Vaio VGN-S4M full review

Last month we looked at the Sony Vaio VGN-T2XP/S and we loved the styling but hated the price tag. This month we've seen the Vaio VGN-S4M; it's not quite as easy on the eye, but the cost is a little more pleasing.

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Nevertheless, the £1,249 asking price is still high enough to put the Vaio into our Power notebook category, and you'd perhaps expect a bit more than a WorldBench 5 score of 78 - merely average for a notebook of this size.

The one outstanding feature of the Vaio, other than its stylish chassis, is the 13.3in widescreen. Using X-black technology, Sony has managed to achieve a bright, colourful image without making the screen too shiny. The 128MB GeForce Go 6200 graphics card does a reasonable job, but the frame rates suggest it won't be much good for gaming.

The battery life was a real let-down. It's a small model using a 1.6GHz Pentium M 730 processor, so you'd hope it might last a little longer than two hours and 45 minutes.

Despite the fact that it is quite small, the Vaio is very usable, with a good keyboard and decent-sized keys. You can connect to wireless networks with the 802.11b/g facilities but there aren't many connectors on offer.

The Sony has a 60GB hard drive, and if you need to back up your data there's a dual-layer DVD writer.


Vaio VGN-S4M: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M 730
  • Windows XP Home
  • 512MB DDR RAM
  • 60GB hard drive
  • 13.3in 1,280x800 TFT display
  • 128MB nVidia GeForce Go 6200 graphics card
  • 24x/24x/10x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) 8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x/3x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • 802.11g facilities
  • Microsoft Works 8.0
  • 313x225x35mm
  • 2kg
  • 1-year return-to-base warranty