51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Ultrabook with a few quirks that you may get used to quickly
(3) Temperature/fan noise
(5) General Thoughts
(1) Speakers: I know some of the professional reviews said they aren't the greatest but they are not terrible for the size. No, you're not going to get blown away and you're not going to get deep bass. The built-in...
Published 4 months ago by Al Gator
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 18JUL Wifi Patch Still Not Solving Problem
I returned this laptop to the Sony store (even after receiving a second/replacement for the first). The major issue remains the wifi connectivity -- despite an 18 July "update" from Sony, there is STILL a problem with the wifi. I have an above average knowledge of computers and I walked through all the basic and advanced troubleshooting steps (and, yes, my router/network...
Published 4 months ago by DC Phil
Most Helpful First | Newest First
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Ultrabook with a few quirks that you may get used to quickly,
This review is from: Sony VAIO Pro SVP13215PXB 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Black) (Personal Computers)SECOND UPDATE
(3) Temperature/fan noise
(5) General Thoughts
(1) Speakers: I know some of the professional reviews said they aren't the greatest but they are not terrible for the size. No, you're not going to get blown away and you're not going to get deep bass. The built-in speakers are located around the hinge, facing up and slightly toward the screen. The sound doesn't get distorted at max volume and fills a standard room pretty adequately at max volume. I'm sure the small size also provided some challenges for the engineering team, so I'm not disappointed.
(2) Build: The more I play with it, I'm not convinced that it's mainly carbon fiber. I sense that there is a decent amount of "plastic-y" material in there but I'm not complaining. The only issue it gives me is the accuracy of the trackpad when not on a hard surface (see the second update to this review below).
(3) Temperature/fan noise: OK, I'll concede a little here with some of the other reviewers. I'm not so concerned with the noise as much as I am with the durability of components that heat up this much. Yes, when the fan gets going, the exiting air temperature is very hot, and the underside of the laptop is as well. SpeedFan reported temps as high as 78 degrees Celsius (172 degrees F)!! That's hotter than any other desktop or mobile computer I've owned without additional heat-mitigating mechanisms. I just hope the components are able to handle that temp--at least it's an SSD instead of a traditional platter. It's also a little bit away from the hot components. The extended battery gives a little relief since it pushes the laptop up a little like a stand.
(4) Tips: There are quite a number of Sony updates to install including a firmware/BIOS update. When you click on the assist button the updates are listed under "software" instead of "updates". I got an error message installing Intel Anti-Theft indicating that the device was not compatible with it. It is. I was able to fix it by going into the BIOS settings and clicking on enable TPM and AT (even though it already was). After a few reboots, it recognized it OK. One thing that drove me crazy until I figured it out... the only way to get to the UEFI and BIOS settings was from a "shutdown" state, then pushing the "assist" button.
Another tip, this doesn't use the camera for light sensor as some have speculated. It uses the dedicated sensor next to the "assist" button. I personally do not like this since if a directional light is shining down on the device but not lighting the surrounding, it is thrown off. I have LED lighting in the main room of my house and it is constantly auto-adjusting the brightness. I believe there is a way to turn this off but I haven't played with it. It also has issues with adjusting brightness when your arm blocks the light for a few seconds. Why would your arm do that you say? Oh, I don't know, maybe because it's a TOUCHSCREEN laptop!! Come on Sony, so perfect in every other way! Again, not so bad that I would return it. I still think it's one of the best Haswell Ultrabooks on the market.
Purchase tips in the first updated review below.
(5) General thoughts: I haven't bothered to fix my Android tablet yet (the Asus TF300T is a pain to replace the digitizer unlike any other device I've owned). This has all but replaced my netbook and tablet that were used previously for separate tasks. All in a footprint smaller than either one individually. I am looking forward to the Windows 8.1 improvements. I have not installed the preview. I want to wait for the more stable release. On another note, the Intel Anti-Theft is $6.99 for one year on Amazon here.Intel 1 Year Anti Theft Service for Ultrabooks and Laptops Totally worth it for me. I take this everywhere.
FIRST UPDATE AFTER flying with this (and for the first time, without an additional tablet)
(1) TRAVEL THOUGHTS
(3) OTHER QUIRKS ("Flex", touchpad, wifi, fan)
(4) TABLET REPLACEMENT?
(5) PURCHASE TIPS
(6) TAKE APART/DISASSEMBLY
(1) TRAVEL THOUGHTS At first I thought a 13.3" device would be too big to use on the airplane comfortably especially if someone in front of me reclined. I must say this was not the case--furthermore, this is where the touchscreen really shines. Since it is very light, I can hold it closer to me and use it like a tablet without having the keyboard get in my way. The on-screen keyboard also helps for this. I had to ask my colleague to hold the laptop for a second and when I handed it to him he was shocked at how light it weighed!
