Most 'designer' laptops tend to be minuscule -- the Asus U1 and Sony's own TX Series being prime examples. Sony has bucked this trend by jazzing up its £999 13-inch range, which comes in a variety of swanky colours.
We tested out the blue version of the laptop -- which to give it its full title is called the Sony Vaio VGN-C2S/L.CEK -- but you can also buy it in green or pink.
You're either going to love or loathe the vivid blue on the outside of this Vaio, but whatever you think, it's hard to get away from the sense that it makes the laptop feel more Fisher Price than Sony.
One thing that stood out during our initial hands-on is was how difficult it was to open. There's no screen latch to contend with, but the front and rear quarters look very similar -- call us stupid but there were countless occasions where we tried to yank it open from the wrong end.
The blue inside the laptop is less intense than outside, and there are hundreds of tiny indentations around the keyboard, which helps to break up the sea of azure. Should your retinas object to the respite, the area around the mouse trackpad is finished in the same blue as found on the lid.
The keyboard is large considering the size of the laptop. It stretches nearly the full width of the chassis and has keys that are larger than those found on most laptops, regardless of size. We haven't always been fans of Sony's boxy-looking keys but we achieved a good typing speed on the C2 with a high accuracy rate.
The C2 is a good compromise of size and portability. Its chunky chassis allows for the installation of a 13.3-inch widescreen display, and at 2.3kg, it's not overly heavy. Our only gripe would be that it's a tad chunky-looking -- considering Sony's efforts with the VGN-UX1XN, this laptop could have been thinner and lighter.
Below the mouse buttons is a set of icons etched into the plastic, and below those, corresponding LED lights that show power status, low battery alerts, plus hard drive, optical drive and memory stick activity. This is all standard fare but we like the mirrored panel above the keyboard, which shrouds six LED status lights denoting wireless activity, num lock, caps lock and scroll lock status.
The C2 uses 1GB of DDR2 533MHz RAM and the slowest Core 2 Duo processor in the range -- the 1.66GHz U5500 model. This isn't something you'd want to write home about, and neither is the onboard Intel GMA 950 graphics card, which is best described as 'basic'.
The 120GB hard drive is an average amount of storage space, but is in line with what we'd expect from a Sony laptop at this price point. It's backed up by an integrated dual-layer Toshiba DVD burner, which can write up to 8.5GB of data per dual-layer disc -- 4.5GB otherwise.