Sony has been one of the longest-running players in the laptop market, but its latest ultrabooks haven’t been able to crack the top of the market.
Its latest effort, the Sony Vaio Pro, has been touted by the company in the premium laptop space. But can it compete in an already crowded market?
Hardware and features
The Sony Vaio Pro is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, with 8GB of RAM and Intel HD 5000 graphics, along with a 512GB solid-state drive. There is a 13” model, which features a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive.
Connectivity wise, the laptop comes with two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, SD card-slot, along with Bluetooth, WiFi and NFC capabilities.
Running on Windows 8, the device boasts over six hours of battery power – but whether they actually live up to that claim is up to the reviews.
What’s the consensus?
Over at The Verge, the publication noted that Sony is squaring itself up directly against the MacBook Air in its marketing campaigns.
Its most obvious weapon is weight – The Verge notes the VAIO Pro is indeed extremely light, only weighing 1.92 pounds. “These laptops are incredible feats of engineering,” it said.
However, as it explains, the lack of weight takes a toll.
“Both Pro models feel flimsy and breakable — every time I picked my Pro up by its corner, its carbon fiber body flexed a lot more than I’m comfortable with. The lid gives backward when you tap on the screen; the whole tray moves downward as you type.”
Engadget had some nicer things to say, nothing the good use of connectivity ports – “we’re even surprised Sony got a full-sized HDMI port in there”.
As for the keyboard and trackpad, Engadget noted the individual buttons were a little small, even feeling like a “throwback to netbooks”.
It also noted the Pro 11 doesn’t provide as good a cursor experience as one would hope.
“Like other trackpads we’ve tested, it fares better when it comes to multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling; both of those feel like controlled motions and don’t require you to apply too much pressure.”
“Even then, however, it’s possible to make the pinch-to-zoom gesture and end up doing a side scroll instead, so be careful.”
At Laptopmag.com, the publication said the computer’s screen was one of the better ones it has seen, “but not the best”.
“Using 10-point touch, the VAIO Pro 13’s touch screen proved responsive in our testing when we navigated Windows 8’s modern interface and played with apps. However, the high resolution of this panel makes it difficult to close apps and do other things in the desktop UI.”
Back at The Verge, however, the publication said the device’s battery life was a “wonderful upgrade” – even besting Apple.
“The 11-inch Pro lasted 6 hours, 30 minutes on the Verge Battery Test, which cycles through a series of popular websites and high-res images at 65 percent brightness; the 13-inch model chugged along for 6 hours, 53 minutes before giving up.”
“Those are fantastic, MacBook Air-beating numbers, and they bode well for Haswell processors in general. There’s an optional sheet battery for each device that promises to double the battery life, but unfortunately I didn’t have one to test.”
Who’s it for?
While Sony may have wanted to best the MacBook this time around, reviews indicate otherwise. This is certainly a solid Windows 8-based machine, but for your money, you may be better off looking elsewhere.