Sony Vaio X
Spectacularly slim – fat wallets only
Review Sony discovered it had a major problem when the first round of netbooks hit the market in late 2007. Having spent years educating well-heeled consumers that small notebooks were expensive, shoppers were hit by a deluge of small, light laptops that did everything they wanted for a fraction of Sony's traditionally high prices.
Sony's Vaio X series: weight loss comes at a price
Sony finally caved, and produced the tempting, sub-£500 Mini W, which frankly only makes the admittedly beautiful X series even stranger. At £1200 in its cheapest incarnation, it's perhaps the most expensive Atom-powered machine available today - an odd contradiction, since spending more money on a laptop normally results in more power.
Hold the X between a thumb and forefinger, though, and it's clear where Sony's design priorities lie. Netbooks might be small and light, but the X is sensationally thin. It's 14mm thick, weighs under 800g and, internally, has precisely one moving part: a small, but occasionally annoying fan to keep the 1.86GHz Atom Z540 CPU cool.
The pictures really don't do it justice. 800g might not sound terribly impressive but coupled with the incredible thinness you barely hold the X - you pinch it. You'll certainly have no problems slipping it into a small bag and the tiny weight means you won't think twice about taking it everywhere. However, the light design does appear to have impacted on the screen’s overall robustness, which feels like it needs to be handled with care to guarantee its survival.
The rest of the ergonomics are necessarily small, but well-formed. The chiclet keyboard has keys which are positively Lilliputian, but we soon got used to them, and the keyboard feels good and solid, which is impressive considering there's hardly anything beneath it. Likewise, the trackpad might only measure 5cm wide, but after our first hour with the X we had no complaints.
Solid body, but the slim screen seems a bit flimsy
The screen is a good one as well. The X doesn't go the usual Sony route of slapping a glossy finish on the 11.1in screen, and the result is an LCD you can use in almost all lighting conditions. Viewing angles are good as well, and the 1366 x 768 resolution is plenty for the odd bit of office work and - technically - makes the X HD compatible.
I agree with you completely, but also think this applies to ALL sony products...
Sony is overpriced across their whole model line. Their TVs cost more and don;t look or have as good of specs as LG or Samsung. Their PCs are too proprietary and also too expensive for the spec. Their HT receivers blow up too often. Their speakers pale in comparrison to others like Klipsch and HK. Their cameras have nice lenses, but again proprietary, as is the memory stick format. Ericson phones have left the earth almost completely due to either high price or inferior design or both, as have the Sony PDAs.
Having worked several years in a retail shop, i can also attest that Sony had the highest percentage of non-waranty repairs by far, and were close to the bottom for product reliability under waranty (we tracked our sales vs repairs and provided this to our customers if they asked). Sony's reapirs also seemed to take longer...
Today I have no single Sony product in my house. I'm still considdering a PS3 only because there's no viable competition, and no xBox games interest me that are not also available on PC. (not to mention the included BR player and now NetFlix supprot).
Spectacular design, but lost the plot
Portable means able to survive portability. I would have expected a company from a country where _ONLY_ a TouchBook or a "Dell Brick" can survive the Tokio subway morning gro^H^H^Hrush hour to know that.
No thanks, I would stick to my S10-e. It may weight 1.5 times as much, but it is at least capable of surviving being carried around.
Me coat, the big grey-blue trench one with an S10-e in the left pocket.
Sony have completely lost the plot. For a little more cash you can get their own TT-series.
50% higher weight at 1.2kg and thicker but you get same 11.1 form factor.
With that extra weight you get a proper core 2 duo that offers over double the performance of an atom, dvd or blueray burner, 4gig of ram, and HD capable graphics with HDMI port. Plus everything else the X series does and a lot more besides like TPM.
If you really want a sony netbook you have the V and W series to choose from. The W series is a bog standard netbook with Sony style - the V is a quirky almost MID sized netbook with WWWAN. Either option is better than the X.
IF you want second hand you can get the older , but still briliiant TZ ultraportable from Ebay for around £500.
What nutter at sony green lighted this?
what utter nonsense, I've had a VAIO laptop for 5 years now, use it almost everyday for purposes as varied as facebook and video editing, it has survived countless train journeys, house moves and the only thing that has gone wrong is the headphone jack (frankly after 5 years of excellent service I wasn't even mildly annoyed, a £10 usb audio out sorted it)
awesome laptops and considering the longevity, excellent value for money.
after my experience with sony I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone - a colleague has had a mac for a simkliar amount of time and during that his has died TWICE because of apples "ever-so-helpful" updates.
I have one and I like it!
I needed something small and light. All I use my X series for is MS Office and the internet and it does exactly what I need it to do.
I didn't buy it expecting to run Half Life 2, nor did I expect it to be more powerful than my desktop or Vaio Z. But the X is so small I don't even notice I have it in my bag! That is the beauty of this machine. It's the ideal travel companion.
I went for the top of the range model (cost a whopping £1700). There's no other machine in the world that is as small and light as this. It's not worth £1700 (what laptop is?) but I am very happy with it.