The fact that Sony is producing a budget netbook at all is surprising. Having built a name for itself in the ultra-portable arena with an array of expensive to highly expensive machines, it can’t have been easy for the venerable tech company to see its market invaded by a slew of budget upstarts. But as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them.
You know you’re holding a Sony product as soon as you take the Vaio M out of its box. The build quality is high and the whole thing feels reassuringly well made, if a bit on the heavy side. Being one of the smallest netbooks on test, the Vaio will fit neatly in most handbags, let alone gig bags, despite tipping the scales at 1.4kg.
With an LED-lit, matte-finish screen, the Vaio M certainly won’t put a strain on your eyes, even in the most brightly lit of indoor or outdoor surroundings. As with the majority of netbooks, the screen size is 10.1 inches with a resolution of 1024x600, though you may find that certain programs and soft synths won’t be able to shrink to fit to the screen.
The Vaio M’s performance in the rundown test was the best of the smaller netbooks in terms of using Studio One and Reaper, if only by a small margin. Unfortunately, though, it struggled with Ableton Live - so much so, in fact, that it couldn’t run the demo fully.
What the Vaio M lacks in battery life it makes up for in handling marginally more plug-ins than other 10.1-inchers.