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.
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.