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107 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
I purchased the Core i5 model with 500gb hard drive with touch. I've been using this Ultrabook for about a week and here are my observations. I'm a software developer and am used to very heavy 17" notebooks with quad-core processors, a dedicated video card, screaming SSD drives and tons of memory, so this is a huge departure from my 'norm'.

The size and weight are very good. Battery life seems to be just about at 5 hours with casual web surfing and a couple of 30 minute streaming videos from Hulu Plus. The processor (Core i5-xxxx) is fast and the combination of the mechanical 500GB hard drive and the 32gb SSD caching drive provide a fast experience. I looked into replacing both with a single 256GB SSD drive I had lying around and it is important to note that the 2.5" drive bay in this is the slim-height kind (7mm). I figured this would be the case so I'm not deducting any stars for that, but it is important to note in case you think you can upgrade it with any old SSD drive. That being said, it is going to cost about $200 more for a compatible SSD drive and that would bump the price up to what it would've cost for a core i7 model with 8gb of ram and a 256gb hard drive pre-installed. I definitely wish I had realized that first as I would've bought that model instead!

Screen is okay, definitely bright on the bright settings, however it is glossy and VERY REFLECTIVE. This is definitely a huge miss as my wife's Lenovo Twist has a great screen that is matte and way more effective to watch/use in any kind of lighting condition compared to my ultrabook. The resolution is the lowest resolution I've had in quite some time and I definitely can say I am missing 1920X 1080 resolution, however I'll get used to that and am not deducting any stars as I knew that when I ordered it. I installed Media Center into Windows 8 and hooked this up to a HD Homerun Prime (which is awesome!) and watching HD channels on this is nice, even on Wireless N. The glare however, is annoying in most lighting conditions.

Touchscreen is good, albeit finicky. I also own a Microsoft Surface that has a terrific touchscreen. The same applications, such as IE10 "metro", on the Surface work with all the gestures great. On the Sony, it sometimes takes many tries for the swipe down from the top of the screen to open the different tabs that are open or left-swipe in switches apps but doesn't go 'back' in the browser as easily as my Surface. I don't know if this can be corrected with any sensitivity settings as I haven't looked into that.

The keyboard is good. I type pretty quickly and the keys are spaced very well, have good travel, and keep up to my typing just fine. I don't really like the location of certain function keys like Delete, but that's something that I'll get used to as I use it more for development. At the price of >$800 I paid, I would've really liked a backlit keyboard, but I knew this when buying it so I'm not deducting any stars for lack thereof, however - hey Sony - start putting backlit keyboards on your ultrabooks!!!

The touchpad is quirky. I have read other reviews where this seems to be the case and I think I can adjust more settings but haven't go down that path yet as I'm trying to get used to 'what's there by default' before I make too many changes. On of the biggest annoyances is definitely that swiping anywhere close to the left-side of the touchpad will cycle through to the next application instead of moving my cursor to the right. I don't know that I want to turn that feature off and am trying my best to keep my fingers towards the middle of the touchpad when wanting to move the mouse instead of having a Windows 8 gesture take over. More on this to come when I get more used to the Sony.

FAN NOISE. This is a very common complaint everywhere on the web about these Ultrabooks. When I first unpackaged it and turned it on, the fan was screaming right away. Being that this is supposed to be a sleak & sexy ultrabook, I definitely have to deduct a bunch for this! I have a Dell Precision M6500 with a quad-core processor in it that doesn't make nearly this much noise from the multiple fans in it. Granted, it has more room for cooling in it, but Sony should've been able to figure out it's cooling/fan noise better with this. I really hope that in two years the fan doesn't burn out and I need to replace it! It seems to be on almost constantly.

Ports. This machine comes with 1 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port on the left-hand side, which also is where the power core gets plugged in. It has a FULL sized HDMI port and D-sub port on the right, along with a gigabit network jack, SD slot (and memory stick pro), and a headset jack. I like the fact that I can use a regular HDMI cable to hook up to an external monitor or television instead of having to buy a special adapter for it. Kind of wish the D-Sub was a mini display port or mini hdmi or something more 'modern', but it is cool that you can just plug your old monitor into it without a need for another adapter.

Wireless. The wireless is a Atheros AR9485WB-EG adapter. This means that you cannot use some of the cool features of a core-i5 & Intel Display adapter. There is a cool technology called Intel WIDI which allows you to wireless display content from a machine that is compatible to your television. Unfortunately Sony didn't use a compatible Intel wireless adapter in this ultrabook so this isn't available without taking it apart and upgrading the wireless adapter. I assume this was done to keep the cost down. Wireless signal seems to be comparible with my other wireless devices throughout the household.

