Customer Reviews


13 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A viable (and cheaper) alternative to the Vaio Z
I should start by saying that I am a frequent and finicky laptop user. I often scope out good deals online, buy the computer and try it for a month or two, and then resell it on eBay---ideally for what I originally paid. That said, over the past twelve months, I have used the following laptops extensively: the 13" Macbook Pro (Core 2 Duo), the Lenovo X201, the Sony...
Published on August 13, 2011 by J. White

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars crap - useless after 60 dyas
I'm a grad student and a gamer. I normally use desktop replacement size laptops, but after lugging those heavy things around for a few years I was due for a change. After searching for awhile, this seemed to be one of the best deals available. It appeared to be a highly portable machine that I could take notes and write papers on, and that could play most games using...
Published on September 10, 2011 by Paul


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A viable (and cheaper) alternative to the Vaio Z, August 13, 2011
I should start by saying that I am a frequent and finicky laptop user. I often scope out good deals online, buy the computer and try it for a month or two, and then resell it on eBay---ideally for what I originally paid. That said, over the past twelve months, I have used the following laptops extensively: the 13" Macbook Pro (Core 2 Duo), the Lenovo X201, the Sony Vaio Z (first generation Core i5), the HP Elitebook 2540p, the Toshiba R835, the 11.6" Core i5 Macbook Air, and now this.

After having used the R835 for a few months and enjoyed its performance and portability, I nonetheless realized that I missed two things: (1) a backlit keyboard and (2) a higher resolution display. So, when I came across a deal on this model, I decided to jump on it. Between promotions and student discounts, I was able to snag a VPCSA, with the sheet battery, for just under a grand. Now that I have used it for a few weeks, I have to say that I am really pleased.

Overall, I would say that the build quality is pretty good. I really like the magnesium chassis; it is really light-weight (I think like 3.5 pounds) and seems durable. The brushed finish also means that it's not a fingerprint magnet. While I do think that the barrel hinge on the screen is kind of strange (it's somewhat "springy"---you may have to check one out in the flesh to see what I mean), I concede that I haven't really had any problems with it. The typing experience is fantastic too, just like the Vaio Z, and the backlit keyboard is perfect for working in low lit conditions. There are also ample ports---including USB 3.0---to hook up accessories and external monitors, and memory cards fit flush in the computer's body. (A lack of ports and protruding SD cards were two of my biggest gripes with the MacBook Air.)

Though I generally use a wireless mouse, I also find the large trackpad adequate. It's certainly not as nice as a Mac's (none are), but it is generously sized. Moreover, the native drivers support two-finger swiping, and with a third-party add-on for two-finger right clicks, I hardly miss Apple's click pad.

With a Core i5 (2410M) processor, performance is also good. I have no problems running several media and office applications at once. The unit comes with 4GB of RAM soldered onto the motherboard, so you can upgrade to 8GB with just one 4GB chip. I found this nice. Also, unlike the Macbook Air and Vaio Z, users can easily replace the hard drive. (I really worried about this on those two models, as I have had hard drive failures in the past, and I think if you have a proprietary, non-user-accessible hard drive, it may be a really expensive repair.) Anyway, I was able to drop in a 128 GB SSD in about 5 minutes, and have been all the more impressed by the performance.

I am also pretty happy with the screen. The 1600 x 900 resolution is really handy, particularly if you want to have two windows (say a text editor and a web browser) open side-by-side. As a result, I find myself resorting to an external monitor less frequently. I have read complaints that the screen isn't as nice as that of the Vaio Z. Frankly, I don't recall, and I guess viewing angles aren't spectacular, but I'm generally the only person using the computer, so I can move the LCD as necessary. One thing I really do appreciate, however, is the matte finish. I am typing this review with the sun setting over my shoulder, and I have absolutely no problem reading the screen. Bravo, Sony.

Other merits for this unit include its optical drive, and dedicated graphics card (both lacking on the newest Vaio Z and the Macbook Air). To be honest, I haven't used the Radeon graphics too much; Intel's integrated chip does just fine streaming HD video. Still, gamers especially might appreciate the added horsepower. Similarly, I haven't used the DVD drive a lot, except to perform a clean install of Windows 7. Nonetheless, users can apparently replace the DVD drive with a Blu-Ray drive or a second hard drive. I may install a Blu-Ray drive later on if physical media still exists in the next few years . . . .

