Benchmarks and Conclusion
The Cinebench single CPU score is 2491, and the multi CPU score is 4464. Multiprocessor speed-up is 1.79 and Open GL performance is 2912. It rendered the test frame in dual-core mode in 3:18 minutes. Not bad at all.
ATI's HD 3470 with 256MB of DDR3 is no powerhouse, but it's still vastly superior to any IGP on the market. It scores 2550 marks and the CPU score is 1852. Nice numbers, but the high native resolution will still prevent you from enjoying many games in their full glory. Taking down the level of detail will help. Still, the bottom line is you can play games on it. On an IGP, you just can't, it's as simple as that.
Sandra thinks highly of the P8400, and the scores are quite good. A high CPU clock, lots of cache, coupled with fast memory and a good chipset prove to be a good combination, matching mid-range desktops easily.
The Vaio performs well across the board. It's a well balanced machine, suitable for many uses, affordable and good looking. We do have some complaints, but nothing big.
So should you get one? Well, it depends. In case you're looking at $1,000 15.4-inch machines, the Vaio will offer you an extra inch of screen real estate and a higher resolution in a very compact package. Let's face it, if you're planning to carry your notebook around all day long, you'll get a 12 or 13-inch model to begin with. If not, the 16.4-inch Vaio is just marginally larger and heavier than a 15.4-inch notebook and it's a very tempting alternative.
If amateur video is your game, or if you just watch a lot of movies on your notebook, it will be great. It boasts Firewire, HDMI, a powerful CPU and graphics with HD decoding. The 16:9 screen will come in handy in audio/video editing software, and you can even play around with some post production effects thanks to the fast CPU and memory. For casual gaming, or graphically undemanding genres, the Vaio will suffice. In case you're a hardcore gamer, get a desktop.
We like its design. The build quality is good, apart from the aforementioned bezel issue, most materials feel quite nice. You either love or hate the Apple-esque keyboard. Personally, I liked it, but a few people on our team didn't. It turns heads, not as much as a MacBook Air, but it still leaves quite a good impression, although a few people thought it was an Apple. Anyway, if you're too smug for Sony, you can always get an Apple.
In terms of value, the Vaio VGN-FW139E is a great deal. In fact, you can even get it for under $1,000 if you're lucky, although most retailers are listing it at $1,100+. It's worth it, without a doubt. In fact, Bestbuy is currently offering it at $899, after a $250 rebate, and you have to admit this is a bargain. This is not the first time we've seen it sell for under a grand, Newegg had a similar deal a month or two ago.
Such a reasonable price is not something you'd expect from Sony, quite the contrary. Therefore, it gets our Top Value Award, and this is where it beats any Apple out there, with or without the borrowed keyboard design.