Sony goes for the low end with its VAIO NR Series, and even though the company says these are the cheapest laptops it's ever rolled out, they're still graced with a unique textured finish that we haven't seen on a notebook before. Sony's not skimping on screen size, with a 15.4-inch display, but the company's holding out on us with screen resolution, with the NR's widescreen showing a myopic 1280 x 800 rez. The more expensive models in this cheap line even include Intel Core 2 Duo processors inside. Besides that lower price, these laptops have even more crispy goodness going for them.
The most striking characteristic of the notebooks are their fabric-like finishes, which Sony describes as feeling like "cool linen to the touch." The lowest-priced model 110 ($750) is also called the Granite VAIO, with a matte silver case that looks more like rock than linen. The other colors are Wenge, which is brown with copper accents, and Silk which is a fancy schmancy word for white.
This must be an unusually capable notebook, because the ace reviewers at Laptop Magazine gave it an Editor's Choice designation, adding that "aside from some minor quibbles, the Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/S is a relatively speedy, solid notebook, and the fact that you can get such performance for just over $800 is a huge win for design-conscious consumers." Also, they liked that low-res display, calling it "crisp."