Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B review

Price when reviewed

If you’re eager to dump that desktop PC, Sony’s VGN-AW11Z/B might be all the temptation you need. It has a huge 18.4in screen and enough power to rival many standard computers.

Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B review

The AW-Series replaces Sony’s previous AR range, and while those 17in laptops seemed large, the AW11Z/B is a behemoth by comparison. What’s amazing, then, is that its weight has dropped by a couple of hundred grams to a chunky, but not overweight, 3.67kg.

The build quality is supremely stout. This is one laptop that will take the odd knock in its stride. And, thanks to the Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 processor and 4GB of DDR3 memory, the Sony raced ahead of the competition to score 1.37 in our benchmarks. It repeated that sterling performance in our Crysis gaming benchmarks, too, its speedy Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT chipset helping it cruise to a steady 23fps in the Medium settings benchmark.

There’s a Pioneer Blu-ray writer, and for HD movie playback note the huge 18.4in display, with a 16:9 ratio, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, and image quality to embarrass many of the laptops here.

And if you fancy dabbling in making HD movies, there’s no shortage of power or storage space. The AW11Z/B has two 320GB hard drives, perfect for storing swathes of HD video. Both video and photo enthusiasts will appreciate the FireWire and CompactFlash ports, too.

The basics are well covered. The spacious keyboard is tactile and responsive and we had no problem with the wide, accurate trackpad either.

Battery life is less spectacular. At just two hours under light usage, it won’t survive long away from the mains.

What really matters, though, is that the VGN-AW11Z/B has got it where it counts: fine build and performance, great ergonomics and a huge screen.

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