At least the screen is pretty good. It has a native resolution of 1,280x800 pixels, which isn't particularly high, but apart from a slightly narrow vertical viewing angle, it's difficult to find fault with the quality of the display itself.
Amazingly, Sony has fitted the NR11Z/S with a 200GB hard drive, which is massive for a laptop. It doesn't quite reach the current 250GB ceiling, and neither does it allow dual hard drive configurations, but it still gives you a fantastic amount of space to play with.
Though it isn't listed on the Sony Web site, the NR11Z/S does come with a DVD rewriter drive. In this case it's a Panasonic 8x dual-layer model, which comes in handy for making backups or watching DVDs.
Our NR11Z/S sample came with 158GB of free space after the operating system and various applications were installed. The laptop uses Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium edition -- which comes with Media Center -- and a bunch of software including Microsoft Works, a trial version of Microsoft Office and Adobe Reader.
The NR11Z/S has enough wireless capabilities to keep most people happy. There's no built-in infrared port and it lacks Bluetooth, so you can't wirelessly synchronise your phone with the laptop. But it does feature a Wi-Fi adaptor that can connect to the near-ubiquitous 802.11a/b/g networks.
The NR series isn't going to wow anyone with its performance, but fell in line with our expectations. It scored 3,570 in PCMark05, and 206 in 3DMark06, which indicates it's fast enough to run Vista smoothly, provided you aren't doing any serious video editing or playing games. Again, this computer won't blow your mind -- unless you're a hardcore user, it won't let you down.
Just because the Vaio NR series is a budget Sony doesn't mean it's a bad laptop. We were pleasantly surprised that it had a great specification for a very good price. If you're after a bargain laptop from a recognised and respected manufacturer, look no further.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday