Customer Reviews: Sony VAIO Lifestyle VGN-P688E/Q 8-Inch Laptop - Black
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on November 3, 2009
Maybe I got a fluke, but Sony's so-called "full laptop" computer in an 8" form factor is like trying to run Vista on your mom's old P3. Seriously, this thing absolutely crawls. All this would be acceptable were it not for the very mediocre battery life (forget 4 hours, I couldn't even manage 2 with moderately heavy use), when any other netbook (that's right, netbook) for well under half the price outperforms it in battery life AND performance. Ironic; the 1.33Ghz processor really is a step down from the 1.66Ghz Atoms in netbooks, despite what I've been told to the contrary about the different "architecture."

But that's just on the hardware front. It powers on fast enough, but right from the get-go you're slammed with loads of bloatware and tons of programs that are slow to load into memory, one after the other (that's right, it's not even a dual core). These can be uninstalled--though not cleanly, as they leave some registry junk data behind. But there's little that can be done about yet another software-related problem: drivers. The video driver on here is one of the worst experiences I've had to date with video displays. HD video was an absolute disaster, even though the chipset (google "Poulsbo" or GMA500) claims it to be able to decode 720p HD video. So when I tried to play a simple HQ youtube vid (not even HD) and met with stuttering far worse than my friend's Asus Eee PC, which cost about 350, I was understandably upset. As for the faster disk drive with the SSD, this may be true. But when you can't run even basic productivity apps at full speed, any HD speed increase was unnoticeable. My Eee for instance has a conventional "slow" HD but gets the job done (except for copying files) much more quickly.

A lot of this might be Vista's fault. But before you think of downgrading to the faster, lighter XP, let me warn you--you'll have even more issues with Sony's drivers. Linux? Forget about it; Intel's Poulsbo drivers are in a pitiful state there too. When the most appealing attribute of the system--the hi-res screen, mind you--is nearly unusable with any other options, one can't help but feel a bit ripped off. The webcam's quality isn't very good (the Eee wins again), and the WWan (mobile broadband) is locked to Verizon, so don't think about other companies unless you "unlock" the chip: more time and trouble. The wireless-N support is supposed to be great, but it was dodgy on my home network (maybe it was just my unit or config...or vista, but again, my other devices worked fine). They keyboard and ergonomics are fine, but again, the only good words for this unit, for this price, are surface-deep.

Parting advice: the reviews on this "Lifestyle PC" are low for good reason. I really wish I'd seen Amazon's reviews earlier. (This unit wasn't from Amazon but from Sony themselves).
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on November 25, 2010
I bought this with about $550 couple month ago and have been using it in my business trips.

It is very light weighted and full function PC laptop and it a wonderful device to remote log into the corporate desktop and get some work done.

The preloaded Windows Vista home was a pain and I was able downgrade it to Windows XP, which makes the machine much faster. You can find the entire XP driver set in Sony's online library (the power management part is kind of difficult to figure out......, and I can't find the GPS driver)

The PowerDVD 10 has fully resolved the issue of video playback issue, as it can leverage on the hardware acceleration on the Intel video chip. It can play 720P movie without any difficulty.

Hope this helps.
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on December 3, 2012
For $999.99 at launch; yes, this netbook WAS overpriced. But it's been more than three years now and personally, and compared to the current netbook market, this little machine is great!
If you want to do heavy image or video editing, play 3D computer games or anything processor- or memory-intensive, this Lifestyle PC is not for you. There's only a 1.33GHz processor under the hood and 2GB of RAM. However, I have seen enough when it came to desktops, laptops, netbooks and, most recently, tablets to know what specs like that are capable of.
Right off the bat I knew Windows Vista and this computer did NOT mesh well. Vista doesn't even mesh well with full-fledged desktops. I will admit I did not try to install Windows 7. What made it difficult was the fact that Windows 8 is the big man on campus now. But I did try Linux. And while I admire cloud-based OS's like Jolicloud, which was recommended by another reviewer, I prefer Ubuntu. But full-fledged Ubuntu's window manager, Compiz, ate up too much of this PC's CPU for it to be usable. So I went lightweight and found that with Lubuntu AKA Ubuntu-lite this machine MOVES!
The 64GB hard drive was plenty of storage space for me. As for screen real-estate, 1600x768 looks BEAUTIFUL on this 8-inch screen. Love the keyboard and the mouse "stick" in the center of the keyboard reminds me of the same in IBM Thinkpads.
The only flaw with this netbook was an ill-advised marriage between hardware and software arranged by the manufacturer, Sony. Resolve it by installing your lightweight OS of choice and this PC will go where you want it to.
So pay attention: If you've got a reasonable music library, a few videos, plenty of digital pictures that just need organizing and most of your life is online, you've got the perfect "lifestyle" for this "PC."
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on May 13, 2010
I purchased this notebook to use as a travel laptop for this purpose, it is great. The display is bright and very legible (after changing the font DPI to 120 dpi). The keyboard is usable (given the size) and the built-in SD card slot comes in handy.

