Sony VAIO VGN-NS20E/S - 15.4in Laptop - Sony VAIO VGN-NS20E/S

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


For software the aforementioned Windows Vista OS is joined by Microsoft Works 9 SE and a 60 day trial version of Office 2007 for productivity duties, while a trial version of McAfee takes care of virus protection. One thing unique to Sony is its Me&My VAIO suite - "the portal for your personal contents" according to the company. This is a multimedia-focused suite for the viewing, organising, editing, sharing and burning of video, music and photos. It's a nice touch for beginners, but as with the XMB-like AV Mode it's nothing the experienced computer-user couldn't easily do without.

One of the few good things about the Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W was its strong battery performance and despite using the same-capacity 4,400mAh 49 Watt-hour battery as that machine, the NS20 far surpasses it with a class-leading four hours and five minutes in the semi-intensive Productivity benchmark. Altogether it's quite easy to get over five hours of light use out of this VAIO, albeit with the screen's brightness set to the usable minimum and wireless turned off. This could prove very convenient when out and about, although at 2.76kg the NS20 isn't exactly light.

Finally, then, we come to the question of value, which at this end of the market is never a straightforward one. Going purely by specifications, it's quite easy to find a 15in notebook with better specs (such as a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM) from a brand-name like Acer or MSI for around £400. For the £475 the Sony demands, you could even get a Blu-ray drive thrown into the bargain. However, we haven't had a notebook at anything close to this price-point that could beat the Sony's battery life through our labs and we doubt any of above mentioned could match it.

Keep in mind, though, that you can currently get the newly refreshed Dell Studio 15 in a variety of colours, with a slightly faster CPU, a higher resolution (1,366 x 768) 15.6in screen, more generous 4GB of RAM, bigger 320GB hard drive, HDMI-out, discrete 512MB Radeon 4570 graphics card and higher-capacity 56 Watt-hour battery for exactly the same money. This is a pretty good spec for a nicely designed machine, so were one looking at the Sony you'd be foolish not to look at the Dell as well.


This laptop does much to restore the VAIO name after the disappointing CS Series. Its durable, unique-looking chassis and excellent ergonomics will win it many friends, as will its outstanding battery life and affordable price. Only niggles like the lack of HDMI and the limited integrated graphics hold it back, but if these are of little concern to you then this is worth looking at.


June 17, 2009, 8:16 am

Why is it you have to buy a more premium laptop so you aren't lumbered with a blobby, big boned, fisher price device?? They must deliberately make these low end models less attractive than the other ones. I'm sure they could sleek up these products.


June 17, 2009, 1:20 pm


Obvious answer - they want you to pay more to get more.


June 17, 2009, 2:00 pm

There are certainly ways they could sleek it up a bit but not very much without adding to the cost.


June 17, 2009, 2:32 pm


To be honest, most of us in the office rather liked the design. It's not sleek, but doesn't feel particularly chunky, and is FAR more rugged than most - how good is that glossy designer laptop going to look after three months' use with scratches and fingerprints all over it?


June 17, 2009, 3:45 pm

Ive got the VGN-NS11J/S of this series, i got it for £600 with a 2 year warrenty from john lewis and I love it. Granted however since i bought it more powerful laptops have come out for the price but hay thats just technology going out of date fast as usual.

Dave 13

June 18, 2009, 3:52 pm

I never really liked Sony's budget models, my advice is to get the cheapest version of their premium line you can get.

Back in December I got my dad an FW11E for £580. The best thing is I picked it up in Argos, LOL.

Nicholas Phan

June 19, 2009, 7:57 am

The NS sounds great! But looks like it just got replaced by the NW. The NW looks and sounds fantastic! And has great value too!


June 20, 2009, 10:31 pm

Do Sony still fill their machines with buggy bloatware and inappropriate software? The last Sony portable I owned (some years back) even had SQL Server running on it, grabbing 5% CPU now and again. Why? Who knows, but took days to dig it all out and remove it.

Paul N

January 26, 2010, 12:34 am

I have had one of these for nearly a year and agree with the above review, but am now experiencing one annoying fault -- the L key is malfunctioning. It has to be hit hard to produce a character.

The strange thing is that this seems ony to happen in Internet Explorer and Outlook -- not, for example, in NotePad. I suspect therefore that it's a software problem connected with processing time, as opposed to a poor quality key.


February 24, 2010, 2:43 pm

hi i went onto my vaio recovery centre and did a factory restore but now its saying "windows couls not complete the installation. to install windows on this computer restart the installation" so i clicked ok and it does the same thing over and over again. i also have vaio recovery discs which i bought a while ago but i can use them as i cant see anything on my laptop screen as its broke so ive been connecting it to a monitor. can someone please help me on what to do thanks x


April 11, 2014, 10:13 pm

I brought my one 5 years ago and it's still going - not as well anymore but I've had serious use out of it and it's been brilliant. Trying to decide what to go for next as a lot of the latest laptops look plasticy - I really like the silver bevel finish on the NS. I'll definately be sticking with Sony though as this was really reliable and no issues in the first 3-4 years I've owned it.

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