on October 19, 2012
-GREAT portability, it is the main reason why I love this laptop! If the font was set to medium then the small screen size wouldn't strain your eyes. If you are always on the go, this laptop is for you!
-It is not the best performing laptop in the market, but considering the weight and size, battery life, screen resolution and graphic card and price it is just the best package.
-I believe it is built to be durable considering that the case is made of carbon fiber and it locks the hard drive disk if it fell or was moved accidentally.
-Mouse pad is just spacious and very comfortable. Keyboard very quiet.
-Great sound system for a laptop.
-Low heat, low fan noise *not completely silent tho*
-Good customer service over the internet.
-Has good features and pre-installed programs by vaio. A Full list is found on the products page in the attached link.
-Fingerprint reader is just in the WRONG place. I can't swipe my finger because where it is at is just too narrow.
-It could be faster, maybe an i7 processor would make this laptop much better!
-There is some flex in the keyboard, but I doubt it is problematic.
-Colour saturation of the screen isn't very brilliant.
-An hour and a half to two hours, for me, is just too much for recharging.
-Doesn't come with a recovery disk.
Note if your purchasing it:
According to the specs. on pro.sony.com, battery is supposed to last up-to 7 hours. Well at first it was showing that at 94% energy level I had 2:53 hours left. I had to chat with tech support. They told me to update the BIOS. Now I have around 5 hours available *which is a great improvement*, don't know if I can get more than that by turning the wireless connection off though. However, upon upgrading the fan noise has increased. Once the BIOS is updated it can't be downgraded even after formatting. So contacted customer service again. By lessening the number of background programs and resetting the BIOS, noise has gone down, but not completely. But it is not very annoying and the laptop is MUCH cooler now.
It comes with win 7 but can be updated to win 8 for $15 or so on Microsoft website.
In general, it's a great piece of technology!
on October 17, 2012
I bought this computer because I wanted something portable and aesthetically appealing that could also handle moderate gaming.
This computer is just slightly thinner and lighter than my 2008 aluminum-body MacBook. It's very easy to travel with. The only downside is I don't know how durable carbon fiber is. From what I've read it's supposed to be very durable. But with my Mac I would often stack a textbook or other 2-5 lb item on top and not worry about it. Not sure I'd do that with this device. Also, the VGA, three USB (2x USB 3) ports and card readers are a huge plus for connectivity. With my Mac I had to always remember my VGA adapter. No more worries, it's built in! Battery life does leave a little to be desired, especially when in performance mode, but 5-6 hours in stamina mode is respectable and works when I'm doing email/internet/office docs on the go. There is an extended battery that pretty much doubles whatever you would have without it, but it adds bulk, so I have mixed feelings about it.
It's sleek and cleans as easily (if not easier) than my Mac. The ports, vents, keyboard and mousepad aren't obtrusive, but they complement the design. The one downside is the screen. I wish it had a more solid, glossy screen like my old Mac did. The high res (1600x900) screen is great for the price and much nicer than the 1280x800 my Mac had, but it's not quite as pretty or easy to clean.
For the price and portability, this thing is a true powerhouse. To be fair, I swapped the HD for a Corsair 240 GT SATA-3/6GBs SSD and also maxed out the RAM by the third day I owned it. Wasn't too difficult, just need a really tiny Phillips head screwdriver and if you don't know what you're doing, find a tutorial online. The thing boots is less than 15 seconds... transfers files more than twice as fast as my Mac did (USB 3 is probably part of that), and handles moderate-demand games on medium to high settings, no problem (World of Warcraft on highest setting was playable, but slightly laggy, using middle setting, no problems).
Need a does-everything-device including gaming and speed? This can't be beat for Amazon's price. Other laptops certainly are more portable OR more beautiful OR better for gaming, but for a great balance of all three, especially on a budget, I strongly recommend this machine.
on December 27, 2012
I love this, it's thin and light enough to be nearly ultraportable but as powerful as mainstream 'thick' laptops.
