Sony VAIO VGN-NS20E/S review
This Sony’s name might not ring any bells, but it’s nonetheless a rather familiar face. It looks, to all intents and purposes, identical to the old NR-series of laptops.
That’s a shame, because those were never particularly pretty machines. Finished all in silver, the dimpled shell almost looks like machined aluminium from a distance. Get up close, however, and it’s just plain old plastic.
Look past the less-than-stylish exterior, though, and the VGN-NS20E/S has plenty to recommend it. The core specification is beyond reproach. An Intel Pentium Dual-Core T3400 processor, 3GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive are all as good as you can get for the money, and achieved a fine score of 0.95 in our benchmarks.
Only the Intel integrated graphics prove a mite disappointing, juddering through our Crysis test at an unplayable five frames per second.
While gaming might not be on the agenda, the Sony’s display makes a fine job of any image. The 15.4in display opts for the usual 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution, but its quality is beyond reproach. Colours are surprisingly natural for such a budget panel, and good contrast helped it make a fine fist of even the trickiest test photos.
Spend any amount of time with the Sony and its quality soon shines through. The VGN-NS20E/S’s Scrabble-tile keyboard might look strange, but the crisp key action and spacious layout makes for comfortable typing. Better still, it’s matched with a responsive trackpad and buttons that respond with a light click.
The Sony’s great ergonomics and crisp display are enough to win it friends, but battery life isn’t half bad, either. The 4,400mAh cell can’t compete with the Lenovo’s huge battery, but more than four hours of light use is still respectable.
Factor in the addition of Gigabit Ethernet and draft-n wireless, and the Sony does more than enough to justify its price. Its plasticky looks may be a stumbling block, but what lurks underneath is a fine budget laptop.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||380 x 360 x 38mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Pentium Dual-Core T3400|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel GL40|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,280|
|Resolution screen vertical||800|
|Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 4500|
|Graphics card RAM||128MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Toshiba MK2552GSX|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||Matshita UJ870BJ|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||4hr 18min|
|Battery life, heavy use||2hr 16min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.95|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||5fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|
|Software supplied||Roxio Easy Media Creator 9|