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Sony Vaio VPCS11V9E/B review

The release of Intel’s Core i3 and i5 processors is likely to provoke a significant scrabble among laptop manufacturers to release a swathe of top-end, fast laptops. We review the Sony Vaio VPCS11V9E/B to find out what it's made of.

The 13.3in screen makes Windows perfectly usable, if a little low-resolution. 1,366 x 768 is fine for most jobs, although more technical users might find it a tad restrictive when working on big spreadsheets. Still, the resolution is almost on par (if a little lower) with the 13in MacBook. The screen is otherwise excellent - it's bright, with bold colours and excellent viewing angles. Below the screen is a small light sensor, used to adjust the brightness of the screen dynamically. This is a handy feature, as you don't need to squint at the function keys to dim the screen if you find yourself on a plane on a night flight.

The changes in the screen's brightness were occasionally less than subtle, and we found that the brightness could dance around a little depending on whether we moved when we were in front of the screen, but it isn't too bad. A nice touch is that when the screen dims, a bright LED light beneath the keyboard turns on, allowing you to type in the dark.

We're resigned to Sony laptops with a glossy finish by now but this one isn't overly reflective, and it makes contrast appear higher, meaning more punchy colours. While this isn't particularly handy during day to day work, those turning the S11 for a post-work DVD or gaming session will enjoy it.

Post-work gaming is something the S11 is definitely up to. Unusually for a business laptop you get a separate graphics chip, in this case the powerful Nvidia GeForce 310M. It doesn't exactly rival workstations for performance, but will handle the latest games as long as you dial back the detail settings.

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