VAIO Pro 13 Ultrabook
A Decent Ultrabook
OK. I have owned the Vaio Pro SVP1321HGXBI for almost two weeks now and I think it is a pretty decent machine, so I thought I'll write this review!
First of all, I like that Sony provides an option for a laptop that runs Windows 7 without touch screen gadgetry. I largely prefer Windows 7 over Windows 8. Thank you Sony!
My previous laptop was a Vaio Z (VPCZ1390X) which is now 3 years old, but surprisingly it is in many respects still better than my new Vaio Pro (and most other laptops on the market today).
This is where the Vaio Pro wins over the Z:
- Half as thick
- Battery lasts longer
- USB 3
This is where my old Vaio Z wins:
- Processor speed
- Graphics performance
- Ports (3 USB ports, VGA, HDMI, LAN, DVD drive on the Z)
- Touchpad, keyboard
- Wireless speed
Some reviews say that the Pro has a flimsy feel and bends easily when typing. I remember I noticed that as well when I tried a Vaio Pro in a store a few months ago, but I don't notice it with my own. It feels quite sturdy. I wonder if Sony has improved the robustness of the casing since. The front corners are quite pointy though, but so far this hasn't caused any trouble.
I used an internet speed test service to test the wireless connection close to the router and from the other side of the apartment. I consistently got faster download speeds with my Vaio Z under the same conditions, but the difference is not extreme. For the location distant from the router, initially I got ~2 Mbps for the Pro and 5 Mbps for the Z. Enabling 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wifi and disabling Bluetooth on the Pro raised the download speed to ~3 Mbps. That's not great, but it's not a showstopper for me. I have not experienced random disconnections.
The fan on the Pro has a little bit of a whine to it when running at high speed, but under normal conditions it is off or running so slowly that it is barely audible. Under high load it still is less loud than the fan on my Z, but then again the Z has a lot more processing power to cool.
I still haven't gotten used to the new touch pad and prefer the old one on the Z which has separate buttons. It's kind of awkward to push down on the pad with one finger to select while moving the selected item by swiping with a second finger. Also you have to push pretty hard on the lower right of the pad for a right click. Maybe I'll get used to it, or just use an external mouse. I like two-finger scroll though.
The Vaio Pro is noticeably slower than the Z in computer games. Minecraft for example runs at about half the speed on the Pro (20 FPS) compared to the Z (40 FPS). For 'normal' applications like Office, surfing the web or movie playback it is fast enough.
Other issues I noticed with the Pro:
- Plugging an external screen with very high resolution into the HDMI port causes my Vaio Pro to bluescreen. It works fine with 1920x1080 though.
- When the laptop is closed, keyboard and screen are very close to each other, and when the laptop is pushed you will get key prints on the screen. This can easily be remedied by putting a cloth between screen and keyboard.
- I switched off the automatic screen brightness adjustment, but screen brightness is still changing sometimes, for example when the laptop comes back from sleep.
- I am using desktop gadgets, but the standard clock disappeared and does not want to come back. I am using a different clock gadget I found on the internet as a replacement. Probably rather Microsoft than Sony should be blamed for that though.
So in conclusion I am quite happy with my new Vaio Pro, even though it has a few issues - but every laptop I have owned has had a few issues. I assume that some of them will be solved with future driver updates. I still believe that for me this is the best laptop that is currently on the market. That said, if Sony would offer a new version of the Z (hint, hint!) I would probably have chosen that instead - for me as a scientist and graphics programmer a powerful processor and graphics in an ultrabook format is more important than long battery life.
December 19, 2013
Laptop with Wifi connectivity issues
Till date I have only used VAIO laptops as myself being a big fan of Sony. In the process of upgrading to an Ultrabook, I blindly went for VAIO Pro and bought it for Thanksgiving with a whopping $2k. I used the laptop for just 2 days and had to return it as wifi keeps on disconnecting all the time. I really really loved this Ultrabook because of its looks and it is very thin and very light to use, but what to do, I can't use a laptop without wifi and even read many reviews with the same issue. It is very disappointing that SONY did not take care of this minor wifi issue and loosing all its customers (including me). Comeon SONY...you gotta fix this and recall all the customers who faced this issue, I'll be the first to buy it again if the wifi issue is fixed.
December 11, 2013