Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W 14.1in Notebook - Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


At the centre of the media strip a shortcut button labelled 'AV Mode' brings up VAIO Launcher, where you can set various programs for viewing photos, DVDs, web-browsing and listening to music. If you know your way around Windows this is little more than a gimmick, but for novices it might prove useful.

To the left of the multimedia strip is the 'Capture' button, which brings up the webcam software, while to the right resides a plain power button that's stamped with an eye-catching, if slightly unimaginative, green power symbol.

Another design feature is the LED strip along the bottom at the notebook's front, just below the touchpad. This fluctuates subtly between white and pale blue in sleep mode and various colours when in standby, but remains off when the notebook is in use. This is pretty enough to look at but is fairly inconsequential, especially given you can't customise it at all.

Having bemoaned some of the build quality, the connectivity is also nothing to write home about. On the left is the power socket, a VGA port, two USB sockets and mini-FireWire, in addition to 3.5mm audio jacks. At the front, meanwhile, there's Sony's proprietary MagicGate Pro slot and a separate memory card reader that will take SD, SDHC and MMC formats, but not xD as some do. There's also a hardware wireless switch, which is always a good thing.

On the back is a lonely modem jack, while on the right we find Ethernet, another USB port, a 34mm ExpressCard slot and the DVD-writer. Notice the absentees on this list? A lack of e-SATA we could forgive, since it's a sin Sony shares with Samsung. However, the one thing that's inexcusably missing from the list is HDMI. Yes, you read that right, this 14.1in notebook costing over £800 has no form of digital video connectivity whatsoever, something that's offered by notebooks less than half the price!

What makes this even more ludicrous is that Sony actually offers a large selection of the CS Series range with integrated Blu-ray drives or the option to upgrade to one for £99. Fabulous idea, chaps, people are really going to see the benefits of 1080p high definition on the notebook's 14.1in 1,280 x 800 screen! Wait, you want to output digitally to your Full HD 42in television? Well, sorry, you can't.


December 12, 2008, 5:27 am

Geez, Sony's really on a roll lately! ;)


December 12, 2008, 7:07 am

Are you sure the ethernet port is gigabit? The spec page on Sony's site lists it as only 100mbit.

I'm rather annoyed with Sony's lack of gigabit ethernet on some of their notebooks, I'm thinking of a SR29XN/S which is nearly a grand, though according to Sony's site it also only has 100mbit. Annoyingly I recently bought a Sony NS10 for my mother, the lowest priced vaio, and that has gigabit ...ridiculous.


December 12, 2008, 3:27 pm

@BlackAle: Thanks for pointing that out. You're right, as it turns out the VGN-CS11 DOESN'T have gigabit ethernet either. One more black mark among many...


December 12, 2008, 8:59 pm

alright: this, or a macbook air


December 12, 2008, 9:30 pm

@ilovethemonkeyhead: no no no, even a MacBook Air has digital video out. And the new ones have Gigabit Ethernet to boot. Oh yeah, and it's gorgeous. And... oh, just get the Sony then :D.


February 3, 2009, 5:39 pm

Hi, i've been recently looking for a brand new laptop for my girlfriend. She seems pretty interest on the CS model (because is pink). However, i've been reading the article pointed out few bad things about this CS model. I just wonder either buy this or the Dell XPS M1530, could anyone give me some suggestion? Many thanks


February 10, 2009, 7:09 pm

@ alvinm: After reading the review, do you really need to ask? You don't even have to get the XPS to beat the Sony in every single regard. Just get a Dell Studio 15 or even Inspiron and you'll be better (and cheaper) off, plus Dell is doing a free colour-upgrade promotion right now.

Basically, get any pink laptop but the CS11 one.

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