Sony Vaio M Series netbook review

Can this budget netbook face up to its competitors and persuade people a keyboard is still in fashion? We review the Sony Vaio M Series to find out.

Reviews
14 Jun, 2010
2
Price 
£254
ex. VAT
Verdict 
A shining example of how to make a budget netbook look but not enough substance to keep us interested. We suggest Sony works harder on its battery life rather than appearance next time.

When you think about Sony's Vaio range, you tend to think sleek, sexy and useful. But those attributes don't often come cheap.

Time to think again. Sony's Vaio M Series aims to offer the same style and sophistication as we've come to know and love with the brand, but in a smaller package that boasts a much smaller price tag - change from £300 to be precise.

This netbook has the aesthetics box firmly ticked. Taking it out of its packaging in the office, we were greeted by lots of appreciative noises from colleagues whose lust for this device increased on hearing the associated price.

Weighing in at 1.3kg, the model we got in had a sleek and smooth, dark blue exterior with the funky Vaio logo emblazed in silver. Even the simple matt black on the underside complements what is an attractive but understated casing.

When opening the netbook up, it doesn’t continue with quite as much wow factor but the black matt screen surround – with an embedded Sony Motion Eye webcam – and smooth, silver keyboard frame still tries to remain in keeping with the brand's style ethos.

They keyboard itself is very flush with the casing, again making for another attractive feature. However, the lack of substance behind the keys and lack of bounce doesn't make for very comfortable typing.

That said, the size and layout of the keyboard is well thought out and it also pleases us when a netbook manages to have a suitable sized shift key, cutting out capitalisation mistakes.

The track pad set below the keyboard is a little strange looking. It has an almost crochet-like appearance, although minus the texture, and reduces the smoothness of the appearance. Having two buttons is definitely a plus point with this element of the netbook but we found both to be quite stiff and they made hugely loud clicking noises for such a small part of the machine.

The overall responsiveness of the track pad is its biggest failing here and the more we used the M series, the more it infuriated us as we were never quite able to get the cursor where we wanted first time round.

The layout of the ports on this netbook is a little unconventional but we think it mostly works well. The side-sliding power button sits along the front with the wireless switch, microphone and headphone jacks.

Specifications 

Processor: 1.83GHz Intel Atom Processor N450

Memory: 1GB DDR2 SDRAM

Storage: 250GB hard disk

Graphics: 1GB Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150

Display: 10.1in 1,024 x 600

Ports: 3 x USB, VGA, SD card reader, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, Microphone Jack, Ethernet

Connectivity: WLAN 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR

OS: Windows 7 Starter

Dimensions: 260 x 180 x 33mm (W x D x H)

Weight: 1.3kg