Sony Vaio N21M/W review

Sony's Vaio N21M/W's retro design may appeal to some users, but to us it resembles a big silver and white brick..The Vaio has a nice display and a good battery life, but it's slow in Windows and it could do with more ports.

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc. VAT

Page 1 of 2Sony Vaio N21M/W review


15.4 in 1,280x800 display, 2.9kg, 1.86GHz Intel Core Duo T2350, 1.00GB RAM, 100GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

Despite its sturdy appearance, the Vaio's plastic chassis feels a bit creaky when handled.

There's also a shortage of ports around the edges, with just two USB ports provided. Unusually, it has two memory card readers: one for Sony Memory stick (MS) formats and one for Secure Digital (SD) cards. It has just one small Expresscard/34 expansion slot.

The display is bright with even backlighting and good viewing angles. Our white screen test showed up a slight bluish tinge, but greyscales and colour wheels were displayed well. There's a D-sub output, but no other video outputs for connecting to a TV.

The speakers are on the underside of the notebook. They sound tinny and muffled, and aren't very loud at the maximum volume. The touch pad is a bit too sensitive, making it hard to be precise, but reducing the sensitivity in Windows leaves it feeling sluggish. The keyboard is far better. Its large keys are responsive and have a good depth of travel.


The Vaio N21M/W is the only notebook in this group that uses an older Intel Core Duo processor. The Intel Core Duo T2350 runs at a quick 1.86GHz, but has a slower frontside bus speed than newer Intel Core 2 Duo chips. It produced an overall score of 121, making this the second-slowest notebook in the group. The integrated graphics chipset couldn't run our Doom 3 gaming benchmark.

However, the battery lasted an impressive three hours and 45 minutes in our light-usage test. This is the best battery life in the group.

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