Overall, 3/5 stars. Some of the shortcomings I knew about prior to my purchase, others I learned when it arrived at my house. I would definitely return it if I could get a refund and search for another ultrabook that wasn't so half-baked, so be sure to read the return policy before you purchase this!!. Sony did a good job in design and aesthetics but missed on basics like an anti-glare screen and the fan constantly running. Some of the components used could've been better but they probably did this to keep the cost down so I can't take off stars for that.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2012
Fun to use
Multi Touch Trackpad
No heat issues..yet

Only 2 USB Ports
No CD Drive
No Back lit Keyboard

I am a full time student, so I am on my laptop off and on all day. The SSD is VERY useful for someone who constantly turns their computer on and off. Boot times are only a few seconds long, and the computer doesn't lag at all once you unlock it. Apps are also pretty fast to load. (2-3 seconds)

I was skeptical of the i3 processor, but it has worked flawlessly so far. But after finding out that it was a 3rd gen and a dual core, I felt more secure. I usually have at least four or so tabs open at once. Loading facebook, playing videos off youtube, having multiple tabs for homework, and running couple apps, while on the charger and with full brightness. I am happy to say that I have noticed no speed problems or lag, even with multiple youtube videos playing at once and a few other tabs open too. I havnt tried any photo or video editing or 3D games, but I probably will in the near future. But to be fair, this laptop isnt made for gamers anyway. Also, I havnt experienced any heating problems yet, other than just slightly warm.

The trackpad is very easy to use, and It closely resembles that of one on a Mac Book. The multi touch is a big plus for me, for scrolling though web pages and such. But, this laptop truly shines with the touch screen. Windows 8 is basically made to be used with tablet, so I really diddnt want to upgrade unless I had a touch screen. But I will say, using Windows 8 on this touchscreen is an absolute blast! It's just plain fun to play with. Its basically like having a tablet with a full keyboard. The touch screen is by far my favorite feature, and I have had no problems with it yet.

There aren't as many ports on this laptop as I would like, but that is an easy fix. It only has 2 USB ports, and I use a wireless mouse for one and the other is switched between my phone charger and a flash drive. But, a $6 adapter thingy will add ports instantly, so that's not a big deal. Also, the no CD drive is a bit of a con, but again, those can be found on Amazon for around $30. This laptop does have a VGA port, which I use for my dual monitor. The other ultrabooks dont have one, so that was a definite plus. My last con was that there isn't a back lit keyboard, but after talking to sales representatives at Staples, they all said that the back lit keyboard was just another thing to malfunction and I should stay away from them anyway. Out of the 4 they sold recently (6 months or less), all 4 came back with keyboard problems.

I purchased this ultrabook through Staples, where it was on sale for $700 instead of the original $850. I am very happy with my purchase, and just wanted to post a review because I was having trouble finding some myself. So far, this laptop has been lighting fast and very fun to play with. I found one at a good price, jumped on it, and am happy I did so. Not to mention that my friends with the Macs can't stop playing with it :p
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2012
Sony i5 Ultrabook.

I have been using an old Sony laptop from 2009, which I traded-in at Sony store.
I know that Sony's very reliable, so I decided to go with it again!
Overall I am very happy. I will make this review very concise and easy to read


* Design - extremely sexy, aluminum housing is a plus
* Price - great price for an ultrabook! especially because I traded-in my old laptop.
* Keyboard - very friendly arrangement, nice feel
* Trackpad - somewhat a copy of a MacBook trackpad. it's really easy to use (but you'll have to get used to it) and multi-touch gestures are convenient
* Extremely fast boot-up and shut-down
* Very light - almost feels like a feather compared to my old laptop. very portable
* Screen size - I come from a bigger-screen 15.6-inch laptop. So I was skeptical, but I find the screen size to be perfectly fine. It is not small. Good size for basic computing (no gaming, etc.)
* Small adapters make it easy to carry around


* Battery life - while it can go for ~5 hours, the screen needs to be dimmed half way
* Screen - I am not sure why, but pictures seem too bright.
* Takes too long to sleep (under sony's rapid-wake function)
* Speakers are only decent. Nothing too fancy
* Battery is extremely difficult to remove (you need to unscrew with a coin, but it's hard to turn)

* Only 2 USBs (fine for me, but maybe a problem for others)
* Very minimal number of peripheral ports (VGA, Ethernet, HDMI, audio, 2 USBs) - makes laptop appear simple but maybe a problem for others

Overall I am very happy with my purchase!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
I have had multiple laptops, i had an HP with died with in 2 days after the warranty expired, then a gateway almost same thing occurred. I bough my others old sony vaio wich she used for 3 years, i have used it 1 year before buying this new sony vaio.
Its a great entry level ultrabook. I have already put in some software and apps and the computer is very responsive. I am still getting used to win8.


