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Sony Vaio W11S1E/T review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £412
inc VAT

Gorgeous styling and a detailed widescreen display, but battery life is poor and the keyboard is frustrating to type on.


10.1 in 1,366×768 display, 1.2kg, 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, 1.00GB RAM, 160GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

As you’d expect from Sony, the Vaio W11S1E/T has gorgeous styling.

It’s available in dark brown, white or pink. The case has soft, rounded edges and a satin finish on both the lid and case bottom. Opening the lid reveals a textured silver keyboard surround reminiscent of the NS- and FW-series notebooks we’ve reviewed in the past.

The keyboard’s neat, separated keys have a pleasing light action. However, they provide very little feedback, lacking both travel and bounce – so while the keyboard looks good, it’s frustrating to use. The touchpad is large and responsive and has well-placed buttons.

Sony has installed Intel’s slightly faster Atom chip, the N280, but the W11 has only the usual 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard disk. Windows XP comes as standard, and Sony has added its own Vaio Media Plus software, which is similar to Windows Media Center but with a slicker interface. If you want Windows 7 on your netbook, you’ll have to buy it separately, unlike customers who buy a laptop running Vista, who’ll get a free upgrade.

Draft-N wireless networking is built in, which means that if you have a Draft-N router or use wireless hot-spots that support it, you’ll benefit from a faster connection. Bluetooth is also supported, so you can transfer files quickly from your mobile phone or connect compatible devices.

Although the screen is the standard 10.1in across, it has a higher-than-usual resolution of 1,366×768, so it provides as much desktop space as most laptops. Packing such a high resolution into a small screen means that each pixel is much smaller. Images really benefit from the tiny pixel size, and you won’t see a hint of graininess unless it’s part of the image. However, Windows icons and fonts are also tiny, so you may have to change Windows’ default font size in the Display control panel applet to make them easier to read. Despite its LED backlight, the screen isn’t as bright as we’d hoped – certainly not as vibrant as the LED-backlit screens on Dell’s Studio XPS laptops. Colours are accurate, though, and contrast is great.

Another disappointment is the fairly small battery, which lasted for just under three hours in our light-usage tests. This is poor considering the power savings made by using an LED backlight, and compares horribly with previous Best Buy netbooks such as Samsung’s N120 which managed more than eight hours.

Although it’s easy to fall in love with the styling of the Vaio W11S1E/T, its poor battery life and keyboard are both disappointing. The high-resolution screen may attract some, but this alone isn’t enough to justify the high price of this otherwise typical netbook. Samsung’s N120 is simply much better value.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor Intel Atom N280
Processor clock speed 1.66GHz
Memory 1.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 1GB
Size 30x264x178mm
Weight 1.2kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption idle 9W
Power consumption active 18W


Viewable size 10.1 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 950
Graphics/video ports VGA
Graphics Memory 128MB


Total storage capacity 160GB
Optical drive model N/A
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 2
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards SD, Memory Stick Pro Duo
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included InterVideo WinDVD for Vaio, Roxio Easy Media Creator 10LJ

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £412

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