Sony VAIO CW Series (VPC-CW1S1E/P) - 14.1in Laptop - Sony VAIO CW Series

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Sony VAIO CW Series (VPC-CW1S1E/P) - 14.1in Laptop

Summary

Our Score:

8

Sony isn't always renowned for offering great price/performance, particularly in its mainstream laptops, but the CW looks to buck this trend quite comprehensively. In PCMark Vantage it performs very well, being only marginally bested by the similarly priced Acer Aspire 5738PG. An overall score in excess of 4,000, though, shows that this laptop will tackle pretty much everything mainstream users will throw at it.

Even more impressive is the gaming performance: an unexpected bonus. In our Trackmania Nations test it managed an excellent 63.1 frames per second (fps), ensuring casual games like Spore and The Sims should be handled just fine. Upping the ante a little, we ran our new gaming test, the STALKER: Call of Pripyat benchmark that was recently released by its developers. It runs four demo scenarios of varying degrees of complexity, the results from which we take to form an overall average. A result of 27.9fps is very good for what is quite a challenging benchmark and is over double that of the Acer.

This is all very encouraging, but the icing on the cake is some excellent battery life results. The Productivity test in MobileMark returned a healthy four hours of mobile use and though the DVD test was a comparatively poor one hour and 50 minutes, reducing the screen's brightness would improve this considerably. As such this is a machine that could be used on the move, even if its 2.4kg weight is on the heavy side for all-day comfortable transportation.

The good news continues, as this is a very good value system. You might get a little more bang for your buck from Acer, who tends to undercut everyone, but the Sony has the material quality and personality that Acer's efforts tend to lack. Anyone who values such qualities will appreciate the value they add.

Verdict

Sony appears to have righted the wrongs of the outgoing CS Series. This is a very capable laptop that strikes a great balance between performance, affordability and style. Anyone looking for a powerful all-rounder with a little personality should find it the perfect tonic.

Don Kanonjii

November 27, 2009, 7:14 pm

Bought one of these for my wife as an early xmas present. Utterly fantastic. Performs like a trooper and plays games well even on battery. Runs very cool and very quiet. Couldnt recomend it enough.

spylex

November 28, 2009, 12:16 am

I've got one of these in the dark red colour. Really nice laptop! I wouldn't say it runs quiet, the fan is on all the time just on low speed. It's unfortunate that it doesn't support vanilla nVidia Forceware drivers, we have to wait for official Sony ones to update and i really doubt those will ever come.

ilovethemonkeyhead

November 28, 2009, 1:37 am

suprised at the choice of graphics - equivalent to the geforce 9700m GT, it wasn't so long ago that kind of power was in alienware gaming laptops...

Max

November 28, 2009, 2:07 am

Strange scoring. Looks like a great laptop, I think the only complaint I can find is with the screen... The most important two scores (performance and value) are 9/10 but the final score is 8/10.

spylex

November 28, 2009, 9:31 pm

For what you pay for, it's pretty good. It's heavy, only complaint i have.

T800

March 29, 2010, 12:35 am

I had a very bad experience with fan noise, thermal management and fan failure on a CS11, a problem that is widely documented by owners on the Internet, including in a thread on the VAIO Club forum at http://club.vaio.sony.co.uk/cl... but I came across this review so thought I might reconsider. I wish I'd seen the score you gave the CS11 before I bought it, but it was, unusually for me, an "impulse" purchase because I needed a replacement computer quickly and the CS11 was in the local shop window. I went for it because of the Sony name, I suppose, but that has been tarnished by my experience with the CS11, which I now no longer own. I was not happy when Sony staff advised me the device was running within parameters after it had been sent back to them. (A replacement fan they installed was similarly noisy, all a poor BIOS control issue, I believe, and it too began to fail.)





I wonder, Andy, if you noted excessive fan noise in testing the CW.





If build quality is better and fan noise more bearable should I look at this again? Does anybody notice a tendency of the fan to spool up to a noisy high speed for just two or three seconds, every nine or ten seconds, even when just putting the CW through light use such as browsing and e-mail? That's what happened with my CS11, on a background of the fan spinning relatively noisily all the time in between, too, and many other CS11 and CS21 owners reported the same behaviour.

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