Home' LAPTOP Magazine : November 2011 Contents mainstreamnotebooks
With the 15-inch VAIo s, sony just opened up a
second front in its laptop war against Apple. Just
as the 13-inch VAIo s challenged the similarly sized
Macbook Pro, this larger mainstream system goes
head to head against the 15-inch Macbook Pro.
Much like the 13-inch VAIo s, the 15-inch ver-
sion has a simple, understated look. both the lid
and deck are a matte black aluminum that’s great
at resisting fingerprints. those looking for a little
more bling can opt for a platinum silver finish.
For a 15-inch laptop, the VAIo s is a remarkably
light 4.4 pounds. that’s more than a pound lighter
than the Macbook Pro (5.6 pounds) as well as the
Acer Aspire timelineX 5830t (5.4 pounds).
After we streamed a Hulu
video for 15 minutes at full
screen, the 15-inch VAIo s’
touchpad was a cool 76 de-
grees Fahrenheit. the middle
of the underside got up to 94
degrees, which is just on the
edge of what we consider
when the notebook’s fan kicked
on, it got quite loud.
thanks to its wide deck, the
15-inch VAIo s fits a full-size keyboard and number
pad alongside it. We also like that the keyboard
is backlit, a standard feature for this model. the
island-style keys were plenty large and comfortable
to type on, but travel was a bit shallow.
the sony VAIo s’ display measures 15.5 inches
and features a 1920 x 1080 resolution by default,
a feature we greatly appreciate. We could easily
view two web pages side by side, and blu-rays
looked splendid in their full HD glory. When we
played Iron Man, tony stark’s suit sparkled and
blacks were nice and deep.
sony’s pedigree, the audio
on the VAIo s was sorely
disappointing. the two puny
speakers above the keyboard
produced flat, tinny audio.
bruce springsteen’s “thunder
Road” sounded like it was
playing on an AM station.
With a 2.4 -GHz Intel Core
i5-2430M processor, 6Gb
of RAM, and a 640Gb, 5,400-rpm hard drive,
the VAIo s scored 6,545 on PCMark Vantage, a
benchmark that measures overall performance.
that’s about 700 points above the mainstream
the 15-inch Mac-
book Pro’s 2.2-GHz
Intel Core i7-2720QM
processor and 4Gb
of RAM scored 7,648
when runnning the test
in boot Camp mode.
the VAIo s’ hard
drive booted Windows
7 Home Premium in
70 seconds, 4 seconds
longer than average. Its
5,400-rpm hard drive
took 3 minutes and 32
seconds to duplicate
a 5Gb folder of mul-
timedia files, a rate
of 24 Mbps. that’s
much slower than
the Macbook Pro
ing for a little
MacBook Pro Killer?
the sony VaiO s is the lightest 15-inch laptop yet, offers plenty
of power, and costs hundreds less than apple’s machine.
after-hours gaming will find the 15-inch VAIo s
more than capable. InWorld of Warcraft, the system
averaged 55 frames per second with the display
at its native resolution and effects on autodetect.
When we maxed out effects, we saw 30 fps, just
above the category average (28 fps).
the 15-inch VAIo s’ battery lasted 4 hours and
29 minutes on the LAPtoP battery test, which isn’t
bad for a mainstream notebook—the average is
4:36. With the slice battery, a $150 option, the
VAIo s’ endurance increased to 9:06, but its weight
jumps to 5.8 pounds. the 15-inch Macbook Pro’s
built-in battery lasted 8:23.
those looking for an affordable 15-inch Macbook
Pro alternative will find a lot to like in the sony VAIo
s. It offers a bright 1080p display, blu-ray playback,
and good overall performance in a package that’s
a full pound lighter than Apple’s notebook. If you
want to travel light and get the full HD experience,
the 15-inch VAIo s is a very good choice.
— b y Michael A. Prospero
CPU: 2.4 -GHz Intel Core i5-2430M Operating
system: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
ram/expandable to: 6Gb/8Gb Hard Drive
size/speed: 640Gb/5,400 rpm Optical
Drive: bD-R Display size/resolution:
15.5 inches/1920 x 1080 Graphics/Video
memory: AMD Radeon HD 6630M/1Gb Wire-
less: 802.11b/g/n, bluetooth 3.0 + eDR Ports:
one Usb 3.0, two Usb 2.0, HDMI, ethernet,
headphone, mic, kensington Lock slot Card
slots: Memory stick Pro, sD/sDHC card
reader size: 15 x 10.1 x 0.9 inches Weight:
4.4 pounds Warranty/support: one-year
limited/24/7 toll-free phone
Lightest 15-inch notebook yet
1080p display standard on all models
solid overall performance
Mediocre battery life without slice
Fan gets loud
Hard drive a bit sluggish
PCMark Vantage 6,545
LAPtoP battery test
LAPtoP transfer test
boot time (min:sec)*
(autodetect/max) 55/30 fps 70/28 fps
Far Cry 2
(autodetect/max) 88/25 fps 42/20 fps
* Lower is better
the optional battery slice adds nearly 5 hours of juice, but 1.1 pounds of heft.
Laptop | November 2011
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