CPU is standard mobile type which is alot faster than the ULV (U) cpus of the ultraportables, and the main attraction is the discrete Nvidia GT640M LE (Kepler) GPU which can handle modern games at medium settings. A simple bios mod can turn the GPU into a GT640M class performer which will double the performance vs. the standard bios (a HUGE bonus to mobile gamers). The gaming performance of this is light years ahead of the ultraportables.
I removed one star due to the standard LCD, although resolution is great at 1600x900, the viewing angles and quality of the screen is just average. Sony should have slapped in an IPS panel similar to the Vaio S15. There are also visible LCD backlight bleeding on certain angles at the bottom of the screen.
For the price i got this ($799, black friday sale), it is a STEAL!
on December 15, 2012
Received this computer on Dec. 11, 2012. So far it's everything I was hoping it would be and more. It's gorgeous, light weight, made extremely well and has the feel of a very expensive computer. I have put this computer through several tests and it has come through with very high marks. The only exception is a strange conflict with my Norton Anti Virus and the Vaio Care Program. It seems all Vaios have this problem with Norton. Maybe that's why Sony uses Kaspersky Anti Virus. The conflict is no big deal. What happens is when you update "Run Live Updates" in Norton, a patch is generated and is unable to be installed until you re-boot. As I said, it's a strange conflict, but no big deal. Norton works great and Sony's Vaio Care is terrific as well. The Windows Experience Index numbers are very high, except for the Graphics Desktop Performance for Windows Aero. That number is 5.8, but I need to update the drivers and tweak the system. (see below). The number should be a minimum of 6.8 when I'm through. Remember, the NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE that comes installed on this system is not being scored for Aero. The entire Windows Experience Index Numbers are as follows:
Processor Intel i5-3210M CPU @2,50GHz 7.1
Memory (RAM) 6GB 7.4
Graphics Intel HD 4000 5.8
Gaming Graphics 1696 MB Total Available Graphics Memory 6.8
Primary Hard Disk 532GB Free (576GB Total) 5.9
Keep in mind that the Index is scoring the Intel HD 4000 GPU. The 5.8 number is not the true index number of the
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE that comes with the system. I need to figure out if it's possible to score the NVDIA without scoring the Intel HD 4000. Movies and videos are awesome. Every program opens and closes fast. I had 9 programs opened and a movie was playing at the same time and this computer didn't even hiccup. The speakers aren't all that bad either for a laptop. This computer is the real deal. You can't help but love this machine. There is one other slight grievance and that is the screen could be brighter and the colors softer, but you'd need to spend $400 more for all that and what you get in this computer.
To sum up this review, if you want a real beautiful & powerful computer without spending thousands, this is it. There are many, many options on this computer I didn't speak about, such as the beautiful lighted keyboard and the carbon fiber material the case is made of. Check out the specs and the price and you'll be plenty surprised at what you can get for under a thousand dollars. BTW, the most important feature for me was that this computer has a Windows 7 O/S. I tried Windows 8 and I must say I really don't like it. I'm not sure how long these Windows 7 computers will be available, but if you want a real nice machine for a decent price with almost all the bells and whistles, don't wait. You may get shut out. This machine will be YOUR machine for the next 7 or 8 years. Hope this review helps you decide which computer to get...
on August 21, 2015
I love the form factor. I love the keyboard and mouse. It is a great machine, but I would probably have chosen a bigger laptop for gaming was I given a second chance. It just seems this laptop was not made for a dedicated card. It struggles so much to cool itself.
That being said, it has the worst screen I have ever seen on a laptop. No viewing angle. No, you read that correctly: no viewing angle. There is a very specific orientation you need to have it at for the screen to look at all normal. Any slight deviation results in bright white washing out the screen. The resolution is a sharp 1600x900, but if you have Windows 8.1, this is the very worst thing. Windows has no idea what to do with a resolution like this, so it forces you to have a blurry, zoomed-in view of everything (a "feature" that you must manually disable on each and every program you use!) ... thankfully, Windows 10 fixed this!!
