Review: Sony VAIO W

We all thought that Sony will not be entering the netbook. When Sony launched the VAIO P, they try to distance themselves from netbook, calling it pocket style PC. And honestly, sometimes I’m not sure if VAIO P should be considered a netbook.
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But the Sony VAIO W definitely fall under the netbook category. The VAIO W runs on Intel Atom N280 1.66 GHz, 1GB Ram and 160GB Harddisk. WIFI, Bluetooth, ethernet port, VGA port, headphone jack, microphone jack and 2 USB port. Which is kinda disappointing since most N280 netbooks in the market now comes with 3 USB port. Measures 26.78 x 2.75-3.24 x 17.96 cm and weighs 1.19kg.

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Like most netbook, it has a 10.1 inch screen except that it has a 1,366×768 high-definition resolution. The display is beautiful. But this is still an netbook and the Intel Atom processor doesn’t handle HD video as good as a full fledged laptop/desktop. You might want to take note of that when you try to play a HD video. The higher resolution display might also be one of the cause of the shorter battery life. The Sony VAIO W is reported to have a 2 hour plus battery life on a 3 cell battery.
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The thing I don’t really like about the Sony VAIO W is the keyboard. The keyboard is said to be 86% the size of a normal keyboard. I think any keyboard that is less than 90% the size of a normal keyboard is hard to type with. It can be frustrating to type long email/blog entry on the VAIO W. I find myself typing the wrong letters frequently as the keyboard is smaller than most netbooks. Note that the right shift button is extra small and placed at a weird position. I don’t usually use that, but you might want to take note if you use right shift button frequently.
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Unlike most netbook/laptop which gives you 1 multi card reader slot, the Sony VAIO W has 2 memory card slot, 1 for SD and 1 for Memory Stick. This is especially useful if you want to access multiple card at the same time. But there is no dummy card or cover to prevent dust from entering the card slot when not in use.
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Sony paid lots of attention on the looks and fine details on the VAIO W. Even the touchpad has a nice printed pattern on it. The arm rest area is filled with dimples to beautify the netbook. It certainly don’t give you the cheap netbook feel like some netbook does. The outer casing does not have any printed design other than the standard “VAIO” wording that you find in most Sony laptops. But somehow, Sony managed to make the casing look beautiful without the need of imprints like the HP Mini or Lenovo S10-2.
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Compared to other netbooks in the market, the Sony VAIO W doesn’t really stand out from the crowd other than the few small fine details in the design and beautiful screen. It is now selling at S$899, which is slightly higher than most netbook in the market. Available in pink, brown, and white. (The review unit I got is Brown, but it looks a little like black on the photos. I think I need to get a new camera soon)
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In short:
A good looking netbook with beautiful screen.
Likes:
High-definition display
Dislikes:
Keyboard
Only 2 USB port
Update: There is a new Sparkling White Edition which retails slightly more expensive at S$999.

2 comments

  1. Quite frankly, Sony needs to wake up its idea: Its brand name is not worth that much. Given current economic conditions and the availability of so many better specs, lower priced netbooks, I would not hesitate to call any owner of the VAIO W, “sucker”

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