0Ultrabook logo laptop vaio sonyMini Review: Sony Vaio SB 13″ Notebook

As men­tioned pre­vi­ously, I have recently ordered (for a fam­ily mem­ber) a Sony Vaio SB.  Anandtech recently car­ried out a detailed review, so I have no inten­tion of rein­vent­ing the wheel.  This is just a sup­ple­ment­ary review address­ing a few addi­tion­al thoughts

  • The laptop is very quiet — con­trary to the review on Anandtech.  Most of the time the fan does­n’t spin up.  Heavy data crunch­ing does res­ult in some fan noise, but it is reas­on­ably tol­er­able.  For com­par­is­on, my PCs are all quiet, with bun­gee sus­pen­ded hard drives and under­vol­ted case fans.  The Sony is quieter than my own Dell Stu­dio 15.
  • The key­board is excel­lent.  It is very easy to type quickly on, and the back­light auto-dim­ming is nice.
  • The power LEDs are both green, which makes a pleas­ant change from the usu­al gar­ish red or eye water­ing blue.
  • As Anandtech poin­ted out, the Vaio comes with far too many pro­cesses run­ning.  Remov­ing a few undesir­able apps (Bing Bar, McAfee, etc) only helped this a little.  After turn­ing off a few ser­vices and remov­ing a few unne­ces­sary star­tup entries the run­ning pro­cess count has been reduced to around 65 which is broadly sim­il­ar to the 2 oth­er Win­dows 7 PC’s I checked.
  • The HDD is the weak point of the sys­tem.  You can feel the sys­tem hav­ing to wait some­times.  How­ever, the sys­tem is still gen­er­ally very respons­ive.  Like Anandtech, I recom­mend repla­cing the HDD with a faster one, per­haps a Seag­ate Momentus XT.
  • The Vaio is pleas­ingly light, and whilst notice­ably heav­ier than the eeePC 901 it is repla­cing, it is not greatly so, and it is much light­er than my Dell Stu­dio 15.  In my view is rep­res­ents an ideal bal­ance between size/weight and usab­il­ity.
  • The screen bright­ness is good, and it has a matte fin­ish, but oth­er­wise it is fairly typ­ic­al of a laptop screen — not great.  To be fair to Sony though, I’m com­par­ing it to my HP zr24w which is an excel­lent 24″ 1920×1200 IPS pan­el.
  • The Sony power man­age­ment soft­ware is very flex­ible and intel­li­gent — for example, it can turn off power to the optic­al drive.
  • The bat­tery life is the best of any prop­er laptop I’ve ever used, although when under heavy use it is still only around 3 hours.  It isn’t quite as good as the eeePC 901 it replaces, but its close, and of course it can do a lot more.

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