(2) CASES: The EasyAcc 13.3 inch Laptop Sleeve Bag Case Cover Neoprene Shock Resistant Pouch Protective Handbag for Apple Macbook Air 13, Macbook Pro 13, Acer Aspire S3, Asus Zenbook UX31, Lenovo IdeaPad U300s, Samsung SERIES 9 NP900X3B, Toshiba Satellite Z830, SONY S... did NOT fit this ultrabook so be careful which MacBook Air Cases you choose. I ended up using this Case Logic QNS-113 13.3-Inch EVA Molded Laptop / Macbook Air / Pro Retina Display Sleeve (Black) because it also lets me use the ultrabook in the case itself and I can also stash my second really thin screen (GeChic OnLap--read my review there) GeChic On-Lap 1302 13.3 USB Powered Thin Slim LCD Monitor with ThunderBolt/Mini Display Port Adapter for Apple Macbook Pro Air 13 in the same case! I can also use the Case Logic 14" Case Logic LAPS-114 14-Inch Laptop Sleeve (Black) but it doesn't let me use the laptop in its case. TSA had no issues with either case and I didn't have to remove the ultrabook.
(3) OTHER QUIRKS: So, I think I have figured out the problem with some people reporting touchpad sensitivity and issues. The chassis is carbon fiber and has some "flex" to it. Therefore, if the ultrabook is not fully on a hard surface, and more specifically, half on a hard surface and the palmrest hanging off, the touchpad must be getting compressed inside somewhere as it bends between the palmrest and the touchpad. That is the only time I had issues. If it were fully on a hard or soft surface it operated normally. Imagine taking the laptop and pushing down on the palmrest while it is half over the side of a desk. That is what seems to be happening with me at least. Easy enough for me to adjust so it's a non-issue for me.
The fan noise that people are complaining about I must admit can get annoying sometimes, but I have not tried too much in the way of intensive operations yet. The initial DropBox sync (about 7GB for me) kicked up the fan a lot and it was noticeable. In airports and other areas, it wasn't too much of a distraction, but time will tell if I will be the "weirdo" with the noisy machine in day to day meetings, etc. Ah well, I guess I will have to avoid playing video games during my business meetings!
I did not experience any major Wifi issues other than with networks that do not broadcast SSID's. There are a large number of Sony firmware updates available so I would suggest installing them if you are experiencing issues with bluetooth, wifi, and NFC (which I haven't tried yet). My problem is that the Sony Vaio Update app keeps getting an error so I will contact Sony shortly.
(4) TABLET REPLACEMENT? My Asus TF300T's digitizer broke prior to my flight and it's a pain to replace so I haven't done that yet. Needless to say, I've used the Sony Vaio Pro 13 in many situations that I would have used the tablet for and honestly, I feel less restricted than under Android limitations (read: multitasking, productivity office apps, etc.). I have all but replaced it and since it actually weighs less than my TF300T with keyboard dock, I'm happy to be using this. Yes, it's a little bit large for some situations, so I might hold out and get a decent 8" Bay Trail tablet when they are released later in the year.
(5) PURCHASE TIPS: So, after playing with this for a while, and knowing that some options are pretty expensive, here is what I can offer: most of the components are fixed and not upgradeable. If you can afford it, go with the highest processor and memory that you can. The memory is soldered to the main board. The SSD, however, is Samsung's new XP941 PCIe "M.2" form factor SDD. While they are not available for sale (that I could find) other than to OEMs right now, it is likely they will appear in the market soon. Going from the base 128GB, it costs $220 for 256GB and $720 or so for the 512GB. While the speeds are among the fastest you will see today for SSD, I might be willing to hold off on that, especially since it appears to be user-replaceable (no confirmation on that but see below). Your best shot is to keep searching for them online and see when they pop up cheaper in the future.
(6) TAKE-APART AND DISASSEMBLY: While I have not tried it yet, there is now a good tear-down video [...]and pictures [...]so you can see for yourself.
In this review:
(1) In the box
(2) PROs (+)
(3) CONs/Quirks (-)
(4) Windows Experience Index Ratings, Battery Life, and Performance Observations
(5) Extended sheet battery thoughts
(6) Thoughts on travel/portability/business use
(7) General Thoughts and Thoughts on tablet replacement
(1) In the box: power cord and adapter with neat USB port in transformer, brief setup pamphlet, VGA Adapter.
I thought I would include this section because there was some confusion as to whether the USB-powered Ethernet wireless router that attaches to the power adapter was included. Sadly, it is not. It is also not listed as available for sale (as of this date) in the US. If you need the part number (since it's hard to find), it's VGP-WAR100 and is available on Sony Asia's website [...]
