With 4GB of RAM that you won't be able to take full advantage of with its 32-bit Windows Vista OS (it'll only use about 3.5GB, and here's why), Sony's new 15-inch Vaio NW-series laptop is a curious addition to the Vaio range.
It's a capable machine, coming at the end of this month, which supports up to 8GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB hard disk, one of ATI's higher-end Radeon 4570 graphics chips and a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU. It'll output 1080p movies over HDMI and claims to offer up to 3 hours of battery life.
But with an 8GB memory limit, it's a laptop crying out for a 64-bit operating system. Do most users need a 64-bit OS though? No, not really, not unless you're processing enormous mathematical calculations and desperately need a billion gigabytes of RAM for editing photos. So don't go buying this on the grounds that you can shove 8GB of memory into it for use with Vista.
Deliberate nitpicking aside, this is a very neat little machine with excellent specifications. Even the highest-end configuration (as described above) will cost you a very acceptable £849. And with a 16:9 aspect ratio display running at an acceptable-but-could-be-better 1,366x768-pixel resolution, it's ready for playing HD movies on the go or outputting them over HDMI, playing fairly modern games and storing your entire media library without cutbacks.
We're impressed, and although we had a lengthy discussion about how its screen resolution could be significantly more impressive, it is, on the whole, a compelling sub-£900 laptop. Good going, Sony.
It'll be on sale later this month and all being well we'll have a review for you shortly. Some bonus pictures over the page.
A decent keyboard seems to have been given to the Vaio NW, and some quick launch buttons under the display give quick access to a Web browser without Vista needing to be booted. We're not sure which one yet.