The main problem with this laptop is that it comes with Vista SP1. After updating the SP2, the performance is much better. I also got the Intel developer drivers from their website and used the "Have Disk" procedure to update. Now the graphics have reasonable responsiveness too.
I think I am going to get the extended battery which essentially doubles the battery life.

Overall, having purchased this refurbished for 600, I am happy with it. I will most likely update to Windows 7 to get even better performance. By the way, the Z series ATOM supports hyper-threading which is almost 2x the perfomance similar to a dual core.

I wish SONY/INTEL would release a graphics driver that took full advantage of the dual stream capability of the GMA500 PowerVR graphics chipset.

For Linux, try the Linux JoliCloud Netbook distro [...].
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on January 10, 2010
This is a fine product, in winodws 7 it perform ok, you have to keep in mind is a very small net book made for email et photo storage in a vacation , it like it do the job, do not replace your home computer whit this...but think if it like a speare tire,

rated 4-5
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on January 7, 2012
I love the weight and the design (mine is red). I even have the extended-life battery, and it's not much heavier with the extended battery. The screen is beautiful and bright and if you adjust the DPI and futz with your settings (make menubars smaller; don't use Internet Explorer which HOGS screen space) it has decent screen real estate. I've put Windows 7 Premium on mine -- just be sure you download appropriate drivers from the Sony website. I'm happy with mine since installing Windows 7, but I also must confess I bought mine used -- if I'd paid the new price I'd probably not be very happy at all, especially with the stock Vista (which was so slow as to be almost unusable).
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on August 29, 2009
I like Sony product overall, but this product was not too impress at all. I purhcased this 2 week ago, with 2 extra battery, travel bag, external VGA/Cat-5 network adapter (since I am traveling a lots and need a small notebook to do my work while traveling). Upon receive, it looks very cool, small and liteweight, but after use it, I am kind of disappoint, it is SLOW ( may be I get used to my 14.1 2.0G CPU, vs of this Atom slow CUP, for sure is slow). I know I can not return it, so I am planning to sell on eBay with discount, it can not really do my works at all (my wife is upset with me to only useit for few days and few hundred off to sell on ebay). I guess the Windows Vista Home and netbook CPU(Atom) is the main reason make it slow, most netbook come with XP (take less memory). [...]

Also, the display text is too small to read(but it display all content within this high res. small LCD, make sense), I have to set text font to 150%, but compare to my regular notebook 14.1 notebook still small. I would say, overall, this notebook can funcion as checking email and browse internet and looks cool, if you need a very small notebook and not too worry about speed and storage space for your daily simple works, this is good one.
by the way, key board size and battery life is pretty good, I like it.
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on May 30, 2010
I was looking for an ultraportable computer for checking emails and light internet browsing while travelling. Weight, size and speed were my considerations. This Sony seemed to fill the bill; I tried it for a day; but returned it because it was so difficult to use. First of all, it is not "pocket sized" unless you are wearing clown pants. The deal breaker for me were the tiny keyboard and tiny print, I had to squint hard and got a headache within half an hour of playing with it. There is a magnifying glass feature so parts of the screen can appear larger but to transition from one size to a larger size print entails a momentary blurring which is very hard on the eyes. I also had to squint to type properly as the keyboard is quite tiny and there is a tendency to misstype even though my hands and fingers are about average in size for someone who is 180 pounds.
Basically, it is a much shrunk laptop. Beautiful to schlep around but its small size entails problems that were not resolved. I'd recommend it for midgets and elementary school kids but not for any grown up for any use. I ended up purchasing an Ipod Touch at a third of the price and weight of this Sony and am delighted with it as it creatively resolved the small keyboard and small print problem.
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on September 17, 2010
This computer is so slow to load! It was a gift for my girlfriend becuase it's what she wanted, but if it had been for me I wouldn't have bought it. The screen is way too small! Would not recommend this computeer unless all you're after is looks.
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on February 5, 2010
looks like Sony is trying to botch the netbook market like they did with the mp3 player. Too expensive for less performance, then you can get for 1/2 the price. Sony is turning into the GMC of electronics. Go with ASUS, or ACER.
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