Sony Vaio S Series 13.3” Review

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Written by Quinn M. Redfield

Need a lap top that won’t weigh you down or die half way through the day? The Sony Vaio S Series 13.3” (VPCSB11FX/W) is light weight, long lived, and ready to go. Starting at $799.99, it won’t cost you nearly so much as the top long-lifers either.

Sony Vaio S Series Laptop Comptuer

The Sony Vaio S Series – 13.3” laptop

The Sony Vaoi S comes in a magnesium alloy cover available in silver, black, pink, and white. It’s outfitted with Windows 7 OS, built in speakers, a headphone port, and a multi-gesture touch pad. It also boasts:

  • 1GB VRAM graphics
  • HD LED back-lit display (1366 x 768)
  • Back-lit key pad for low light conditions
  • Rapid wake technology – coming out of power saving mode in about 2 seconds flat.
  • Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45)
  • HDMI & VGA output
  • USB 3.0 x2 (as well as a USB 2.0 x1 for charging)
  • SD and PRO DUO Memory Card Slots
  • Slot-load CD/DVD and Blu-ray Disc player / burner
  • 3rd Generation Intel Core i7 quote core processor available

 

Battery life for the Sony Vaio S with and without the optional sheet battery

Battery Life Expectancy of the Sony Vaio S

On the Go
At only 0.95” in thickness (or 0.90” for the Premium) and weighing between 3.8 lbs, this little guy could follow you just about anywhere. Not only will it travel well, but it’s also useable in transit for up to 7 hours. That should get you through an average day pretty nicely, even if you can’t find a place to plug in.

If you’re like me though, and want a computer that will last through hours and hours of use on the go (we’re talking long flights and longer road trips), you may want to consider adding the large-capacity sheet battery. This can double your battery life, giving the Vaio up to 14 hours of use. Unlike previous, bulkier options, this battery attaches seamlessly to the bottom and, at 1.2lbs, won’t weigh you down. When you are ready for a charge up, no need to stop working, just plug it directly into the power source and it’ll charge on its own.

 

Specifications for Sony Vaio S Series 13.3'' - displaying ports and dimmensions.

Specifications for Sony Vaio S Series 13.3”

Pros

  • Portable
  • Long battery life
  • Hybrid graphics save power
  • Usable in low-light conditions
  • Wifi and Bluetooth ready
  • Soft, island keys
  • Widows 8 ready

Cons

  • No touch screen
  • Average looks
  • No mouse buttons
  • Mouse pad near lip

 

Diagram displaying the gestures used on a Sony Viao S mouse pad.

Mouse Pad Gestures for the Sony Vaio S

Potential Problems
Say good bye to your mouse button. The Sony Vaio S uses a mult-gesture touch pad for navigation. If you’re used to clicking more than tapping, you may find the switch a little confusing at first. Those of us not familiar with the “intuitive” gestures necessary to operate one, will want a crash course. And here it is: you scroll with two fingers, pinch to zoom in on a photo, swipe to flip through pages, and rotate images with the twirl of your finger. To activate these functions, you just click on the left or right mouse area. Not too difficult, but it will take some getting used to. Similarly, the location of the pad so near the bottom edge of the computer can feel awkward at first. Neither of these issues makes the lap top unusable of course, but it is something to be aware of.

One potential pit fall in the long run, however, is that this lap top does not have a touch screen. While you may not need one right now, touch is a growing trend amongst applications and operating systems – which may mean you’ll be forced to replace this lap top for a touch screen device in the not too distant future.

 

Other Options
Now if you’re looking for more high performance power for gaming, the 15.5″ has an Core i7 quad core processor and up to 2GB of VRAM. However, this would be slightly less convenient to carry around. Also worth consideration, the 13.3” Premium model has a carbon fiber chassis, 2GB VRAM, and the option of a 512MB solid state drive. Or if you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Sony Vaio E Series is worth a look. While the battery life and features are somewhat less impressive, for $500.00 it’s a good, basic lap top.

 

Bottom Line

For under $800, this highly travel-friendly machine will definitely get the job done. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something to grab as they head out the door and use on and off all day without needing a charge. Personally, I might pick up the sheet battery for extra insurance, but for a typical day at school or work, the Sony Vaio S should have you covered.

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