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SONY VAIO Netbook W - Open Box Review - WARNING - lots of pictures

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REVIEW - SONY VPC-W11S1E

OK, I finally got a netbook replacement for my old, wonderful, but now unreliable Sony Z600NE. Here is a quick review and benchmarks for the new SONY W netbook for anyone that is interested.

I'll sequence some posts, first pictures, then benchmarks, then observations and recommendations. I'll also take requests.

1. The box



2. Reverse box


3. Corner on


4. Open the box


5. Detail of Japanese style packaging - beautiful


6. Open the box, level 1


7. Open the box, level 2


8. Brand new untouched Vaio W


9. Compare sizes, Vaio W vs. Macbook


10. Compare sizes, Vaio W vs. Macbook


11. Keyboard zoom. Note that the netbook keyboard is FIRM and does not warp under pressure. Good stuff


12. Reverse of Vaio, without battery, minus Win serial


13. Unlucky for some! No space for the memory upgrade! WTF?! Where is it? Perhaps under the keyboard. I'll look later. No mention in the user guide.
 
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Joined
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Messages
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System Name ICE-QUAD // ICE-CRUNCH
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Display(s) 2 x Samsung 204Ts = 3200x1200
Audio Device(s) Audigy 2
Software Windows Server 2003 R2 as a Workstation now migrated to W10 with regrets.
Benchmarks

This table contains various benchmarks for THIS NETBOOK and various other PC's in the building. I'll update this table as further results come in:



Oh, how S.L.O.W. the Atom is at math. Slower than a Pentium 3. Otherwise the Atom is a fine proc. Just keep it away from number crunching activities.

I'll also take (some) benchmark requests.
 
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Video Card(s) HD3850-AGP // FireGL 3400
Display(s) 2 x Samsung 204Ts = 3200x1200
Audio Device(s) Audigy 2
Software Windows Server 2003 R2 as a Workstation now migrated to W10 with regrets.
Observations so far

Pluses
+ Shell design and colour is very nice
+ Light weight
+ Superb keyboard - firm and not wobbly or flexy like many other Vaios or other netbooks. Positve keyboard response. Perhaps a little "clicky", but otherwise good EXCEPT for the spacebar that is unreliable. If you touch type you will miss lots of spaces. Pressing the RHS of the spacebar does NOT get a space with 100% consistency.
+ The trackpad is not "sticky" like many other netbooks. It has a great feel to it
+ Screen is very bright and has SUPERB colour rendering. The colours jump out and are not washed up like many cheaper netbooks
+ Small power pack

Minuses
- Keyboard could have been a little bigger. Every millimeter counts on these undersized keyboards
- Trackpad is too small. They could have easily made it taller and wider by moving the keyboard lights to above the keyboard like a normal keyboard and not between the keyboard and trackpad as current, wasting 1cm space. Adding 1cm to height and 2cm to width would have improved it enormously
- Fan is too noisy. Is this due to GMA950? If so, it is unacceptable for a notebook chipset
- The top surface of the netbook (below the keyboard) is plastic. Quite obvious. Not as nice as the shell. They could have improved that
- The top plastic has a pattern built into it. This is a VERY BAD design. The pattern is made of small round holes about 0.5mm deep. It will only be a matter of time before dirt gets in and the surface will be impossible to get clean
- Noisy fan (again). Not impressive for a premium product. Damn intel chipset/graphics
- Under artifical light, the blue print on the keyboard (for Fn and function key commands) cannot be differentiated from black
- An illuminated keyboard (a la Macbook) would have been nice. Silly they didnt do it. Premium features like that would set the VAIO apart from the cheaper competition.
- It seems the netbook was designed by a LEFT HANDED PERSON. The trackpad is offset to the left and the space bar doesnt work if you touch the RHS of it. You need to hit it in the middle. This is very stupid with the trackpad since right handed people use their right hand for the trackpad... and I have only used the machine for a few hours and have wrist strain already. NEVER have I had that on a laptop before!
- Screen is a little shiney and the display flickers a tiny amount. I'm not so sure this is a LED display as advertised. If it is, then it is rendering millions of colours over 6-bit or 7-bit and not true 8-bit. I will investigate further
- The screen is very poor "off angle". With a shiney screen you need to set the screen leaning forward or back a little to reduce reflections, but the consequence of this is colour drop off or the "reversing" that happens when looking at the screen from an angle. Left to right is irrelevant for a netbook, but up and down angle IS important when trying to reduce reflections.
- This spacebar problem is getting on my nerves. It is only registering a space if you press the bar in the middle. Even though you get a responsive "click" if you press in on the LHS or RHS, no space is registered. Very poor indeed. It is so bad I'm considering returning the whole laptop. For this issue alone.
- Battery life is very low. So far it seems to be about 2.5hrs. I'll report back at a later point. But it seems the fan and chipset are using up a lot of the available power. We know that Atom 280 uses practically nothing, so the "leaks" are elsewhere
- Having used a macbook a lot recently, I do miss their magnetic power connector. It is quick to connect, and very safe. Tripping over the cable pulls the cable, where as on standard laptops, the laptop is dragged off the table. SONY should license the magconnector or invent their own alternative system. If not magnetic, at least an easy-pull system

NET NET, I am not happy with it. It isnt necessarily worse than other netbooks, just not as good asI was hoping. I suspect I will retire this very quickly and try a SONY X ultraportable once they are released. Alternative, Apple need to come out with a 11" netbook that I can install windows on
 
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I love the matte black finish of the exterior on this a whole lot more than the glossy type on others, they're fingerprint magnets.
 
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Aren't sony netbooks/laptops not very good for bang/buck? The ones I've seen seem to always be more expensive than the competition... My vaio is less than impressive, that is for sure... and for the price I paid :(
 
Joined
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Messages
6,452 (1.30/day)
System Name ICE-QUAD // ICE-CRUNCH
Processor Q6600 // 2x Xeon 5472
Memory 2GB DDR // 8GB FB-DIMM
Video Card(s) HD3850-AGP // FireGL 3400
Display(s) 2 x Samsung 204Ts = 3200x1200
Audio Device(s) Audigy 2
Software Windows Server 2003 R2 as a Workstation now migrated to W10 with regrets.
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
6,452 (1.30/day)
System Name ICE-QUAD // ICE-CRUNCH
Processor Q6600 // 2x Xeon 5472
Memory 2GB DDR // 8GB FB-DIMM
Video Card(s) HD3850-AGP // FireGL 3400
Display(s) 2 x Samsung 204Ts = 3200x1200
Audio Device(s) Audigy 2
Software Windows Server 2003 R2 as a Workstation now migrated to W10 with regrets.
After 2wks ops.

  • "What's the matter with your laptop? Is it broken... it sounds like an aeroplane" said the gf
  • The battery really is 2.5hrs. Not more.
 
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