Sony Vaio VGN-AW21M/H review

Alan Lu
11 May 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



18.4 in 1,680x945 display, 3.7kg, 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 4.00GB RAM, 400GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

Sony's Vaio VGN-AW21M/H has an unusual keyboard with spaced out keys. They feel a little stiff but are comfortable to type on. The touchpad is accurate and the buttons provide plenty of feedback when pressed, but both are smaller than we'd like.

The built-in Blu-ray drive can't write Blu-ray discs, unlike the drive in Acer's pricier Aspire 8930G. The 18.4in, 1,680x945-pixel screen's image quality was disappointing. It's not especially bright, colours look washed out and images have a blueish tint.

With its fast 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo P8600 processor, this laptop should have no trouble running demanding applications, although it wasn't quite as fast as Acer's Core 2 Quad-equipped Aspire 8930G in our application benchmarks. The GeForce 9300M GS graphics chip managed only 9.2fps in Call of Duty 4, so it's not suitable for playing the latest action games, but should be able to cope with strategy games and older titles.

Although the VGN-AW21M/H is one of the lighter desktop replacement laptops here at 3.7kg, it's still impractically large for regular travelling. Its battery lasted two hours and 43 minutes in our light-usage test, so it could be used on occasional trips, or in the garden.

Like other Vaio laptops we've seen, this one comes with a generous bundle of useful software such as Adobe's Photoshop Elements 6 photo editor and Sony's own SonicStage Mastering Studio audio-editing program. The 400GB hard disk is one of the smallest here and could fill up quickly if you want to store and edit lots of video and audio files.

The speakers are loud with plenty of bass, but the treble is harsh. If you want surround sound, you can connect an amp to the optical S/PDIF port. This Vaio isn't a bad laptop, but there's little to distinguish it from the competition. Acer's Aspire 8930G costs £150 more but is better designed and better value.

Basic Specifications

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo P8600
Processor clock speed2.4GHz
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle31W
Power consumption active54W


Viewable size18.4 in
Native resolution1,680x945
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce 9300M GS
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory256MB


Total storage capacity400GB
Optical drive modelMatshita BD-MLT UJ230AS
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Total Firewire ports1
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11a/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other portsoptical S/PDIF output


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedAdobe Photoshop Elements 6, Divx Player and Converter 6, InterVideo WinDVD BD 8, Roxio Easy Media Creator 10, Sony SonicStage Mastering Studio 2.5, Sony Vaio Media Plus 1.2, Sony Vaio Movie Story 1.3, Sony Vaio Music Box 2.1.1, Sony Vaio Content Exporter
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

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