- Great battery life (later)
- Super thin AND great battery life!
- full-size spacing on keys
- Tight integration between hardware and Windows 8 (even some 8.1 features done Sony-style on Windows 8.0)
- Screen lifts for the most part with one hand (better than I could have expected)
- brightness is decent
- Carbon fiber build seems flimsy (because it bends) but actually feels and appears to be durable (if that makes sense)
- Really light.
- Did I mention that it's really thin and light?
(3) CONs/Quirks (not all are really terrible and I've overcome some as described)
- Yes, there is a known WiFi issue. Supposedly, Sony is working on a fix though not all their stores and call centers are familiar with it. However, that being said, I did not experience any major issues. Just in case, I have a WiFi adapter I can use if needed.
- For me: lack of Thunderbolt port is a disappointment but I understand that Sony had to sacrifice some things for such a thin laptop. I would have preferred Thunderbolt over HDMI but that is just me and the market supports the decision to stick with HDMI right now.
- Lack of Gb Ethernet. Really wished it had this but a lot of ultrabooks are forgoing this option these days. To overcome this, I purchased a nifty Asus USB router (see below under travel)
- The large amount of flex in the build makes using the touchscreen difficult to use or at least not as "seamless" as it could be. The screen vibrates back and forth a lot with each press making for a slightly uncomfortable but bearable experience. It certainly does not replace a tablet feel (nor is it meant to so no stars deducted). It's just that it feels like the touchscreen could have been left out altogether but I must admit I still use it extensively over the touchpad (but maybe not over a travel mouse).
- The sheet battery is not flush to the device (more on that below under the "extended battery" section).
- The keyboard is a little awkward for me, but to be fair, I'm accustomed to a 12.1" netbook keyboard. The keys for me are spaced too far apart but I can still type pretty fast and it doesn't seem like it will take a lot of getting used to.
- The lights for the backlit keyboard are visible from underneath the keys when you are looking at the device. It's kind of annoying and I wish it were just the letters that were lit instead of an outline of the keys.
- Silly dedicated "assist" button launches Sony's troubleshooting and repair/recovery apps. I'd rather be able to customize a dedicated hardware button (and maybe I can?)
(4) Windows Experience Index, battery life, and other performance measures
Overall: 6.3 (internal HD4000 graphics being the limiting factor)
Gaming Graphics: 6.3
It isn't meant to be a super high-end gaming machine. The idea here is thin and light...but seriously, it does a pretty darn good job at everything else while it's at it. Data transfer rates are extremely good. If I get a chance, I'll post some samples.
Battery Life is really really good. I use Battery Bar and it varies it's estimate based on use but going from a full charge on just the main battery without the extended sheet battery, it varies between 7-8.5 hours, way over Sony's 6.5 hours estimate. To be fair, I have only been installing software and not anything otherwise intensive. With the extended battery which is almost double capacity, I would easily believe Sony's 13-14 hour claim and then some. Time will tell and I will update if this changes.
Performance is pretty snappy and I haven't noticed any major hiccups but to be fair, I haven't done a whole lot other than web browsing and software installation. I'll update as time goes on if it changes.
(5) Extended Sheet battery thoughts:
Honestly, I have mixed feelings. Since there are really no pictures for this model, I thought I would post this so you have a good idea of what it is like. I will post a picture soon as well. For starters, it does NOT sit flush with the laptop. In other words, it adds a significant amount of depth (almost double) but at least it is a smaller footprint and not the whole side of the laptop. It serves as a stand while it is attached. One thing I do wish: the cover for the connector for the extended battery can be difficult to remove form the laptop (it has a spot to reattach to the extended batteyr to hold it in place but even that is a pain to do in a hurry. If I have to switch batteries in a hurry or switch to the extended, it can be irritating. A sliding cover would have been more practical (but I'm not sure if it's feasible space-wise)
(6) Travel and portability thoughts:
For me, extended batteries are almost a necessity and I'm so used to just ordering them that I ordered it with the device. As I am using this, I am actually thinking I wouldn't need it if I were just replacing my netbook/laptop. Since the sheet battery adds such significant battery life, I might use it to replace what I normally defer to my Asus TF300T tablet for (notes, travel, work on airplanes/trains, etc.).
I will update this review soon--I have ordered two different MacBook Air cases and will see how they fare.
I also ordered the Asus WL-300NUL pocket WiFi router (ASUS Multi-Mode Pocket Router (WL-330NUL). This can be used in much the same way as the Sony part I mentioned above with the added benefit that it can also be used as a USB ethernet adapter and standard WiFi adapter as well.
