When the first Sony Vaio P came out last year, I drooled over it. The design was exquisite and you’d even ask if Apple made that sexy thing. The price was too high and the specs are on the lower end. A year later, a redesigned Vaio P, the specs were bumped a little and Sony lowered the price too. You can even say it’s an engineering feat.
Hardware & Design
The design of the Vaio P is so unique that you can’t compare it to any other laptops around. The Vaio P maybe the most portable PC available in the local market. It’s so light and tiny that you can put it in any purse/man-purse. It’s even smaller than any netbook available. The design is quite a head-turner.
The body feels cheaper compared to the first generation of Vaio P. The older model feels more expensive. I don’t like the neon color of the unit. It feels very pasticky and too pink for my taste.
The screen is pretty crisp but on the dimmer side. I think Sony decided to lower the brightness to conserve battery. One thing that might frustrate any user is the smallness of the screen. The fonts are so tiny and hard to read. And on landscape mode, browsing the web is a bit of a chore since you have to scroll a lot. It’s a good thing that Sony added a “large” view toggle button for a quick change of resolution. The keyboard is surprisingly good. I wrote the entire review on this Vaio P without any trouble.
You have 3 ways for UI navigation. First, you can attach a Bluetooth or wired mouse. I was able to connect my Apple Mighty Mouse without any problem. Second, you can use the middle trackpoint button similar to any ThinkPad laptops (they replaced the old optical navigation on the previous model.) Or you can use the optical trackpad on the right side of the screen with your thumb. The left&right button is located on the left side of the screen. The last 2 options will require some learning curve to fully utilize it.
Battery and Performance
Battery life is at 3.5 hours using a WiFi or a 3G USB dongle. This is quite good for a portable laptop. It’s very ideal for those short breaks in a coffee shop. Multi-tasking is very much plausible but not recommended. You can browse the net (with 5 tabs open), edit Office Word document, fire up TweetDeck and YM messenger with ease. But start adding the windows media player or the Sony’s media player and you’ll feel some sluggishness to it.
This can be attributed to the Atom processor used in most netbooks. If you only surf the net, this baby is everything you might need. It also helped that this unit comes with 2GB of RAM and an Intel Z540 Atom 1.86GHz processor.
The system got a base score of 2.4 on Windows Experience Index with the processor getting a 2.7 sub-score.
Features and Multimedia
One of the features of the Vaio P is it has an accelerometer to turn the unit in portrait mode for browsing. The screen will reorient itself in 2-3 seconds. Since the height of the screen in landscape mode is very limited, turning it sideways will give you more screen estate. It’s good for reading documents, blogs and surfing the net. I find this feature very gimmicky. I don’t see anyone turning this unit sideways to read articles and the navigation is a bit harder.
The multimedia playback is great. I tried playing an HD movie and it played without any hiccups. It didn’t have any problem playing YouTube videos. The Vaio P really shines when playing a video. The screen is perfect for watching movies on the go. It can play 1 to 2 movies on a single full charge.
At just 1.3 pounds, the Vaio P is so light that you can watch videos in bed, it’s even better than watching on an iPad. I wish that Sony would add a backlit keyboard on the next version.
Sony Vaio P115 specs:
8″ display @ 1600×768 pixels
Intel Atom Z540 1.86GHz
2GB DDR2 RAM
64GB Sandisk SDD
Intel GMA 500
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 w/ EDR
2 x USB 2.0 ports
Memory Stick Duo/SD Card reader
After playing with this baby for a week, I’d say if you’re looking for a portable PC just for browsing the net, chatting with an IM client, watching videos and have extra moolah (and I do mean extra moolah to spend) this is the best you can get. But if you’re in a budget, don’t even think about it. This will cost you Php59,999.
At half the price, you can get an iPad. Or better yet, at quarter of that price, you can get a regular netbook. The Vaio P is obviously not for everyone. I really think that Sony created this pocket PC not to sell but to prove that they can make one. It’s a luxury gadget.
Editor’s Note: Lindt Dale is a reviews & special assignments contributor for YugaTech. The review had some minor revisions from me and you can read the 1st generation Vaio P review here for better perspective. – Yuga