There are ultraslim laptops, there are netbooks – and then there is the Sony Vaio X. Technically, Sony’s 14mm-thick marvel fits into both of the categories listed above. But it makes a mockery of any other laptop that claims to be an ultraslim, superslim or any other invented adjective.

Remember when the Apple Air's inch-thick dimensions seemed incredible? The Vaio X is around half as thin again. It barely has the mass to support itself. In fact, it flexes worryingly in the middle if you push down too hard on the keyboard.

Stunning design

You'll want to take care of the Vaio X, though. It is, quite simply, gorgeous. Lighter than a Sunday newspaper and only 50g heavier than an iPad, it's a remarkable piece of engineering.

And yet it remains comfortable to use. The tiny keyboard doesn't feel cramped at all, and the 11in screen is gloriously bright and sharp. Considering the size of the power cell, the six-hour battery life is quite an achievement, too.

The only physical aspects of the Vaio X that suffer for its size are the unreasonably minute mousepad and a dearth of connectors and ports. We can live with just two USB inputs, especially as there's a 3G modem built in, but doing away with the microphone jack – as the Vaio X does – is going to hurt Skype users.

Netbook processor

The real problem, though, is with the second category to which the Vaio X arguably belongs. Its Atom processor makes it more akin to netbooks like the MSI Wind than something like the Asus UL30.


It's by far the most expensive portable computer based on Intel's Atom processor, outdoing Sony's own previous high-end folly, the Vaio P.

There are a few mitigating factors: it's a far more useful machine than the Vaio P and the 1.86GHz Atom is faster than most. In fact, so long as you aren't multitasking or trying to watch HD videos, you might even forget you're using a netbook processor.

The price, however, may well remind you of that fact. If you want thin and light, admire the Vaio X, but go buy a more powerful and better value Acer's Timeline X or Sony's own Vaio Z instead.


Stuff says... 

Sony VAIO X review

Wafer-thin and utterly gorgeous, but the Vaio X is just too expensive for an Atom-based laptop