For travel, I also ordered a USB combo mini outlet surge protector Satechi Compact USB Surge Protector for Charging MP3 Players, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Windows Mobile Phones and an inline surge protector TRC 90510-10 Lap Top Surge Protector 3-Wire which should arrive soon.
(7) General Thoughts and Thoughts on Tablet replacement:
I was really hoping for a Haswell ultrabook convertible that would double as my desktop via a nice Thunderbolt dock for two monitors, GbE, USB 3.0 drives, etc. I was hoping for said ultrabook to also double as a tablet and take advantage of Window 8 handwriting recognition with a digitizer (this does not have a digitizer). In the end, while this may have been a purchase out of frustration in waiting or the "perfect" device to come along, I think I am happy with it. The near-instant on feature is nice so that certainly helps in pushing the case to replace my tablet. I can still think of a need for a decent tablet with digitizer (perhaps a future "mini" Windows 8 tablet with Bay Trail?). I thought about the Sony Duo 13 as well but the limited one angle kind of was a dealbreaker for me. In retrospect, it might be more of what I was looking for. The trackpad is becoming more and more of an after-thought for me as I use the touchscreen more so the fact that it is much smaller on the Duo may not be bad. At least it isn't behind the keyboard like on the recently announced Samsung device. The Asus Transformer Book Trio is probably the closest to what I wanted but it may not be released until much later this year. For now, I would say I'm very happy with the purchase and will continue to evaluate my needs as I go on in terms of living without a tablet.
I do hope that Thunderbolt becomes more common and is standard in the near future. Partly due to cost and partly due to ignorance, I think people are missing out on something great that might be too early for it's own good. It's almost like the "Apple Newton" was way ahead of its time and didn't succeed because of ignorance and cost until Palm released their version of the PDA when the market was "ready" for it. I'm hoping this is the time for TB.
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 18JUL Wifi Patch Still Not Solving Problem,
This review is from: Sony VAIO Pro SVP13215PXS 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Silver) (Personal Computers)I returned this laptop to the Sony store (even after receiving a second/replacement for the first). The major issue remains the wifi connectivity -- despite an 18 July "update" from Sony, there is STILL a problem with the wifi. I have an above average knowledge of computers and I walked through all the basic and advanced troubleshooting steps (and, yes, my router/network works fine, I have other computers connected via 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, g and n; and, yes, I tried multiple wireless networks around my neighborhood). The problem is, simply, the wifi hardware or firmware in this computer. There are other problems (extremely loud fan, troublesome trackpad) but those can be solved via software/firmware updates (although Sony makes this painful - try clicking your country preference for EACH (of many) updates over a 2 hour period, meaning you can't walk away from the computer as it updates itself -- seriously, Sony, too hard to grab the country preference ONCE from the user?). Bottom line: this computer was released to the consumer before it was ready, and users are paying the price (in wasted time and energy). Sony, like HP, has been added to my "Don't Buy" list for the foreseeable future.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic ultrabook,
This review is from: Sony VAIO Pro SVP13215PXB 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Black) (Personal Computers)Pros:
**no wifi issues what-so-ever
**great battery life due to Haswell
**very light and durable
**lightning fast and the keyboard feedback is fantastic
**1920 X 1080 ultra-thin touchscreen is gorgeous
**SD card slot on the side allows a card to be inserted flush with the case which greatly extends this ultrabook's storage capacity
**touchpad is very good and the speakers are amazing
Cons: somewhat expensive (but the Sony quality is worth it)
Other Thoughts: Best ultrabook on the market
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sony raised the bar for battery life,
This review is from: Sony VAIO Pro SVP13215PXB 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Black) (Personal Computers)Summary: I'm very happy with this notebook.
Excellent battery life
Very, very lightweight
Fast/stable wifi (after SW updates)
Ports: HDMI, SD, 2x USB 3.0
Sharp pointy bits on the bottom edge of the display panel
Disappointing viewing angle
Undersized arrow keys and Fn key required for Home/End/PgUp/PgDn
Lacks ethernet jack
Touchpad/case flexing issues
I bought the Sony VAIO Pro SVP13215PXB 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Black). That's the Core i7 / 8GB RAM / 256GB SSD version and I am very pleased, overall.
The notebook resumes from sleep in just a few seconds. If I do a shutdown/power on cycle it's still remarkably fast to boot (less than 10 seconds). I have both hybrid sleep and the fast startup options disabled, and it's still a blazing fast boot.
The right edge has an HDMI port, two usb 3.0 ports, headphone/mic jack, and an SD card slot. The left edge has only the jack for the power. There are no I/O ports on the front or back edges. I like this configuration since I don't use the notebook while charging it and therefore I won't have wires (for headphones or whatever else) hanging off more than one edge.
