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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