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Sony Vaio FW41E/H review

Alan Lu
7 Aug 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
880
inc VAT

Sony's generously equipped Vaio FW41E/H is a great laptop with something for everyone, including Blu-ray playback and a large hard disk.

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Specifications

16.4 in 1,600x900 display, 2.9kg, 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

Sony's Vaio FW41E/H is well equipped for entertainment.

Its Radeon HD 4650 graphics can play demanding 3D games, managing a smooth 31.2fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. The Blu-ray drive can play high-definition movies, but it can't write Blu-ray discs.

As with most Vaio screens, the FW41E/H's 16.4in display is superb. The resolution of 1,600x900 pixels isn't quite large enough to show 1080p HD video, but Blu-ray movies still look great, and there's lots of space to have several windows open simultaneously. It's bright, with vivid yet accurate colours that don't look oversaturated. Areas of white look clean and pure, while our colour and greyscale transition tests were reproduced smoothly. The backlight is a little uneven, but it's still one of the best laptop displays we've seen.

We were also impressed with the keyboard and touchpad. The keys are large and give just the right amount of feedback. The touchpad is accurate and responsive, while the buttons are just right, being neither too stiff nor too spongy. The minimalist purple-grey chassis feels a bit plasticky, but build quality is sturdy.

The Vaio is equipped with a large 500GB hard disk as well as 4GB of RAM, which is more than enough for running multiple programs simultaneously. The 2GHz Core 2 Duo T6400 processor did well in most of our benchmarks. It fell behind the other £900 laptops in the video-encoding test due to a slower front side bus and less cache than its competitors, but this should concern only serious video-editing enthusiasts (who will appreciate the software bundle, which includes Adobe's Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements).

At nearly 3kg, the Vaio is lighter than many other Blu-ray equipped laptops we've seen, but it's too big and heavy for regular commuting. If you do need to use it for occasional travelling, its battery lasted a surprisingly long three hours and 43 minutes.

It's hard to find fault with the FW41E/H, although the single year of RTB warranty is dismal at this price. If this doesn't worry you, you won't be disappointed with the Vaio.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T6400
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size42x387x261
Weight2.9kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle21W
Power consumption active55W

Display

Viewable size16.4 in
Native resolution1,600x900
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive modelMatshita BD-CMB UJ140AS
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

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

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedAdobe Photoshop Elements 7, Adobe Premiere Elements 7, InterVideo WinDVD 8, Sony Click to Disc 1.2.6, Sony Vaio Media plus 1.4, Sony Vaio Media Story 1.4, Sony Vaio MusicBox 2.2, Sony SonicStage Mastering Studio 2.6, Sony Vaio Content Exporter 1.4.6, Micr
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£880
Detailswww.sony.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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