The keyboard is better than many others I've tried (I went to a big box store and sampled keyboards on other ultrabooks from Acer, Samsung, Dell, etc.). My only complaint is the trend (from many manufacturers - not just Sony) to shrink the size of the arrow keys and eliminate the Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys. For document editing these are very important keys. I guess they are just following Apple's lead. Nevertheless, this keyboard is better than the rest, good feel and key travel, nice key spacing, a row of function keys above the numeric keys. A bad keyboard is a deal-breaker for me, and this one meets the bar.
I bought the extended sheet battery and it adds some significant extra weight, but I'll accept that for the extended battery life. It's easily removable if I want the really, really light weight. It doesn't attach flush against the bottom panel and actually tips the notebook forward a little bit. This provides a beneficial side effect in that the inexplicable pointy bits on the bottom edge of the display panel won't poke you in the thigh. I use this notebook at home (not all day long) and I can go for days without plugging it in to the charger. I'm convinced that it would last me all day if required. In other words, by today's standards, the battery life is amazing.
The display is very, very nice looking. I'm not waiting around for the new super high-resolution Samsung ATIV 9 or the Asus Zenbook Infinity (they are quite tempting); this is such a step up from the 1366x768 garbage we've been fed for so long. The stock Windows 8 configuration is using the 125% text setting and things still look a little small. Windows doesn't layout text and UI components very well when you try to resize above that level, so I'm afraid that a higher resolution display would actually be a problem. Microsoft will need to work on better high DPI display support right away since these high resolution notebooks are now hitting the market.
The viewing angle isn't as good as I had hoped - things don't look as bright if you aren't looking straight at the display panel - but it's fine for a single viewer. Don't expect a group of several people to be able to watch a video.
The display is glossy (since it's a touchscreen), so keep that in mind if you are in an environment where glare would bother you. I don't really care about the touchscreen feature, but I do try it to use it a bit by sometimes clicking the X to close a window or scroll a webpage or whatever. It works okay and I haven't had a bunch of smeary fingerprints yet, but... meh - what's the big deal about touchscreens, anyway?
The display doesn't open extremely wide, roughly 135 degrees (although I didn't really measure). I was initially concerned that it wouldn't work for me if I'm sitting upright and want it tilted way, way back. But it hasn't turned out to be a problem - I've found that it tilts back far enough.
There is a little bit of "bloatware", but I've seen worse on other systems, and everything I don't want seems to uninstall without leaving bits behind. It's not enough to complain about.
Before I decided to make this purchase, I was concerned about some issues with the laptop that I discovered browsing the Sony forums. These seem to have all been remediated with updates from Sony. There were undoubtedly some initial connectivity/performance issues with the Intel wifi, but I'm running the most recent drivers supplied by Sony and have had no issues with wifi at all. It operates well even when I'm far away from my wifi router - better than the other two notebooks my family uses (both are Asus with an Atheros chipset - and I'm happy with the wifi on my Asus notebooks, too).
Initially, the touchpad cursor control was very erratic and would dart around whenever I touched/lifted my finger from the pad, but this was corrected after applying an Synaptics ClickPad software update provided by Sony.
If you are a heavy touchpad user, you may not be satisfied. When there is nothing supporting the front edge of the notebook (like when it is resting on your thighs supported by the left and right edges) the touchpad seems to flex inconsistently when you depress the lower left and right corners. There is a nice satisfying click when it works, but the left clicks don't always seem to land - especially in the extreme front left corner of the touchpad. This is so annoying that I just always grab the mouse and use that instead. Since I always prefer the mouse over the touchpad, I am unconcerned, but I think the touchpad is the weakest component in this otherwise excellent product.
The default settings enable some "Automatic brightness" and "Display Power Saving Technology" features that are somewhat and extremely annoying, respectively. The first feature senses ambient lighting and brightens/dims the display automatically - it's midly annoying but you can turn it off in the VAIO control center. The second feature is part of the Intel HD graphics software and it almost makes the screen flicker when you close or open a window with a bright background vs. a dark background. I recommend you turn this off in the Intel Graphics properties - it's very distracting. It took me a while to figure out that I had to adjust this in two different places (although I'm sure you can Google for a solution just as I did), but I'm mentioning it here to hopefully save someone some time.
Using a bluetooth mouse is irritating because Windows 8 keeps powering down either the "Intel Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter" and/or the "Generic USB Hub" devices to save power. You can disable this in Device Manager (you need to do it to both devices) but something keeps re-enabling it. I switched to using a wireless USB mouse.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consumer Reports #1 Rated 13" Laptop,
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)November 2013 Consumer Reports gives top rating to Vaio Pro 13" Ultrabook - Overall scores for 13" laptops are:
Sony Vaio Pro Ultrabook = 79
Macbook Air = 74
Toshiba Kirabook = 73
Asus Zenbook = 67
Macbook Pro = 66
Consumer Reports really tests stuff thoroughly. I assume they are not taking into account the OS, but still, Apple should get their act together. The Asus Zenbook is rated higher than the MacBook Pro, made me spew my sip of Kopi Luwak at the thought!
