VGN-NS20S Scores 8.1 out of 10 based on 63 reviews
2GHz Intel DualCore T4200
800MHz FSB
15.4in (1280x800) 16:10 glossy LCD display
Windows Home Premium
250GB 2.5in SATA HDD
3GB (1x1GB, 1x2GB) DDR2 RAM
Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics
VGA analogue out
DVD±RW DL tray-load drive
100Mb/s ethernet
4 x USB 2.0
mini FireWire 400
mic in, headphone out
stereo speakers
built-in mic
SD Card slot
Sony MS card slot
ExpressCard|34 slot
802.11b/g/draft-n
56k modem
webcam
360x270x31-38mm
2760g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Sony has built a solid and decently specified 15in laptop for £479. It may lack the niceties of Bluetooth and digital video out, but the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20 is powerful enough to be used for more creative purposes than any low-cost netbook. It would be a sound choice for anyone looking for an affordable but comfortable-to-use laptop.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S review

    Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S

    With its textured silver finish, minimalist silver and black interior and its stylised square keys, the Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S laptop is aesthetically pleasing. But how does it work out in the Test Centre?

  • Toshiba Satellite L350-235 review

    Toshiba Satellite L350-235

    This Toshiba Satellite follows the example of our current top sub-£500 model, the Sony Vaio VGN-NS20J. The latter has crowned our budget chart for a few months thanks to its balance of price and performance, a feat that the Toshiba Satellite L350-235 carries off with only slightly less aplomb.

  • Sony Vaio VGN-FZ180EB laptop PC

    Sony Vaio VGN-FZ180EB laptop PC

    The Sony Vaio VGN-FZ180EB is a mid-size laptop PC with a nice screen.

  • Sony Vaio VGN-FE41E

    Sony Vaio VGN-FE41E

    The Sony Vaio VGN-FE41E is a sleek laptop. At 2.8kg, it is both durable and light enough to take on the road.

  • Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M laptop PC

    Sony Vaio VGN-AR51M laptop PC

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


IDG UK Sites

5 reasons not to wait for the Apple Watch: Why you shouldn't buy the iWatch

IDG UK Sites

Why local multiplayer gaming is rapidly vanishing: we look at the demise of split-screen and LAN...

IDG UK Sites

How Emotional Debt is damaging digital design

IDG UK Sites

iPhone 6 review: Apple's new iPhone is bigger, better & faster than ever before