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Sony Vaio FW41E/H review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £880
inc VAT

Sony's generously equipped Vaio FW41E/H is a great laptop with something for everyone, including Blu-ray playback and a large hard disk.


16.4 in 1,600×900 display, 2.9kg, 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

Sony’s Vaio FW41E/H is well equipped for entertainment.

Its Radeon HD 4650 graphics can play demanding 3D games, managing a smooth 31.2fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. The Blu-ray drive can play high-definition movies, but it can’t write Blu-ray discs.

As with most Vaio screens, the FW41E/H’s 16.4in display is superb. The resolution of 1,600×900 pixels isn’t quite large enough to show 1080p HD video, but Blu-ray movies still look great, and there’s lots of space to have several windows open simultaneously. It’s bright, with vivid yet accurate colours that don’t look oversaturated. Areas of white look clean and pure, while our colour and greyscale transition tests were reproduced smoothly. The backlight is a little uneven, but it’s still one of the best laptop displays we’ve seen.

We were also impressed with the keyboard and touchpad. The keys are large and give just the right amount of feedback. The touchpad is accurate and responsive, while the buttons are just right, being neither too stiff nor too spongy. The minimalist purple-grey chassis feels a bit plasticky, but build quality is sturdy.

The Vaio is equipped with a large 500GB hard disk as well as 4GB of RAM, which is more than enough for running multiple programs simultaneously. The 2GHz Core 2 Duo T6400 processor did well in most of our benchmarks. It fell behind the other £900 laptops in the video-encoding test due to a slower front side bus and less cache than its competitors, but this should concern only serious video-editing enthusiasts (who will appreciate the software bundle, which includes Adobe’s Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements).

At nearly 3kg, the Vaio is lighter than many other Blu-ray equipped laptops we’ve seen, but it’s too big and heavy for regular commuting. If you do need to use it for occasional travelling, its battery lasted a surprisingly long three hours and 43 minutes.

It’s hard to find fault with the FW41E/H, although the single year of RTB warranty is dismal at this price. If this doesn’t worry you, you won’t be disappointed with the Vaio.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T6400
Processor clock speed 2GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 42x387x261
Weight 2.9kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 21W
Power consumption active 55W


Viewable size 16.4 in
Native resolution 1,600×900
Graphics Processor ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 512MB


Total storage capacity 500GB
Optical drive model Matshita BD-CMB UJ140AS
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

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 SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other ports none


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Adobe Photoshop Elements 7, Adobe Premiere Elements 7, InterVideo WinDVD 8, Sony Click to Disc 1.2.6, Sony Vaio Media plus 1.4, Sony Vaio Media Story 1.4, Sony Vaio MusicBox 2.2, Sony SonicStage Mastering Studio 2.6, Sony Vaio Content Exporter 1.4.6, Micr
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £880

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