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Sony Vaio CW

Affordable 14in Vaio shocker

The large trackpad is responsive and can handle two-fingered gestures, but we found our palms consistently activating is while typing – certainly more so than on other laptops we've tested. In an attempt to sort it out, we headed into the Synaptics driver and whacked the PalmCheck feature to its highest level – this attempts to prevent the trackpad responding to your palm. This improved matters, but we’d prefer to have a dedicated on/off button for the trackpad.

Sony Vaio VPCCW1S1E

Fire up Linux-based Splashtop with the Web button

Three short cut buttons sit just above the main keyboard. If you’re simply using the laptop as an oversized MP3 player, hit the Display Off button and the backlight will be extinguished, thereby boosting battery life. When Windows is running, the Web button simply launches a new browser window, but when the laptop is switched off it loads Firefox 3 via the Linux-based Splashtop ‘instant-on’ application. Sony neglected to install this software on our review sample, so we can’t report on how well it works.

The 14in display is given Sony’s glossy X-black treatment and has a native resolution of 1366 x 768. It’s reasonably bright, but horizontal viewing angles are limited and it soon looses its shine when you veer from a centre-on viewing position. In fact, we found it hard to position it so that the entire screen appeared evenly lit.

Other specs include 802.11n wireless courtesy of an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5100 card, Bluetooth and a 320GB hard drive. As expected, Windows 7 Home Premium is charged with holding everything together, and Sony’s sensibly gone for the 64-bit version.

Given its relatively low price tag (for Sony, at least), we were somewhat surprised to find Sony had furnished the laptop with a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7450. A 45nm chip with a 25W TDP, the P7450 has 3MB of L2 cache at its disposal and runs off a 1066MHz FSB. A total of 4GB DDR3 memory accompanies the processor.

Sony Vaio VPCCW1S1E

Compact, but not the slimmest and a bit weighty too

In the 64-bit version of PCmark Vantage, the P7450 helped to produce an impressive overall score of 3815, which indicates it’s perfectly capable of handling processor-intensive applications. In the older PCmark05 test, it managed an overall score of 4871.

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