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Sony Vaio CW1S1E/L review

Sony Vaio CW1S1E/L laptop
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £699
inc VAT

The CW1S1E/L is a great-looking laptop, but it doesn't do enough to stand out at this price.


14 in 1,366×768 display, 2.4kg, 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7450, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Sony’s Vaios stand out for their great design, and the CW1S1E/L is no exception. It’s not one of the company’s more unusual designs, but its sculpted case, coloured metallic finish and attention to detail makes it stand out. There are also a few quirks of the Vaio brand: for example, the insistence on separate SD and Memory Stick slots, and FireWire but no eSATA ports.

Rather than use the full width of the case to cram in a numeric keypad, Sony has instead opted for a spacious keyboard, which uses flat button keys with lots of space around each key. The layout is standard, although some extra keys for page navigation, such as Home, End and PgUp/PgDown keys would have been preferable to the Function key combinations you have to use instead. The key action is light, with excellent feedback.

The touchpad is large and responsive. It supports multi-touch zooming (the pinch/stretch gesture), but not other common gestures for rotating or scrolling, which is an odd omission. There are separate buttons which have a light action and they’re set close enough to the edge of the case for your thumb to find them easily.

The 14in screen has a 1,366×768 resolution more commonly found on larger 15-16in screens, which means that the pixels are more tightly packed. The result is pin-sharp images with no visible pixellation, but unfortunately there was a slight green cast to whites and it’s not as bright as some.

Although the screen is ideal for 720p content, it’s too small for watching a movie with others and the internal speakers, although clear, are far too quiet. The HDMI output is welcome, though, but there’s no S/PDIF output if you want surround sound with older equipment.

A score of 25.1fps in our Call of Duty 4 benchmark isn’t bad, but this level of 3D power won’t satisfy demanding gamers. Overall 2D benchmark results were average at this price. Office and internet applications will run smoothly, and you’re unlikely to be attempting to edit HD video on this small screen, which is the only task that may tax the Vaio.

Apart from looks, there’s no single feature that makes the CW1S1E/L stand out from the slew of laptops available today, and the return to base warranty is disappointing at this price. What you do get however is Sony’s attention to detail and fine build quality.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P7450
Processor clock speed 2.13GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 39x341x233mm
Weight 2.4kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 15W
Power consumption active 36W


Viewable size 14 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce GT 240M
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 512MB


Total storage capacity 320GB
Optical drive model Pioneer DVRTD09
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 No
Supported memory cards SD, Memory Stick Pro
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Works 9, Roxio Easy Media Creator 10 LJ

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £699

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