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The cheapest Vaio laptop yet

Sony Vaio NR laptop will be released next month.

Sony Electronics

The Vaio NR popped its head up in Germany a few weeks ago, and Sony announced yesterday that its new budget laptop will make its U.S. debut next month. With a starting price of $750, it undercuts Sony's current budget model, the Vaio N, by a hefty $200. Despite its low price, Sony didn't skimp on design, outfitting the 15.4-inch, 6.2-pound with a textured chassis it describes as "fabric-like" and "pleasing to the eye and cool to the touch." You'll have your choice of three colors, which Sony calls wenge, silk, and granite and everyone else calls brown, white, and silver.

Sony lists four Vaio NR configurations. An Intel Core 2 Duo processor is offered on the highest-end config, the NR160, but the other three units, the NR110, NR120, and NR140, use lower-end Pentium Dual Core processors that operate on a 533MHz frontside bus. The entry-level Vaio NR110 model features a Pentium Dual Core T2310 CPU, 1GB of memory, a surprisingly roomy 120GB hard drive, Intel GMA X3100 graphics, b/g Wi-Fi, and a DVD burner. It all adds up to a good value, but we'd want another gigabyte of memory to ensure a pleasant experience with Vista Home Premium.