Earlier this year, Sony launched a new lineup of notebooks called the C series, primarily targeted at the youth and the urban population. This reflected in the choice of colours Sony chose, many of which had heavy fluorescent tones. This wasn’t the first colourful series for Sony. Their earlier EB series had a similar theme with bright bold colours and funky patterns. The new C series takes it one step further by introducing some cool lighting effects throughout the notebook. If that’s not enough to grab your attention, then the new bold colours definitely will.
Design and Build
Sony is notorious for sending gaudy coloured review units out and they’ve out done themselves this time. The unit they sent us was fluorescent red which is just too ‘out there’ for my taste or anyone I know for that matter. Thankfully you can choose between many other colours, including black. The outer shell of the notebook is made up primarily of translucent plastic, which makes it look more like a kid's toy than anything else. Also, when the light hits it, it appears as if there's neon backlighting around the edges and couple of other areas.
Translucent plastic is everywhere
The lid has a bit of flex, but applying pressure from the outside does not cause any ripple effect on the screen, which means the screen is protected well. The hinges are very sturdy and the lid can extend almost 180 degrees giving you very flexible viewing angles. Opening the lid, we have the similar translucent effect for the entire palm rest area and the trackpad. Just above the keyboard, we have three shortcut keys for VAIO Assist that lets you monitor the status of the notebook, WEB gives you quick access to IE and VAIO gives you a fancy gallery interface to view your photos. The stereo speakers are placed on either side of the buttons and face upwards so the sound is blocked even when placed on your lap.
USB 3.0 for faster data transfers
The ports on the left include the power connector, LAN jack, VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. The other side houses the DVD burner, two more USB 2.0 ports and the microphone and headphone jack. The chiclet keyboard is backlit and the best part is that there is an ambient light sensor, so the backlighting automatically kicks in once the light is low. The card reader is placed in the front along with the status light and the Wi-Fi toggle switch. There are plenty of ventilation vents underneath for proper cooling. The hard drive compartment is easily accessible by just removing two screws.
The notebook may look like a toy, but it packs some serious horse power under all those flashing lights. Intel’s Sandy Bridge Core i5-2410M takes center stage, running at a stock speed of 2.3GHz with the ability to Turbo up to 2.9GHz. There’s a single 4GB DDR3 memory stick, so you can add another one yourself later. For storage, we have a 500GB Toshiba hard drive spinning at 7200rpm. The C series makes a decent gaming notebook as well, with AMD’s HD 6630M with dynamic switchable graphics between the onboard and the discrete card, similar to Nvidia’s Optimus. Sony has used dual graphics previously, but you had to manually hit a switch for that to work.
Keyboard has very good ergonomics
The 14-inch LED backlit screen sports a resolution of 1366x768, which is good enough for general and multimedia playback. The 1.3MP webcam also features Sony’s ‘Exmor’ video engine for a clearer picture. Sony has bundled a bunch of their own software utilities like PMB content editing and creation software, Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Evernote, VAIO Media Plus, VAIO Gate, Remote Play for the PS3, McAfee PC Security Center (trial version).