Sony's VAIO W netbook reviewed: personable and pricey, and that's pretty much it

After Sony's unorthodox VAIO P, did you really expect the outfit's first "real netbook" to burn the house down? With Microsoft's inane hardware restrictions still firmly in place on Windows XP-based netbooks, there's only so much differentiating Sony can do, and evidently those subtle tweaks didn't exactly justify the higher-than-average $499 price tag. Computer Shopper managed to give the unit a spin a few weeks prior to its US release, and while it definitely appreciated the 1,366 x 768 resolution display, the cramped keyboard, painfully lackluster 3-cell battery and commonplace performance didn't exactly elicit huge grins across the review room. Naturally, the design here is pretty notable, but with ASUS' Eee Seashell line already lookin' pretty decent for a lot less cheddar, we'd agree that Sony's going to have to do better than put a pretty face on a vanilla set of innards to get our next five Benjamins.