Sony VAIOVGN-NR32L/S review

£425
Price when reviewed

The catchily titled VGN-NR32L/S is a new addition to Sony’s VAIO range, but if it looks more than a little familiar, there’s a good reason. It’s exactly the same chassis as the VGN-NR11Z/S we reviewed in issue 161 (web ID: 156405).

Sony VAIOVGN-NR32L/S review

From a distance the Sony still looks like a rather expensive laptop, though. The chassis is finished all in silver, and the dimpled lid almost looks like it could be machined aluminium. It’s not, though, and when you get a little closer it’s quite clear that it’s an all-plastic construction.

Despite this, the chassis feels stiff and is strong enough to take a bit of abuse. Only the overly flexible lid disappoints.

The chassis provides a solid base for the keyboard, and while the Scrabble-like keys look odd, their light action makes them pleasant to type upon, even if it’s not quite a match for the Dell’s ergonomic charms.

The spec is less impressive. The Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2390 looks like other processors here, but hails from an older, slower Core Duo range. Even with 2GB RAM at its disposal, and an extra 260MHz of clockspeed, the Sony only pulled a mere 8% ahead of the Core 2-based processor in MSI’s VR601. Battery life wasn’t impressive either: it lasted just 3hrs 25mins in our light-use test.

Image and sound quality make amends, however. The 15.4in panel is the usual 1,280 x 800 pixel affair, but the images it produces are good. There’s the familiar reddish tinge to our photos (as on many Sony laptops), but this lends images pop and vibrancy, while leaving skin tones rich and healthy. Even the speakers are surprisingly good, if not quite in the same league as the Toshiba’s.

But given its price the Sony has tough competition in this Labs. With a price drop it could be a contender, but as it is it’s merely an also-ran.

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