Sony Vaio AW series: 18.4" - Windows 7- Pay £960 upto £2000'ish
With 1920 by 1080 pixels and the same advanced 3LED technology as Sony BRAVIA TVs, this 18.4" screen is perfect for HD video, and has an integral Blu-ray player. The screen also represents every Adobe RGB colour, making it suited to high-end graphics and video editing apps. Powerful processors and Nvidia GeForce 9 series graphics chips, up to 8GB RAM, 1TB of storage PLUS a solid state drive for fast loading of operating system & applications in the top model, make it more powerful than most desktops. Elegant for it's size, the narrow frame around the screen helps disguise it's bulk.
Sum-up: Gorgeous portable desktop (looks like a bigger FW series). If I needed a bigger laptop I'd definately want this one.
Sony Vaio FW series: 16.4 " - Windows 7 - Pay £750 (no Blu-ray) upto £1250'ish
"1920 x 1080 pixel screen has playing Blu-ray discs in mind. Add the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors upto 2.8GHz, upto 8GB RAM, 500GB drive, Blu-ray, a more than useful array of connections (inc. HDMI & TV), and decent ATI graphics make the FW series more than useful, particularly at the high end.
Sum-up: Stylish & very desirable, bit heavy at 3.1KG, and a measly 120 minutes battery. Definately on my 'buy' list.
Sony Vaio BZ series 15.4" (business range) - Windows 7 (XP option) - Pay £650 upto £1,000'ish
An update on Sony's 'business' range, these BZ models have a wide screen 1280 x 800 or 1440 x 900 format, camera & mic. for video conferencing (Skype to you & me), though only weedy integrated Intel graphics. Otherwise decent spec. with upto 4GB RAM, 500GB drives, and upto 2.53G Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Business cred. with fingerprint reader, rugged design (takes a cup of tea on the keyboard they reckon!), and Trusted™ Platform Module.
Sum-up: Robust work horse with 195 min. battery and 2.7kg at a good price. But lack of a decent graphics chip kills it for me.
Sony Vaio NW series: 15.4" - Windows 7 - Pay £450 upto £650
Nice for money, these smart, minimalist designs look great. A range of specifications means you have to be careful which model you choose. Mid-range Intel processors, and Intel Graphics on all but the higher spec. models, which also have Blu-ray. Upto 500GB drive & 4GB RAM. A couple of nice features include the ability to turn it on for internet access without the full operating system loading, and a button to turn the screen off (to conserve power)
Sum-up: Decent looks make the higher spec. models excellent value.
Sony Vaio CW series: 14.1" - Windows 7 - Pay £650'ish
Available in a range of colours, the CW series is a well priced, mid-spec. notebook has 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive and, significantly, NVidia NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 230M graphics, though it's not the fastest graphics chip, is miles better than Intel graphics, and 1344x768 screen. Multitouch trackpad, 'instant on' for web browsing, 'screen off' button and express card slot add to the appeal of this machine.
Sum-up: Bulky with average battery, but good looks, good enough performance and nice features, good for the money.
Sony Vaio SR series: 13.3" - Vista Business - Pay £960 to £1130
Lovely, stylish, thin, light (1.85kg) notebook has powerful Core 2 Duo processors, 3 or 4GB RAM, decent graphics, 1280 x 800 pixel screen, and trick power saving technology giving upto 5 hours on a charge. Positioned between the busines user and leisure/design user, both in price and functionality, this range boosts fingerprint recognition and a Trusted™ Platform Module amongst it's features. It has camera & mic too.
Sum-up: Nice product for the business user who needs the security, light weight, decent looks AND reasonable horse power.
Sony Vaio Z series: 13.3" - Vista Business - Pay £1450 to £1750
A new screen size for Sony - 1600 x 900 pixel 'real wide' (1366 x 768 on lower spec. model)- this laptop has powerful new core 2 duo processors, 4GB RAM (all models), NVIDIA® GeForce® 9300M GS graphics, and trick battery saving technology. Looking great in carbon fibre, just 1.5kg, built-in 3G, and the interesting & efficient design of the hinge, make this the sort of laptop Sony are great at building. Though, oddly (given the screen) no Blu-ray drive.
Sum-up: Classy, powerful, light, upto 5.5 hours battery, and 3G makes this laptop very special, but only on company money!
Sony Vaio TZ series: 11.1" - Vista Business - Pay £1050 to £1500
Currently Sony's only ultra-mobile notebook, it's price keeps it firmly in the 'executive' bracket. With an Intel ultra-low voltage processor, 7.5 hours on a charge, a weight of just 1.25kg (thanks to carbon fibre), and built-in 3G connectivity, it's more usefully mobile than almost any other notebook on the market. Beautiful 1366 x 768 pixel screen, and gorgeous all round design add to the appeal of this unique line. Small'ish keys might get to you if you use it a lot, and the standard Intel graphics chip mean a lacklustre performance running Vista.
Sum-up: Desirable... highly, but soon pointless with the arrival of Intel Atom-based SCCs (small cheap computers) from every major PC manufacturer, at prices ranging from £250 to £350 for a decent spec., some even with built-in 3G connectivity.
Sony Vaio TT series: 11.1" - Vista Business - Pay £1200 to £1500'ish
Replacing the TZ, this new ultra-mobile notebook is a typical Sony creation: Stunning, usefully more mobile than most small'ish notebooks, and insanely expensive. At 6 times the price of my Intel Atom-based Samsung NC10 there is a shrinking market for subnotebooks based on the Intel ultra-low-voltage Core 2 Duo processor.A stunning 1366 x 768 pixel screen, integrated high speed mobile Internet acess (HSUPA, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS) and Blu-Ray help justify the gap, as do the latest integrated Intel graphics (not quite NVidia or ATI but better than the last Intel effort) and the classy design.
Sum-up: Feather light, 9 hours battery life, powerful enough for most applications, a great pose, but only on company money.