My Rating = 4.5 Stars:
*** Wifi Update Below***
Avid Mac User Perspective: Tip Of The Hat To Sony And Microsoft
In 1980 my grandmother gave me $3,000 - all in one dollar bills so I would know how much money it was - to purchase an Apple II+. That's roughly $8,500 in today's money for less computer power than my current microwave. I have exclusively only owned and used Apple computers since. My only brush with Windows is once or twice using an uncle's computer during the holidays to look up something on the web and wondering why the OS was asking so many questions. Unlike many Mac users, I have nothing against Windows, no old blue screen of death wounds. It's a bit like Portugal, never been there and thus have no opinion. Under the normal forces if nature I would never consider a Windows machine. I would head straight to Apple's website and compare models within the happy, familiar, and comfortable Mac universe. It is only by the good graces of the Vine program that I have the Sony Vaio Pro Ultrabook to review. Bottom line: I love this Sony product, here's why.
Excellent. Carbon fiber body is strong, sleek, and very lightweight - perhaps the lightest 13.3" laptop on the market (sorry Apple). Very sophisticated looking. Battery life is good, not terrific, but good enough for me. The black is chic, though if I had a choice, might choose silver. I like how opening the display slightly raises the rear of the ultrabook, creating more heat dissipation and a comfortable typing angle - also the presence of rubber feet prevent the unit from sliding.
Also excellent, the best laptop display I've seen - very clear and crisp. Touchscreen works very well and is surprising useful. Sony has obviously leveraged their considerable TV experience into creating a tremendous laptop display. Once again, and it pains me to say it, but I prefer this Vaio touchscreen display to the MacBook Pro's. After this experience, I hope Apple will eventually refresh their laptop line with touchscreen technology.
Very good. High quality and comfortable to use, a nice balance between firm and softness. Palm rests are also great. Can feel the quality throughout.
Once I figured out how to right and left click (click in either lower left or right area of touchpad) the touchpad has worked very well. I have not experienced the problems expressed by other reviewers. I do use the Ultrabook on a hard surface like a desk or table, per the instructions. The system utilizes upper left and right "hot corners" which at times confuse the touchpad's pointer causing it to flicker on those areas. I believe this to be a Windows issue, not Sony. Only complaint is that I cannot find touchpad adjustment ability anywhere in the system. Under Control Panel -> Mouse there is no trackpad listed. The option to turn off "tap to click", and make other adjustments, would be nice. On a Mac such things are easily done in System Preferences. If anyone can tell me how to adjust the trackpad on the Ultrabook, I would appreciate the knowledge.
FAN & HEAT:
I used the Ultrabook for many hours, once again, following the directions to use only on a hard surface. The fan comes on periodically, not that often really. When on, a bit noisy, nothing bothersome. One could interpret "noise" as being "an effective fan" that quickly dissipates heat and thus is protecting your investment. I'd rather have an effective noisier fan than a silent fan that doesn't do the job. The Ultrabook is mostly cool to the touch, impressive for a mighty machine.
I have a 3 year old Cisco Valet router, nothing fancy. Wifi has performed well for me, an effective signal within approximately 25' of the router. My iMac is located about 40' from the router and receives 5 bars, while the Sony Vaio Pro 13 Ultrabook was unable to connect from the same distance. I have ordered a couple of external wifi dongles to improve the Ultrabook's reception by having the antenna outside of the body - will report back with the results. In reading other reviews I was very concerned about wifi performance, an issue that has effected the new MacBook Air as well. My conclusion is that the Ultrabook has good, but not great wifi range. Hopefully a firmware or software update will fix the issue.
Following the brief directions in the enclosed literature, setup was very easy. Downloading the initial Sony and Windows updates took about an hour. Installation of the 12 Sony updates is a bit of a bother because you must affirm your country for each one over and over. Midway through the screen went black and freaked me out! The troubleshooting guide confirmed the setup wizard had crashed. A reboot got everything back on track and the remaining 6 updates were installed. For some reason the Sony App updates are not downloading properly, they say "pending" but never go the next step. Machine has been very stable since.
Not that great, ok. But I really don't expect genuine hi-fi from built-in laptop speakers. For any sort of good sound, you'll want a quality pair of external speakers.
