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Sony Vaio NW11S/S review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £749
inc VAT

A funky design and great 3D performance make this a decent laptop, but it's let down by a slightly washed-out display and a fairly high price.


15.6 in 1,366×768 display, 2.6kg, 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6500, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

The NW11S/S’s case has a wavy texture that almost looks like wood grain.

This texture is visible between the flat, separated keys, which gives the impression of solidity, and build quality is as sturdy as we’d expect from Sony. The keys themselves have a crisp, light action and plenty of feedback.

The large touchpad is the oddest we’ve seen for a while: the pad is recessed and transparent, covered with tiny raised dots that help to reduce friction. It works well, though, and the pad is responsive. The buttons are a good size and have a light action.

Like the majority of the laptops here, the NW11S/S has a 15.6in widescreen display using a 1,366×768 resolution. Colours are reasonably accurate but aren’t as vibrant as the Asus K50IN’s, and images seem washed out in comparison. The backlight has some dark patches along the bottom of the screen and there’s a cold, blue tint to whites, but as we’ve said elsewhere, these minor flaws are only really noticeable when you line up several of these laptops side by side. There’s an HDMI port on the side if you want to send the video signal to an external monitor.

Performance in our benchmarks was good, with an overall score of 61. ATI’s HD 4570 graphics chipset powered the NW11S/S to a respectable 21.3fps in Call of Duty 4. By turning anti-aliasing off, we were able to get a playable 28.2fps at native resolution. Those who prefer less-demanding strategy or adventure games should be able to crank up the visual effects.

There are only three USB ports, but the NW11S/S is the only laptop in this category to have a FireWire port. It also has Bluetooth, Draft-N WiFi and a 320GB hard disk. Battery life in our light usage tests was a respectable three hours and 55 minutes.

When there are perfectly good laptops for £200 less, it’s hard to justify the NW11S/S’s price, but it does have good 3D performance and a smart design. Unfortunately, the washed-out screen and relatively steep price prevent it winning an award.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T6500
Processor clock speed 2.1GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 29x370x249mm
Weight 2.6kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 20W
Power consumption active 42W


Viewable size 15.6 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 512MB


Total storage capacity 320GB
Optical drive model Matshita UJ880AS
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Total Firewire ports 1
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/34
Modem Yes
Supported memory cards SD, Memory Stick Pro
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Intervideo WinDVD, Microsoft Works 9

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £749

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