Sony VAIO W netbook reviewed

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Sony’s first official netbook, the VAIO W, has been poked and prodded by Darren Gladstone over at PC World. You’ll recall that the $499 machine features pretty standard netbook components, with the added bonus of the slightly-faster 1.66GHz Atom N280 CPU and a 10-inch 1366×768 resolution screen. Let’s check out the highlights and lowlights, shall we?

Good:

The screen is the biggest selling point of this machine — great color, very little glare, and, of course, a usable resolution make the VAIO W’s relatively high price sting a little less. The bumped-up processor apparently makes for some nice, smooth 720p video as well.

On the outside, the computer’s nice aesthetics, above-average build quality, and 2.6-pound weight make it easy to schlep around. The textured touchpad is a nice addition, too, and having draft-N wireless along with Bluetooth included as standard options is a plus.

Bad:

The keyboard leaves a bit to be desired, as the island keys present a pretty cramped typing experience. Also, the three-hour battery life is nothing to write home about. And that’s three hours according to Sony, mind you. Finally, the touchpad buttons “feel a little shallow.”

Without personally playing with the W myself, I think the high-resolution screen is a definite plus but the anemic battery life would be a show-stopper for me. The keyboard might get easier with time, but Sony’s tendency to use a tiny right shift key has always left me scratching my head. And if Sony would lop $50 or $100 off the price tag, things might get a bit more interesting. That, or offer a standard six-cell battery.

Sony Vaio W Series Laptop Review [PC World]

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