My reason for buying concerns the physical aspects of the user interface to an ordinary consumer. I didn't set out to buy this model, nor spend so much, but I came to a realization about what was important to me (well, my wife felt the same way!).
Starting with the screen, the first thing I encountered each time during many hours' comparisons down the shops: I was looking at other models from Acer, HP and Samsung, which tended to have this glass-look screen. They look flashy and it's easy to think that these glassy screens belong to high-end models on the cutting edge, but I'm informed that they're a cheap way of getting a good colour and contrast effect out of an LCD screen. The drawback is the hideous screen reflections: ambient light bouncing all over the place, and you can see yourself at all times in the mirror, which is distracting even when you learn to focus through it. 'Serious' machines like the HP ProBooks I saw don't have these screens - but then, the image looks a little lacklustre. Enter the Vaio, fantastic picture with no reflections and views very nicely from the side. It's actually soothing to watch, rather stressless. NOTE: not all Vaios have the top-end screen.
The next way I interact with the laptop is the touch pad and keyboard. The keyboard feels great, love the key separation, but where the Vaio really excels is the touch pad, which was very responsive, the best I tried over the two days I compared: accurate, and able to wiz the cursor either side of the screen in one go. Thumb buttons nicely placed, too. (though I agree with the first reviewer about the ThinkPad method)
I try not to care about looks, but for this money it's not unimportant. I felt this machine had a tasteful design; simple and stylish, harmonious with itself. Not distracting.Read more ›
Mr GumbyTOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Nov 2010
Terrific machine. I have some gripes but no real issues. My gripes won't bother a lot of people but I've come from a series of ThinkPads and these are the things I miss. I list them just to help anyone going through a painful decision-making process:
1. No Trackpoint (if you've never had a ThinkPad, you won't care) 2. No keyboard light (or illuminated keyboard) 3. No fingerprint reader 4. No dedicated back/forward keys 5. No dedicated volume keys (have to use Fn with F1/F2/F3) 6. The Page Up/Down keys are illogically arranged horizontally instead of vertically 7. Ditto Home/End keys 8. The disk activity light is on the front of the machine, hidden from view 9. So far, I prefer the feel of the TP keyboard - less resistance, less springy and less rattly - although the Vaio works well enough.
Anything else? Well, the Vaio is 0.6 kg heavier at 3.2 kg than the TP and has shorter battery life. It also makes a lot of fan noise at times - irritating but I can live with it.
[Update: With an Acronis data backup running to a USB drive but almost nothing else happening, total CPU is about 40% and it's unpleasantly noisy, producing lots of heat, like a tiny fan heater. It could get pretty intolerable in a quiet room if you had lots of heavy-duty work to do.]
The TP offers some interesting options that aren't available on the Vaio, such as integrated mobile BB and integrated smartcard reader. It has 4 memory slots, so you can buy smaller, cheaper chips to make up a given total, and has RAID as standard with the option of adding a second HDD. It has "airbags" for the drives too.
So, why did I switch? Price, mainly. I no longer travel on public transport much with my laptop, so build quality wasn't as important.Read more ›
Build quality. I've had plenty of laptops in the last years and I can say that the build quality is brilliant. Everything fits together very well, there is no give in any key points (the keyboard for example) and it feels very solid. This is also not the premium black with the faux leather palmrest which can warp/peel off.
Style. I find it a real shame that ther is no metal/aluminium, its all a hard plastic. It feels strong enough, and isn't at all bad, its just you can get a hp for £350 with brushed aluminium etc, for £1000+ I would expect a little more! Alot of laptops look pretty bad, this is simple but with some really nice touches (power light and plug for example)
Temperature. The temperatures of laptops is really important. This laptop keeps very cool (results in loud fan though - see bad points) This means there is much less chance of hardware failure etc. I have had laptops that shut down while watching videos because they get too hot!
Keyboard. The keyboard is a real treat to use, I couldn't think of an improvement.
Battery life. Its pretty terrible to be honest. I havn't done a test but it won't last more than an hour i guess. The battery is physically tiny though, and you can buy an extended battery which will improve this.
Fan noise. It is very loud. When you are just on the internet its fine, not silent (but considering its hardware thats no supprise) but its much louder than other laptops (my old dell xps 17 for example) when its playing games etc and really starts to get going. The advantages of this is that you can be happy that your GPU isn't burning out - but it still seems needlessly noisy!