PERFORMANCE AND WINDOWS 8:
The Ultrabook is a pleasure to use, very snappy and completely silent thanks to the solid state drive (except when fan comes on). More than adequate for everything but hardcore gaming or other graphic intensive activities. For it's intended usage, this machine has far more horsepower than most will ever need. I must admit, I rather like Windows 8. Microsoft has clearly gone all in with the iOS like interface. The "Tiles" system is excellent, highly functional, customizable and flows seamlessly into the touchscreen capabilities. Tiles is a combination of the Mac dock and launch pad, and in many ways, Tiles is superior to either. The "desktop" mode interfaces with the Tile system poorly, yet I'm happy to remain in Tileland most of the time. Apps launch in a very iOS manner as well and Microsoft has provided dock like navigation in a clever way. I do feel the iOS Windows 8 type features are better suited for a laptop than a desktop where part of the joy is to sit a ways back from the display. I would welcome a similar touchscreen/ Tiles type interface in the next MacBook Pro. Not so interested in seeing it on an iMac.
The included Mail app could be better, I'm awaiting the arrival of the year subscription to Office to test that out.
Is Windows 8 better than Lion? There are elements of Windows 8 that I prefer, yet I'm a diehard Mac fellow and on the over all do prefer Mac OS. However, I do offer a tip of the hat and a respectful wink to Windows 8.
Assuming my experience for the last few days is indicative of what you should expect from the Sony Vaio Pro 13 Touchscreen Ultrabook - and assuming a lightweight Windows based Ultrabook meets your computing power needs (ie no heavy gaming) - then I confidently recommend this product. We'll see how it performs over time, if it conks out in 6 months I'll be very sad. All in all, pleasantly surprised by the entire experience and consider myself a proud Vaio owner. I do apologize, this review was typed on my iMac (g).
4.5 Stars - Highly Recommended
*** Edit 9/1/13 ***
The Vaio Pro 13 continues to perform well. I do wish Windows 8 had either gone all Tiles, or, remained with the traditional desktop. Mixing the two very different systems together is a little confusing. As for the issue of limited wifi range, here are two solutions that have worked for me:
1) TRAVEL SOLUTION - I purchased the TP-LINK TL-WN822N Wireless N300 High Gain USB Adapter from Amazon. It has increased the Vaio's wifi range quite a bit. Now the Vaio picks up the same signal as my iMac and functions well, where before only the iMac could received the wifi signal. The adapter is a little clumsy, but I concluded it would be more effective than a smaller one. Here's the link - http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WN822N-Wireless-External-Antennas/dp/B00416Q5KI/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
2) HOME SOLUTION - I refuse to give the cable company yet more money for an additional router in the back of the house. Instead I purchased a TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit. It cleverly sends the broadband signal to another part of your home via existing electrical wiring. I connected it to a spare wifi router (TP-Link N600) and have successfully extended the home network wifi range and avoided cable company fees. Here's the link - http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-PA4010KIT-Powerline-Adapter-Starter/dp/B00AWRUICG/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
SLEEVE/ CASE: I chose the Case Logic 13.3" Molded Laptop Sleeve. The sleeve is a little bit too large for the Vaio Pro 13, though adding padding to the inside (a piece of foam or velvet) has solved that issue. The sleeve fits quite well into my Osprey Packs Comet Daypack. A great pack that needs a well padded sleeve, like the Case Logic, in order to provide adequate protection.
Sleeve link - http://www.amazon.com/Case-Logic-13-3-Laptop-Sleeve/dp/B00E66JILG/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Osprey Comet link - http://www.amazon.com/Osprey-COMET-P-Packs-Comet-Daypack/dp/B007X0UAQY/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
I hope this has been helpful
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Computer,
Lets put is this way:
The screen is fabulous - I can actually work on two word documents side by side on a 13.3 inc screen and see what I am doing. Viewing angles are very good in my view and even though the max angle the screen bends back is not great it does not matter as the screen resolution and viewing angle compensates for this. The touch works very well though I have still to get used Windows 8...
Keyboard- this really blew me away- this keyboard is more comfortable than the desktop keyboard I have at work (which is a nice Logitech waive). Plenty of travel on the keys and I literally make no mistakes. The track pad does not interfere either by throwing the cursor accidentally to the other side of the screen .
One thing to note is that the back edge screen when opened liens on the surface you are working on thereby elevating the back of the keyboard- this helps typing become more comfortable. However if you work with this thing on your lap a lot (especially wearing shorts) this may bother you as the back of the screen has quite a sharp angle so it does dig a bit into your legs. with long trousers on this is not an issue.
Trackpad- is very nice. I haven't yet started to play with the configurations (which may be adjustable) but the double tap does not always seem to catch on. As I use a blue tooth mouse anyway this does not really bother me. Multi gesture touch works very well and it is a smooth feel which is nice (not like some other touch pads I have used)
Speed- computer is really really fast- its like working with an Ipad- wakes up in a second and a full restart takes about 20 secs.