As far as gripes with the machine, I have found them few and far between. As I mentioned earlier, the screen hinge seems a little flimsy at first, but I have had few problems with it in normal use. My other complaint is that the power brick is a little chunky. After having had the Macbook, X201, and R835, I really liked the light-weight, two-pronged power adapters. This unit has Sony's standard, three-pronged adapter. While not hefty, I think it could be smaller, which is apparently the case: Sony actually sells a separate "slim line" adapter for $100. Why they can't just make the normal adapter more svelte is beyond me. Finally, battery life, while okay, isn't as long as that of other units I've used. Under standard typing and browsing use, I get about five hours from a full charge. I haven't tried the sheet battery yet because I really am not ever away from an outlet that long. Still, I think it would be nice to know that, were I to take a long flight or car trip, I could count on 8+ hours of use, like with the Macbook or the Lenovo.

Needless to say, my quibbles aside, I am very satisfied with this product. I think it has good performance and several premium amenities, all for a reasonable price. So, unless some miracle computer comes down the pipeline in the next few months, I may hang on to my Vaio SA for longer than usual.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great laptop, August 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony VAIO VPC-SA21GX/SI Laptop (Silver) (Personal Computers)
Pros: Small, light, Great resolution screen, nice back-lit keyboard, has a nice build quality feel, great performance, awesome battery life (even more amazing with the additional sheet battery!). I also really like the manual switch to go from integrated to dedicated graphics.

Cons:
- Speakers NEED tweaking within the sound settings. Once you get them setup, they are much better. Although, they could be better.

- Webcam......not the best...

- Thought the fan was a little annoying/loud at first (while installing all my programs, updates exc.) But it seems to be just fine now. You can always lower the max CPU frequency settings in the Power Options to keep your temps down while loading the CPU. This will always keep the fan nice and quite.

Other:
- I have an i7-970 6-core desktop for all my photo editing. I mainly use CS5 and Lightroom 3. This is a great little laptop for doing editing with these programs while on the road. Beats carrying my big ole 17 inch laptop around! :)

Ya, I could have bought a 15-17 inch laptop with the same or better performance for the same price or even less, but I am really digging the 13 inch form factor!

Overall, I am very happy with the purchase.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars crap - useless after 60 dyas, September 10, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm a grad student and a gamer. I normally use desktop replacement size laptops, but after lugging those heavy things around for a few years I was due for a change. After searching for awhile, this seemed to be one of the best deals available. It appeared to be a highly portable machine that I could take notes and write papers on, and that could play most games using mid-level graphics. The machine lived up to the hype, and I'm completely satisfied with it. I have the black version, and I get compliments on the looks all the time. It's really light for a machine with an optical drive, discrete graphics card, and upgradable ram. The battery life is pretty good too. I haven't done a precise measure of the battery life, but it suffices to say that i can go the entire school day in stamina mode without a charge. I added an SSD and upgraded the ram to 8gb. I can play WoW, SCII, Dragon Age II, and Mass Effect 2 all on high settings on a laptop that weighs roughly 3.5 pounds.

Some of the reviews on here are a bit misleading. The computer really is not that loud. At least it's not louder than any full-sized laptop that I've owned. Moreover, you can always switch to stamina mode which pretty much eliminates any irritating fan noise. One reviewer complained about the size of the power brick. I have no idea what he/she was talking about. The cord is thin and the brick is about the size of my palm. The bloatware wasn't too bad either. My only complaint is that the comp doesn't come with an SSD. There are true ultraportables close to this price range that come with a SSD, but just about none of them come with discrete graphics. If you don't care about the discrete graphics, you may do better going with another option.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Had to downgrade from 5 stars..., July 24, 2011
By 
asiriusbee "Dana~" (Colorado Springs, CO) - See all my reviews
I don't know what the other reviewer was talking about, but I have this laptop (though I didn't buy it through Amazon.com). The Home, Pg Up, Pg Dn, and End keys are right below the shift key on the right hand side of the laptop, but you do have to use the FN key. The Backspace, Enter and Shift keys are a bit bigger, but it doesn't keep the laptop from functioning or anything like that.

My only 2 complaints would be the hinge that connects the screen to the rest of the laptop feels a bit flimsy. With this new series, it seems Sony is really trying to be thin & light, so maybe that's why. Sony also does a disservice to their customers by including a 5400rpm HDD!!! Are they for real!?!? In order to get a SSD, you'll have to pay another hundred or so and the price of this laptop is already way too high as is!!!

Those facts aside, I like the laptop enough to keep it for now. It's thin, light and has a built-in HD camera, VAIO, WEB and ASSIST buttons, one (1) 3.0 USB port, 4GB Fixed Onboard + 1 Open Slot (DDR3-SDRAM-1333), backlit keyboard, and a DVD drive along w/ a fingerprint reader (whew!) - so I'm pretty satisfied. Most likely I'll turn around and buy a SSD on ebay.