Another critique I have only applies to a very small portion of the population: audiophiles. That is people who spend big money on high-end audio equipment. The USB ports on this machine are not sufficient to feed audio into a DAC. It certainly cannot power a USB DAC, and even using one with its own power supply causes issues. The sound quality just isn't there. This is a shame, but I suspect most laptops have this issue, especially Windows machines. Again, most people will not care. But for the few looking for a portable solution for stellar audio, steer clear. I should also mention the built-in speakers are crap. At their highest volume, my cell phone (iPhone 5) is twice as loud. And the quality is an abomination.
Assuming you have the screen at the right angle, it makes for a very enjoyable PC experience. The specs are excellent for virtually any task, and many games can be played at medium to high settings (no newer games, of course).
on February 16, 2013
This is better than your average laptop. Not a MacBook Pro killer, but a more than capable machine that can suit just about anyone's needs.
-Comfortable, satisfying keyboard. I write for a living, so trust me. Chiclet-style keys here are great.
-Core i5 processor and Nvidia graphics make for great performance. Loading HD videos, opening dozens of tabs, and editing images is no problem at all on this thing. The Nvidia GPU isn't top of the line, but still plenty powerful enough to play just about every modern video game on medium-to-high settings. It's not a gaming laptop, obviously, but it will do for a Steam session every now and then.
-Sex appeal. This is a good looking device, but I've always been a fan of the Vaio brand. Not heavy either. Using the Vaio S is just a pleasurable experience.
-Minimal crapware. Sony pre-loads some stuff on here, but it's not a ton, and the programs it does have are actually useful. Especially dig the functionality with the PS3, the 60 day free trial to Music Unlimited (which is underrated), and the Sony Vegas media suite. All worth using.
-Viewing angles are rough. If you're not looking at the screen dead-on, everything becomes a little whitewashed and distorted. You get used to it after a while, and the screen looks great when viewed correctly, but don't expect multiple users to come huddle around the screen here.
-The lid. No, I haven't had any problems with the hardware itself yet, but the cover to this thing just feels flimsy. I've been especially careful with it as a result, and I don't think the Vaio S would be well suited to frequent travelers. Take this point with a grain of salt, but just exercise caution.
-Can get loud. Battery life is solid (around 5 hours from what I can tell), but it can make a little bit of noise when put under stress. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but don't expect pure silence here.
Overall: Recommended to anyone looking for a good looking, general purpose machine. Great for multimedia, great for productivity. Even does some gaming too. I bought this on a Black Friday sale for $950, which was really a no brainer decision. For its normal price of $1200, it's definitely one of the better options. Not the best, mind you, but a great option for those who want to stick with Windows. Good job Sony!
on November 28, 2012
Update, 12/7/12: I installed an Intel 240GB SSD for $188 and Corsair Vengeance 8GB stick for $40. With the laptop at $949 for a total of $1177, I got a lightweight build of 3.8lbs, a full voltage i5 Processor, a solid mid-range discrete card, 1600x900 matte screen, 12GB RAM, and the fast responsiveness of an SSD drive. I think this is the best value out there and quite difficult to match.
Having tested and returned various Sony Laptops in recent years, the common theme was lower build quality paired with being over-priced. I decided to take another chance on this system after reading up on some of the specifications which seemed like an improvement over previous generations. I am very satisfied that I did.
First off, I would describe this machine as a providing the benefits of a lightweight Intel Ultrabook as many of them weigh as much as 4lbs. This particular model weighs only 3.8 and you have a Full Voltage Processor, discrete graphics, DVD drive and similar slim profile!
It is an attractive piece of hardware. The carbon fiber doesn not pick up fingerprints. Sony finally put in the features that finally bring this laptop into the premium tier of its PC competition with a slot loaded DVD drive that is not a Z series model, the aforementioned slim profile, a solid mid-range gaming card that can be overclocked, and for the first time since I have been purchasing Sony notebooks, a relatively quiet fan! Wahoo!