I have notices that the fan seems to kick in when the graphics card is working - when video streaming from the net and generally when you are in a hot room (I live in a hot country). I would not mention this but the fan is a little noisy though certainly not unbearable.
Battery time is fine- at least 6.5 hours and I like the screen pretty bright. So I guess if I was meaner on the backlight it would mean longer.
I have seen the comments on the wifi- seems to be ok on my machine so I hope this is not something that will start....
computer looks a million dollars - so if you are looking for a looker you've got one- nice and slim and really weightless (1 kg... what else can one ask for). It does collect plenty of finger prints on the keyboard palm rest- I have the black model so maybe go for the silver if you are touchy about this (my previous vaio was silver but then the keys got really dirt- you cant win...)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ultrabook,
Great screen, lightweight, nice design. Small enough that I'm going to use it as a replacement for both my old laptop and for my ipad. With a laptop this light, a tablet seems rather redundant for my uses.
Other than the trial antivirus program, the pre-loaded software was mostly useful. At the least, none of the software bogged down the PC or was an annoyance, which is a major step up from what I've seen on other new laptops in the past.
In regards to wifi, I have not run into any issues with connectivity. I have updated all the drivers (including wifi driver) so it is possible that it resolved the issue other reviewers were having with wifi signal. I am using the laptop on the opposite side of my condo from where my wifi router is located so it's working at a decent distance.
Also of note is the laptop hasn't gotten hot or noisy on me yet. Nothing I have done has taxed the machine (no graphic intensive games or movies) but in everyday use, I don't see heat or noise being an issue. It may be that I'm just not as picky as other users or maybe have more ambient noise that it makes the laptop noise unnoticeable.
Screen is glossy and a fingerprint magnet (no more than most touchscreen tablets and monitors though so as expected)
A great little laptop for those willing to give it a chance.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great laptop!,
- Screen: Gorgeous! I'm a designer and photographer and wanted something with good color reproduction. So far so good! Wonderful 1080p display and the touchscreen is really responsive. Really makes using Windows 8 that much better (I also have it on a desktop machine). One thing I'm noticing is the display auto adjusts brightness. I believe it's using the webcam to adjust and it's one thing I need to find out how to turn off.
- Keyboard / Trackpad - Wonderful to type on. My girlfriend has a Vizio Thin & Light and the "sunken" keyboard on it is a nightmare. This has been a treat so far. Compact enough to fit on the 13" frame, but the keys feel on par with a regular desktop keyboard. The trackpad is one of the better ones I've used so far on a Windows machine. Gesture controls work really well. Haven't noticed accidentally hitting it while typing yet either, another plus.
- Wi-Fi - I've read a few reviews about the Wi-Fi not working or at the very least only working in close range. So far, haven't noticed any issues with it.
- Weight / Build - This thing is LIGHT. Compared to my girlfriend's Vizio Thing & Light, this feels like a feather. I've read the machine has a bit of flex to it, due to the carbon fiber. It really isn't too noticeable. But the bottom panel does feel a bit thin to me.The machine can get pretty warm and quickly at that depending on what you're doing.
- Battery Life: N/A at the moment, just charged it. I'll do my best to return and update this review with findings.
- Misc: It does come pre-installed with quite a bit of bloatware and Windows 8 apps. If you're looking to remove some of the Windows 8 metro apps, just right click with the trackpad and click "uninstall" (had to Google that).
I've only used the machine for a few hours but so far so good. Like I mentioned earlier, I'll do my best to return and update this review in a few weeks after I've installed Photoshop/Lightroom/Steam on it and really put it through its paces.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sony Tech service is poor,
This review is from: Sony VAIO Pro SVP13215PXS 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Silver) (Personal Computers)I have had this top end laptop for almost 4 weeks. i have been on the phone with Sony tech support for almost 10 hours. The first day the laptop required over 50 updates and crashed. Sony had to take over the computer and down load each up date individually almost 2 hours. The bluetoom mouse and touch pad keep freezing up from day one. The touch pad loses the pointer. Sony tech support has tried lots of stuff, but nothing helps. They seam to blindly go through a list of fixes and don't do any real problem solving. Sony tech support has only made the laptop worse.
This may be a Windows 8 issue, but Microsoft won't help because the laptop came with windows 8 loaded on it and Microsoft says it is Sony's problem.
good luck if you buy this ultrabook. I will update later
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this computer! It is a must have!!!,
I love that it is touch screen is really the big thing and it works great with Windows 8.
The speed at which this computer restarts or showdown is amazing, safe to say that I'm a big fan.
The battery time could be better but its better than many computers I've had.
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