For more info see: [ ... ]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Overall, September 26, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's actually a great laptop. Yet the fan could really become as noisy as a jet engine sometimes, even when the computer is not set on speed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sony Vaio VPCSA, August 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony VAIO VPC-SA21GX/SI Laptop (Silver) (Personal Computers)
The good: just read in Sony's advertising about all the features, small case size, long battery life, low weight...

The bad: Sadly inadequate speaker system with not enough volume. Mouse control located right on the edge of the case where it will be continuously bumped, accidentally. Right-angle power plug that continuously hangs up on the edge of the desk/tabletop. Sharp, uncomfortable case corners.

The ugly: Sony's Customer Relations Department.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Laptop!, November 21, 2011
I bought this after after finding out the Toshiba protégé R835-p56x wasn't right for me. I really like the light weight, battery life, and performance on the protégé, but it lack a couple of key things; dedicated graphics card and back lit keyboard. The Vaio SA had everything that I was looking for that Toshiba Protégé lacked. I purchased this laptop from Microsoft store due to the student promo with the free Xbox. Price there was $999 vs $799 for the protégé, most well spent $200 in my recent memory. For $999, there was no other laptop that came close to it.

Pros
Dedicated Graphics Card
USB 3.0
Bluetooth
Light
Good Battery life (speed mode: 5hrs stamina: 6h30min) - Excellent with extended battery, which is INCLUDED!(speed mode: 10h stamina mode: 12hr25min)
Back lit keybord
FAST i5
Optical Drive

Con
Can get a little hot and loud while gamming
Lid is a little flimsy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SA laptop, September 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
this laptop is very slim and performs well. but the bettery is not large as it is advertised, but anyway, it's beautiful
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nice features and good looks but disappointing, September 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I really wanted to like this laptop, I like the straight angles and over all aesthetics of the laptop. It looks chic and hip. For a laptop with a dvd drive, it's light and slim. It's got the ports you need and the back lit keyboard is nice. People have complained about the screen and although it's not the best, it's not that bad either. Picture is slightly washed out but you can make slight adjustments to improve it. The single hinge display doesn't bother me, it wobbles a little more when you adjust the angle then other laptops with 2 hinges. Backlight keyboard feels nice to type on and the mouse pad feels good and responds well. Speakers are little thiny but the volume is better then other laptop I'm trying out, like the U36SD and Thinkpad X220. It's well built and feels solid, not a lot of flex in the unit.

Now for the bad, as the previous reviewer has said, when the engines go on in this baby, it's LOUD. If you plan on just web surfing and tasks that are not going to stress the cpu, the noise from the fan isn't bad. But if you're going to be playing games, editing video, or anything to stress the cpu, which most people plan to do if they purchase a laptop with these specs and price point, this thing sounds like it's going to take off. It's louder them my desktop. Switching it to stamina mode didn't help either. Seriously, I've read reviews that it was loud but didn't expect it to be this loud. I was rendering some video and it took about 40 mins, the whole entire time the fan was roaring. I rendered the same video on a Thinkpad X220 and the Asus 36SD both were significantly quieter then the SA. If you're replacing this with an older or larger size laptop, you might not notice any difference in the noise it produces. But for something this size and if you test other laptops in the same category the SA will definitely be on the bottom for noise. The fan is on the back and the display hinge does cover it somewhat, this could cause the fan to work a little harder to pump that hot air out. The noise the laptop produces isn't acceptable for the price.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocrity (or less) at it's finest...., August 4, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony VAIO VPC-SA21GX/SI Laptop (Silver) (Personal Computers)
I am not sure where to begin with this laptop. The build quality is suspect for something this expensive. The hinge is absolutely horrific, it is way too loose around 90 degrees and moves constantly. The amount of useless software from Sony is just silly. Compared to the ACER Timeline and Toshiba Portege, which are much less, this thing does not offer many upgrades. In fact a dedicated GPU is all I can think of.

Here is a list of issues with the VPCSA.

1) Random Battery error messages.
2) One of the worst hinges I have ever encountered in a laptop.
3) Keys are extremely loud. This seems silly but for students it may matter.
4) Mountains of worthless software to uninstall. The problem is Sony integrates hard keys with this nonsense so you can't remove it all.
5) Suspect build quality for the price.
6) 5400RPM hard drive in a $1200 laptop. If you don't have an SSD this things crawls.

On top of all that I keep getting warnings saying that I have the wrong battery installed and tells me to take it out and put it back in, which of course does nothing. Every time this comes up it goes into hibernate.

I am not sure what has happened to Sony, apart from the PS3 they sure seem to be slipping. I am hoping I can return this defective computer to Amazon and buy a MacBook or a Lenovo. It seems that Lenovo and Apple are the last two companies that can build a solid and reliable laptop.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.