Great Computer for the bucks
13.3 HD screen
+5 Hour Battery Time
Fast Boot up from shutdown and sleep
Aluminum Finish
Multitouch TrackPad (very useful one u get the hag of it)
Light to carry around
Charging Mode for USB (can charge usb hardware like smartphones even if the computer is turned off)

Only 2 USB (3.0 and 2.0)
Speakers are weak and sound is not clear under high volume
Some bloatware installed
No MIC in or line in for video conferencing or audio ( you are stuck with included mic)

If you can live with the minor limitations this computer has, this should be a great purchase, its a fast responsive computer with great features for its price.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2012
This is a great ultrabook. It's fast for non-gaming tasks. I haven't tried games, but I have my doubts. HD streaming and having many apps open still doesn't slow this thing down.

The 4GB ram is barely enough for the laptop, however. You NEED to upgrade to 8GB before you can treat it like a normal laptop which means opening everything you can think of, multitasking, etc.

The touchscreen works great with Windows 8.

Please do yourself a favor and uninstall the builtin Sony branded apps... They just slow the computer down and eat up memory.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2012
I just purchased the touchscreen version of this bad boy and I couldn't be more pleased. Very lightweight but doesn't over heat, sleek design and the power it packs is perfect for someone like me who uses it for basic, everyday use. The speakers pack a punch and windows 8 take a quick review to really use it to it's full potential. The screen can be a little sensitive so I end up bringing up things I didn't intend to when I actually use my fingers to navigate the touch screen, but I chalk that up to operator error. So far, very happy with my purchase.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2012
-powerful enough for daily tasks
-doesn't get hot
-decent battery life
-quick start-up time

-the keys are spread pretty far apart

I'm a full time college student so I am on my computer a lot. I bought this computer because of how light it was compared to my old one. I am very pleased with it. The only thing that takes come getting used to is how spread out the keys are. If you've never had a computer with an island keyboard before this will be a little different for you, like it was for me. But after about a week you get used to it. Its been very reliable so far and overall I am very pleased.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2012
Windows 8 is not as intuitive to get used to after years on Windows XP and Windows 7.
But the touch screen feature is a really great feature for the kids and makes it easier for them.
I like the larger screen compared to the previous netbook, and one of the best features is the lower key profile that prevents (so far) our 2 year old from ripping the keys off the keyboard.

Starts up fast.
Long battery life.
Restarts fast.
Good screen resolution.
Touch screen works great.

Update 2012-12-26
The kids can be rough. The laptop survived a full 4 foot fall to hardwood floor with a single tiny dent on the aluminum interior where the cover contacted to protect the touch screen. Very happy with the durability.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
I really enjoy my new laptop. It's very lightweight, which is great, because my old laptop weighed a ton. The touch pad is a little too sensitive (or not sensitive enough?) sometimes, but I use a mouse most of the time anyway. The screen is nice and bright, the speakers are great. It's good enough to play a few simple games, which is more than I wanted. Windows 8 takes a little getting used to, but I'm coming to enjoy it. I'm sure it'd be a little more intuitive if I had gone with the touch screen, which I didn't really want at this time. It looks really nice. I've only had a few problems with it, but I think that is more the Windows 8 software than the Vaio software. Since it's brand new, I'm giving it some time to work out the bugs. Overall, I love my new laptop!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
OVERALL: I got this laptop for a friend that needed a portable computer for regular usage (internet, Word, Excel). It is fine for those purposes but you should not get it if you are doing heavy processing or memory-intensive tasks.

FEW COMMENTS: You may need a faster processor and more RAM for more intensive work. For regular daily usage this laptop is affordable and a decent option. I'm still not sold on Windows 8. I have a feeling that older folks or less computer-savvy people will not appreciate the new operating system. I have grown up on computers and worked in IT but it took me an hour or so to get used to the different movements back and forth between screens. I don't think either of my parents would have such patience. Battery life holds up pretty well with the first few uses---much longer than my current laptop. Glad it has a USB 3.0 port but only 2 total (one 3.0 and one 2.0) seems a little bit on the low end. Comes with a webcam but only 1.3MP.

NOTE: There is NO DVD/CD player. You will have to purchase a separate USB drive if you want to install programs or hope to watch movies from a DVD/CD.
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