I have always been biased with Sony notebooks ever since I got a hold of my first ever Sony laptop five years ago. Boy, was it impressive. It was sleek, light, solid and downright beautiful. It also never gave me problems for the N number of years I had it. (True story.) I later on switched to a netbook for mobility and relied on my office desktop for other things. So when I was offered to do a review on a 13.3” Sony notebook , I accepted without hesitation.
First Impressions Always Last
As I unveiled the wrapping of the Sony VAIO S (VPCS125FG) laptop, I can’t help but feel like it’s Christmas morning! The outside black surface had a matte finish and has the signature VAIO chrome logo placed smack at the center of the lid. This series also comes in white, light pink and light green by the way.
Since I’m a netbook owner, 2 kg for a notebook is heavier than what I’m used to but I thought it was tolerable for the 13.3” size. I was handling it with such care – the surface may be matte but it was very much prone to fingerprints.
I was never a fan of black laptops because I thought it was too much of a generic color but this one had a finish that just made it look elegant – a true piece of art. It made me want to go to the nearest Starbucks with WIFI and be caught working with it!
The design is actually very simple with lines and curves at the right areas. It has a very minimalist look to it – somewhat assuring you that using it won’t be complicated. True enough, inside it is a grey-colored keyboard area with six rows of raised black buttons for the keys of the keyboard, a slightly-raised palm rest with a multi-touch-pad and two buttons at the upper left – VAIO and ASSIST, for quick-access to VAIO media software and the Help menu. Beside those two buttons is a sensor to trigger the backlit keyboard.
Even the backlit keyboard got me all impressed. The moment I switched the lights off in my room, the keyboard gradually lit up and the screen slowly dimmed. It’s like the notebook was breathing and had a life of its own. Oh and the green halo around the power switch looks really sleek.
Going Into Detail
The Sony VAIO S Series laptop runs on Intel Core i3-350M processor at 2.26 GHz that features Intel Hyper-Threading Technology for smart multitasking on Windows 7. It also has an NVIDIA GeForce 310M GPU with CUDA Technology so you could play more than your average games and edit HD movies with ease.
The screen has a glossy 13.3-inch wide (1366 x 768) TFT color display with LED backlight that has good detail and color clarity, perfect for gamers and movie-watchers. The Sony VAIO S Series laptop has a 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM (upgradeable up to 8 GB) memory, 320 GB hard disk drive(Serial ATA, 5400 rpm) and a DVD±RW drive. Count on Sony to put together a good multimedia system.
Earlier on, I mentioned how simple-looking the keyboard area was at first glance. At the sides of the notebook, we have other elements that, in my opinion, were ergonomically placed. No elements were placed at the back of the notebook – all were placed at the sides and in front, just well within our reach. The laptop power socket and the power switch can be found on both sides of the notebook, close to the rear, just like the LAN socket. These are little details that I look into, cause I don’t like cables being in the way in case they are all connected.
There are also 3 high speed 2.0 USB slots – one at the left and two at the right. All notebooks should have at least 3 USB slots and distributed on both sides, in my opinion. The DVD±RW drive opens at the right side of the notebook with the eject button at the front – something that is atypical for me but it’s just a matter of getting used to.
You’ll find the other important elements such as the Wireless on/off switch, microphone and headphones jack, HDMI slot, video out socket, Bluetooth and iLink connector. As for memory card readers, they also included an SD Memory Card slot along with the usual Sony Memory Stick slot. Thank God for that.
The built-in audio comes through the stereo just right above the keyboard and is loud enough for personal use. The volume controls, brightness and other function keys are found at the first row of the keyboard.
Sony must have invested their time and effort into designing a notebook this simple, sleek and ergonomically sound. The overall design of this notebook is very minimalist and professional – very tasteful. I like it that Sony did not overdesign. It goes well with the saying that “Less is more”.
Windows 7 is bundled with the notebook. I think it was a pleasant experience to be using this OS with a multimedia-capable laptop such as a VAIO – the graphics are stunning and there’s no delay while I had Illustrator, Firefox, Word, Excel and iTunes running in the background.
There’s the Sony VAIO Gate that is an animated task bar you can pull down from the top of your screen that gives you quick access to commonly used applications. It looks nifty at first but it becomes irritating whenever you want to close or minimize a window. There are also a handful of Sony apps installed that a techie user may find unnecessary.
The battery life is pretty average for a Core i3 notebook with me being able to use it for a good 3-4 hours while having a lot of programs running in the background.
Sony never fails to impress me with their line of notebooks and the Sony VAIO S is one of those that would attest to Sony’s brilliance when it comes to producing notebooks. Other than it being ergonomically sound, having a minimalist, solid and professional-looking design makes the notebook perfect for all those who could be serious, and at the same time targets those who are multimedia enthusiasts or “fun at heart”. It truly delivers performance and mobility to suit your professional and personal needs.
The Sony VAIO S stands at Php72,999.00 – admittedly pricey but you will be getting your money’s worth because you’re not just paying for the brand, you’re paying for the quality that comes with it.
Sony VAIO S (VPCS125FG) Specs:
- Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-350M Processor 2.26 GHz
- OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
- Display: 13.3″ wide (WXGA: 1366 x 768) VAIO Display, LED backlight
- Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5650 1GB DDR3
- HDD: 500 GB HDD
- RAM: 4GB DDR3 (expandable to 8GB)
- Optical Drive: Super-Multi DVD+RW
- Ports: USB 2.0 x 3, VGA, HDMI, Firewire, Gigabit LAN, SD/MS Card Reader
- Wireless Connection: WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1
- Battery: 5000mah 6-cell Li-Ion
- Weight: 4.2 lbs.
Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Liane Ng with some slight revisions by the editor. Li sold her 4-year old VAIO at a really good price. A rip-off even. Either she’s got good marketing skills or the VAIO really has good resale value.