Get used to seeing Sony's new low-priced VAIO NW
pop up all over the place: not only is Best Buy heavily promoting the $800 configuration as part of its Next Class campaign
, but it's a pretty great value in general -- our $880 tester with Blu-ray basically has every feature you could want in a WIndows machine. We just got it unboxed and toyed around with it a little -- it's not the smallest 15.5-inch machine we've ever seen, but it's not a clunker, either. There's just... more of it to love. Unfortunately, it's harder to love the goofy faux-wood texture that's been baked into the plastic -- it's very much like bad 80s rec room wallpaper. If you do work up the arm strength and fashion courage to lug this thing outside, however, you'll find that quick connectivity is greatly enhanced by Splashtop
, which allows you to quickly boot to a Linux-based shell and run a browser. It's a nice little perk, and it should help NW owners transition into the Chrome Age
quite nicely -- and speaking of which, Chrome is the default preinstalled browser once you boot back into Vista. Other quick notes: the screen has pretty dismal viewing angles and it's crazy glossy, the trackpad is textured (which we love), and we have no idea why Sony can't bother to at least properly align all the stickers on this thing -- it looks a bit of a mess. That's just sort of how it goes at this price point -- if you can get past the minor flaws, though, the VAIO NW certainly has a lot to offer. Quick Slashtop video demo after the break.
Sony Vaio NW unboxing and hands-on