The Bottom Line
- Blu-ray Compatible Drive
- Nice Keyboard and Trackpad
- Well Priced
- Uses Slower DDR2 Memory
- Older Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
- Slightly Below Average Battery Life
- Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory
- 400GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-Ray Player/DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 15.5" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- ATI Mobility Radeon 4570 Dedicated Graphics With 512MB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, FireWire, HDMI, VGA, ExpressCard/34, SD Card Slot, MemoryStick Slot
- 14.6" x 9.8" x 1.2" @ 6 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, VAIO Suite, Norton Internet Security
Guide Review - Sony VAIO VGN-NW280F/B 15.5-inch Thin And Light Laptop PC
Nov 13 2009 - The key feature to the Sony VAIO VGN-NW280F/B is the Blu-ray compatible optical drive that allows the system to be used for playing back high definition Blu-ray movies. For a laptop that is priced under $1000, this is a fairly significant feature and is what makes the laptop a strong draw to multimedia enthusiasts on a budget. The system can also playback and record CD and DVD media on the drive. Beyond the Blu-ray drive, the hard drive storage is a moderate sized 400GB drive that is smaller than the majority of 15-inch laptops now featuring 500GB drives.
Previous versions of the VAIO NW series used integrated graphics that worked fine for the Blu-ray playback but restricted for other video functions. The VGN-NW280F/B comes equipped with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 dedicated graphics processor with 512MB of memory. This allows the laptop to play casual 3D games up to the panel's 1366x768 resolution in moderate to lower detail levels. Don't expect to really push higher resolutions with an external display without lower detail levels.
General performance is below average for the VAIO VGN-NW280F/B. Sony uses an older Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 dual core processor rather than the newer 8000 or 9000 series models. This is compounded by the fact that Sony is also using the older DDR2 memory rather than DDR3. It provides enough performance for the Blu-ray playback but it does fall behind similarly priced 15-inch laptops when it comes to tasks such as video editing or gaming.
Battery life on the VAIO VGN-NW280F/B is not quite as long as some multimedia users might like. Users can expect to get roughly two and a half hours of DVD playback. Blu-ray playback will be lower as more processor and graphics power is used. Standard use will get about another hour for roughly three and a half hours of use. This is a bit below the average but the system is a bit more compact with a smaller battery pack.
Using the VGN-NW280F/B is a joy as Sony continues to use their isolated keyboard layout design that prevents frequent typing mistakes from the traditional closely laid out keys. The trackpad also provides a nice texture that makes it very smooth to use and the raised buttons have just the right amount of resistance.
The end result is a laptop that is very much suited towards people who want a decent general purpose laptop with some strong multimedia features such as Blu-ray support. If you don't need or want Blu-ray on your laptop, there are much strong options available.