Sony VAIO Mini W-Series netbook review

Sony has finally relented and has added a true netbook to its range. Is the Sony VAIO Mini W-Series VPCW11S1E/W now the one to beat?

Price
£347

It wasn't too long ago that Sony dismissed netbooks with the phrase that releasing one would just be, "a race to the bottom".

Well, as someone once said if you can't beat em, you join em, and Sony does now indeed have a proper' netbook to counter the offerings from the likes of HP and Toshiba.

It's not the first time that Sony has ventured into sub-notebook territory of course, though it vehemently denied that the P-Series was actually a netbook. The sleek and slender machine certainly ruled itself out of that category on the pricing side of things, coming in at over 600.

The Mini W-Series is very much a netbook though, costing 347 before VAT, from the one online site that listed it at the time of the review. This makes it affordable, but still relatively pricey in the netbook scheme of things. It also looks like a netbook, with dimensions of 179.6 x 32.4 x 267.8mm. It does have the VAIO branding, however, so one would expect a certain level of quality from the product.

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Out of the box and first impressions are good. When closed, the product's curved lid offers clean smooth lines and the silver Sony logo and VAIO logos look good surrounded by an attractive shade of brown, if there is such a thing white and pink are also available.

The keyboard and the surrounding area are silver, and when closed the silver edges offset things nicely. Others on the IT PRO team weren't so keen on the silver, metal mesh style finish, (don't be fooled, it's all plastic) or by the busy pattern on the trackpad, but this reviewer was impressed with it.

Picking up the netbook, we were actually fairly surprised by weightiness, as its looks suggest it should be lighter. That said, at 1.19Kg it's not exactly heavy.

Open it up and you'll find a screen surrounded by a rather dull bezel, that actually let things drop slightly in the style stakes, thanks to its thickness, and the presence of practical but image spoiling soft rubber stands.

The presence of a Motion Eye' webcam is good news, though the 640 x 480 resolution is nothing to write home about. Pleasingly, the hinges of the bottom of the screen are behind rather than above the edge, making the netbook lower without sacrificing size.

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