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All You Should Know About Sony Vaio X

2014.03.05 02:28

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The new Sony VAIO computers look even better and smarter.Sony teased the Vaio X at this year's IFA conference in Berlin, which essentially functions as the European version of CES. With no spec sheet or press release to be found, all we know are the bare essentials from Sony's press conference: the screen spans 11.1 inches, the whole laptop measures only 0.55 inches thick (compared to 0.76 inches on the Air), and Sony has wrapped it in so much carbon fiber that its total weight comes to only 1.5 pounds. That's just a smidge heavier than the almost pocketable and highly flippable 1.4-pound Vaio P.

While the magnesium alloy chassis does give the unit some strength, we did note that there was quite a bit of flex on the unit, both on the keyboard area and on the screen. While the screen flex was more or less expected, we didn't quite expect the lower half of the unit to actually bend that much. Then again it's a pretty thin device, so the flex is part and parcel of the design aspect. However, the flex isn't anything to be alarmed about and it was perfectly acceptable for such a thin and trendy notebook such as the VAIO X. In fact, the unit didn't feel at all fragile in our hands despite its thin frame and flex and that's testament to its design. Still, we do caution users to avoid undue pressure that can warp or cause damage to the screen area.

There are some inevitable niggles we need to address. The first is the cramped keyboard. Sony does its best, with the isolated keys giving greater margins for error when typing, but the tiny right Shift key takes a lot of getting used to, as do all the keys in the bottom-right area: the full stop and cursor keys are a particular challenge. We never looked forward to using this keyboard. The tiny touchpad is also an issue. It seems odd to include such a tiny touchpad when there's plentiful space below the keyboard, especially since Sony has included a scrolling area at the bottom and far right of it. At least it's responsive when you touch it in the right place, and coupled with the relatively small screen we found it usable when travelling.

For booting and processing everyday tasks, the 2GHz Atom Z550 paired with 2GB of memory and 128GB SSD did very well against netbook-class machines but suffered dearly with regard to 3D graphics performance. Likewise, the X couldn't handle full-screen flash video without chop. Sure, the mass market will ultimately shun the X as it did its VAIO X505 ancestor, but it will definitely find its niche amongst Windows 7 road warriors with pockets deep enough to afford it and egos fragile enough to by fed by the envious stares of others.

At 15 feet from our wireless access point, the VAIO X's 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi card notched a strong throughput of 21.3 Mbps, which is above the average of 19.7 Mbps. At 50 feet, the system fell back to a more mundane 14.6 Mbps, which is just about 2.0 Mbps slower than the category average. The VAIO X is also equipped with both Verizon Wireless 3G broadband and GPS connectivity. We will update this review once those features have been activated.

Despite its small stature, Sony manages to cram in most of the connectivity options seen on almost every other netbook. On the left side of the VAIO X are two USB ports and a headphone jack. On the right is a VGA port and Ethernet. Just underneath the front lip is an SD Card reader and a Sony Memory Stick slot. On a system this expensive, we were surprised at the omission of an HDMI port, although since this netbook isn't designed to output HD content, it's not a huge loss.

And thanks to the above mentioned low power devices integrated into the VAIO X, we found that the power consumption was kept really low - in fact, it's the lowest we've seen on any netbook. On the Portability Index, the lightweight frame and volume of the VAIO X meant the unit scored pretty much the highest we've seen so far at 8.123. The results are only logical given how little the netbook weighed in our bags and its thin form factor. It's so light and slim that you would probably not even realize it's stashed in your bag.
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