The Sony Vaio NR11 Z is a portable, functional notebook, available in silver or brown.

The silver Sony Vaio NR11 Z looks striking and, for a budget notebook costing just £649, offers great performance in most areas. The brown version is similar, but it's, well, brown.

There's a rugged, perforated feel to the Sony Vaio NR11 Z's cover and areas beside the keyboard. This effect is stylish but may not be to everyone’s taste.

For a 15.4in laptop the Sony Vaio NR11 Z is slim and easy to carry, weighing just 2.8kg. It's mainly metallic and simply laid out - compared to the busy keyboard of notebooks such as the Acer Aspire 4920 Gemstone. The thin speaker strip above the keyboard is stylish but unobtrusive.

Although the keys of the Sony Vaio NR11 Z's keyboard are not as raised as those of other 15.4in laptops they are easy to use. The trackpad is large and responsive but the buttons below it make a loud, irritating clicking noise when depressed.

There are two quick-launch buttons. One can be programmed to launch various applications on the Sony Vaio NR11 Z and the AV-mode button launches Windows Media Center.

The Sony Vaio NR11 Z is well kitted out, featuring a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, a healthy 2GB RAM and a whopping 200GB hard disk capacity. Other notable elements include the extensive software selection which features applications such as VAIO Music Box, WinDVD 8.0 and Norton 360 Internet Security.

We find the Sony Vaio NR11 Z's screen a little washed out. It also suffers from annoting reflections at certain angles. Another weakness of the NR11 Z is its lack of Bluetooth support. This seems strange given the extensive feature-set.

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