$999 Blu-ray laptop with game: <br />Sony Vaio FW560F/T reviewed

For the same price as a white MacBook, Sony's stylish retail update to their FW line shaves a few hundred off the price and bumps specs.

Blu-ray and decent gaming graphics for less than a grand: Vaio FW560F/T Sarah Tew/CNET

Several months ago, one of our favorite retail laptops was the Sony Vaio FW480J/T. Besides offering no-hassle Blu-ray playback and a large if not full-HD 1,600x900-pixel resolution, 16.4-inch screen, it had decent discrete graphics that could handle many mainstream games. At the time, its $1,199 price was a little high, but very good when compared with traditional "gaming" laptops.

Just a few months later, the Sony Vaio FW560F/T has found itself at the top of our Holiday 2009 retail laptop roundup , a high-end system by definition of its price and features. At $999, however, this Vaio slips right under that psychological $1,000 line, while keeping Blu-ray and slightly improving the processor speed--and now it has Windows 7 Home Premium preinstalled instead of Windows Vista.

This has jumped from a good deal to a great deal for anyone looking for a Blu-ray-ready multimedia laptop. The package offered is a big improvement over the Vaio FW351J/H, which cost nearly the same amount of money early this summer.

On the other hand, gaming laptops have changed the landscape recently with the release of the Intel Core i7 processor. High-end laptops have never been faster, and going with a Core 2 Duo is now a significant step down from that new plateau. We can't really call the Vaio FW560F/T a gaming laptop, but it's certainly affordable, and can handle many games better than you think.

Read our review of the Sony Vaio FW560F/T .

Read the full CNET Review

Sony Vaio VGN-FW351J/H

The Bottom Line: While its overall specs are somewhat lower end for the price, the Sony Vaio VGN-FW351J/H makes up for it with sharp design and Blu-ray playback. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Sony Vaio FW480J/T

The Bottom Line: As an above-average Blu-ray-playing laptop with impressive looks and good under-the-hood power, Sony's Vaio FW480J/T is a solid portable multimedia machine. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Sony Vaio FW560F/T (brown)

The Bottom Line: With Blu-ray playback, a large screen and decent discrete graphics, the Sony Vaio FW560F/T is a very compelling sub-$1,000 multimedia notebook. / Read full review

About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.



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