The introduction of netbooks brought in low-power computing, but it also brought along compact laptops that were easy to carry around. Suddenly, ultra portable notebooks were seen as extremely expensive.
Sony's new compact VAIO S notebooks for those who want less baggage
People have always wanted light-weight notebooks and it looks like Sony’s new VAIO S series might be offer users just that. They offer better performance and also, an optical drive which netbooks can’t. We’ve received one of the models from this series - VAIO S VPCSB16FG.
The VAIO S comes with a 13.3-inch display that supports a resolution of 1366x768. The processing power comes an Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor, the Core i5 2520M that’s clocked at 2.50 GHz bundled with 4GB of DDR3 memory. Sony bundled Windows 7 Home Premium on this particular model. There’s also an AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics solution which should offer good HD playback performance as well as graphics performance sufficient for some gaming.
External connectivity options include USB 3.0 devices
Apart from that, the laptop comes with a USB 3.0 port along with two other USB 2.0 ports. External displays can be connected using the HDMI port or the D-Sub port. Two memory card readers are present on the side. One of the readers is dedicated for SD cards while the other for Sony’s Memorystick cards. There’s an slot hidden under a flap at the bottom of the laptop that is there to allow you to connect an extension battery to the laptop.
Activity indicators and a switch to turn on wireless connectivity
There’s a dedicated slider for the wireless connectivity that lets you switch it on or off quickly. One of the other controls is the Stamina-Speed slider which sets the laptop into a more power saving mode and the speed mode offers better performance. LED indicators for the Caps lock and Num Lock are present above the array of keys.
Build Quality and Design
The back of the laptop has a rough matte finish unlike most other notebooks that come with a clean glossy finish. The same treatment is given to the sides of the noteboook. Overall, the notebook is pretty sturdy.
Something different - a rough matte finished back
The hinge isn’t very sturdy and it wobbles with the slightest of movements. We weren’t terribly fond of the trackpad and the buttons on it. The clicks are hard to register if you press on the edges of the buttons.
A decent keyboard layout that's easy to get used to
The keyboard is pretty good fun to use. The isolated keys - chiclet design is easy to use. Key strokes are hardly missed after a while of getting used to it. The layout is pretty spread out and there’s no clustering of keys. Being a 13.3-inch display notebook, it lacks a dedicated numerical pad. The keys don’t feel very sturdy and we noticed some squeaking sounds from some of the keys while using them rather roughly. Although this laptop isn’t designed for gamers, you might not want to go easy on the keys
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