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Sony Vaio M Series (M11M1E) review

David Ludlow
23 Mar 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
284.50
inc VAT

This is the first cheap netbook that Sony has done, but it's no different to all the other 10.1in models out there.

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Specifications

10.1 in 1,024x600 display, 1.4kg, 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450, 1.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Starter 32-bit

Sony's track record making netbooks has so far been the oddly shaped and expensive P Series and the ludicrously expensive, but very small Vaio X11. We were, therefore, taken by surprise when the company announced the Vaio M Series netbook, with a price of just £285.

For the Vaio M11M1E reviewed here, Sony has moved completely into normal netbook territory, with a rather standard 10.1in screen. It's available in both white (M11M1E/W) and black (M11M1E/B), so you can choose that one that suits your style the most.

Sony Vaio M Series from behind (white)

As we'd expect from a modern netbook, Sony has opted for Intel's latest Atom, the 1.66GHz N450. This processor has integrated graphics, which means only one small, power-efficient chip needs to be fitted inside the case. While the graphics aren't capable of playing games, they're sprightly enough to make using the installed Windows 7 Starter Edition OS smooth and responsive to use.

One of the benefits of this processor is that it uses less power than a standard Atom, so battery life should be better. However, this wasn't borne out in our tests: the M11M1E lasted 4h 50m in our light-use benchmark. This is disappointing, particularly as the Toshiba NB305 is both lighter (1.2kg, compared to the Vaio's 1.4kg) and lasted for just over 10 hours in the same test.

Performance was exactly what we'd expect for an Atom-based computer with 1GB of RAM, with an overall score of 17 in our benchmarks. It's disappointing that you can't add more memory, as Sony has completely sealed the bottom of the laptop. It may be possible to prise the case open, but you're likely to damage it along the way.

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