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April 22, 2010

A quick introduction, and the super-green Sony VAIO W Mini Notebook

Hi there. I’m Ben Rudolph, and I’m a PC Evangelist (read: hardware nerd) here in the Windows group. Starting today, I’m going to be covering everything related to the big, beautiful world of Windows PCs. I’ll dig in deeper into who I am and what to expect from me and my posts in the next few days, but wanted to say a quick hello now so I could get posting. These killer PCs aren’t going to write about themselves!

Anyway, today is Earth Day, so I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about green PCs. You’ve already seen our interview with Jeff Omelchuk of the Green Electronics Council where he talks about all of the work Microsoft and our partners are doing to make PCs green to buy and green to own. But today I wanted to take the green concept a step further and talk about a PC that’s green in an unconventional way.

I’m talking about the Sony W series mini notebook.  Not only is it EPEAT Gold Certified and Energy Star 5.0 compliant, the W is made from 23% recycled CDs and DVDs! On top of that, the W’s carrying case is made from 100% recycled PET bottles (i.e., soda and water bottles. This is a pretty neat take on green; rather than putting more waste into landfills; Sony took waste out and turned it into a cool little machine.


When you pick the W up, its recycled origins are immediately apparent – it’s lid has the same smooth matte texture as an unburned DVD, which is a welcome change from the standard polished polycarbonate that many netbooks sport. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, thanks to a well thought-out “island” style set of keys. Despite its small size, I found myself mistyping much less frequently than on some small keyboards.

Under the hood is a gig of RAM (which I upped to 2GB), a 250GB hard drive and an Atom N450 processor, which offers responsive performance and good battery life. Coupled with Sony’s extended battery, I got nearly 8 hours of actual use time before losing power. What really makes this netbook one of my personal favorites, however, is the screen. Sony’s dropped a 1366 x 768 resolution LED screen into the W, meaning you get the same screen real estate on a 10” screen that you do on many 13” screens. That extra resolution (compared to standard 1024 x 600 netbook screen resolution) really comes in handy when you’re browsing the web and working on documents, and makes the W feel like it’s bigger than it is.

It runs Windows 7 like a dream – I’ve got mine loaded with Ultimate – and all in all, I’ve been very happy using as my primary on-the-road PC for the last few weeks. The fact that it’s an excellent example of how our partners are taking green to the next level scores it bonus points in my book.

You can get yours directly from Sony, starting at $449.