Top critical review
49 people found this helpful
You'll buy it for looks; definitely not worth the tag.
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).