The 1600x900 matte screen is a huge plus. Though the viewing angles are not as comparable with an IPS quality screen, it is certainly more than adequate for my needs providing good color contrasts head on. The keyboard is backlit though the light bleeds a bit. For anyone who has used a Macbook, you can see the difference as that keyboard's lighting is much more subtle and soft. The keyboard itself experiences some flex but certainly not distracting or troublesome. Both keyboard issues are not a deal breaker for me.
The trackpad is among the best I have used for the PC. Very responsive gestures but certainly no Macbook which is still the best in the industry. Considering the PC offerings currently available, I'd say this is great quality as it is also quiet clicking as well and accidental gestures are at a minimum though I wish the trackpad was a bit narrower on the right side as sometimes my right palm gets in the way. But there have been no accidental clicks and that is a HUGE PLUS. I have also owned an X220 built for business users but the terrible, accidental mouse clicking was much too frequent. I am happy to say that is non-existent here but because my right palm is usually over the trackpad, the cursor sometimes moves! Not great but not a deal breaker. Two finger scrolling on web is very responsive and impressive versus PC counterparts and nearly as good as the Macbook. The horizontal scrolling with 3 fingers is not in the Macbook's 2 finger scrolling type of responsiveness but again it is among the better ones for PC offerings.
The 640LE Nvidia graphics chip is a huge plus and makes this system a great all-in-one laptop. There is some fan noise that picks up during heaving gaming but at idle it is only hint of background noise. The fan noise cannot be avoided on ANY laptop playing a game and for those looking for a quiet laptop gaming, it just doesn't exist! That being said, the level on this laptop is very acceptable. I have only run The Old Republic and it was smooth at 1600x900 at medium settings. Again, compared with previous Sony laptops, this is the most quiet fan I have used.
The hinge for the screen seems like a noticeable improvement over last year's SE models that would shake when moving the laptop. Opening and closing this model seems much more sturdy and, dare I say, close to Macbook Air like. I have a 13 Air and it is very comparable though the Mac is still better on the build quality.
I have not fully tested the battery life, but so far with just Internet usage and word processing, I have got nearly five hours on Stamina mode. Good for a full powered laptop.
Speaking of Mac, comparing build quality overall, you will not beat that line of laptops but for about $300 less than I spent for a Macbook Air 13, I got much more for my money...
1. Higher Resolution Matte Screen
2. Discrete Video
3. More RAM
4. Easily upgradeable components -- SSD or additional RAM
5. Slot Loaded Drive
6. More selection of input devices -- hdmi, vga, LAN
In summary, it is not the perfect laptop but it is an all-in-one compact that really is hard to beat for the price!
on November 28, 2012
I received this laptop yesterday. I have spent more than 8 hours testing it. So far it works very well. I recommend you remove the antivirus software which comes with the laptop and install AVG antivirus free. I also recommend you create Recovery Media after updating VAIO software and Windows 7. It took more than 4 hours creating the recovery media (with verify my media option) and need 3 DVD DL discs. Excellent way to burn in the computer to see if it has bad components on arrival. Screen is of excellent quality and has no dead pixel. I have checked the comparable laptop at a SONY store at a local mall before buying so I know I will like the feel of the screen (personal taste). Paid $800 on Black Friday Deal. The five star is based on the best configuration and quality for that money.
on December 23, 2012
I purchased it with a lightning deal on Amazon. The machine is great, especially the lightweight of it. I use it for many things including light gaming. I haven't tried heavy games such as Farcry 3 or Crysis 2. However i have heard it can play some heavy games when running with the mod BIOS. With $800 you cannot find the better laptop than this one. I have used Dell XPS 14 before this one and Dell sucks. Therefore for those who are considering between the Dell XPS 14 and Sony Vaio S series, i would recommend Sony.
on August 8, 2015
Stylish, relatively lightweight, runs fast if you replace the preinstalled system with a clean one. Touchpad is surprisingly good. The screen is a major let-down with washed out color. There seems to be no way to get the color right. The fonts also feels "out of focus" and cannot be fixed after a few calibration with the system tool. I hate the screen so much that I use an external display instead.