Sony Vaio Z vs. Macbook Air 2012 for College

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Vyruss, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. Vyruss macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    I am going to be going into college next year, and as such am looking to pick up a laptop for it. I have a budget of around $2000.

    Currently I have an Ultimate 13 inch MacBook Air arriving tomorrow. I am debating on simply returning it and purchasing a Sony Vaio Z.

    The pros of the Air would be the 512 GB SSD and the superior battery life it offers, while the Vaio has a quad core cpu, external discrete gpu and full 1080p screen.

    Is the Air a durable computer?

    If anyone has any experience with the Z please chime in here because it sounds like a nice computer however I question the readability of the 1080p screen.

    Thoughts on what I should get (without bias please :))
  2. Raejin macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2012
    I didn't have any experience with the Z but I would like to give some input as a college student.
    Last week I just bought the 13' Macbook Air and it has been awesome. I've also had similar concerned regarding the resolution. However, it turns out that 1440x900 is good enough for a 13 inch laptop. I sometimes feel the font on the facebook page is a bit small so I have to adjust the font size. (Trust me, I am not an old man. I am a legit college student.) True, it sounds awesome to have full HD resolution on a laptop, but I suggest you to take a look at the demo machine before you decide to buy one.

    The other thing I would like to mention is about OS. Maybe you are familiar with OSX. But I am a noob, and I really like OSX it runs great. The best thing I've discovered was the trackpad. Nothing similar I've experienced beats it.

    Consider operating system as the factor to decide which one to go.
    Enjoy your machine.
  3. Vyruss thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    Thanks for the input! I do like OSX myself, and the Mac lineup has the bed trackpads period, this is very true. That's one thing that's putting me off from the Sony, a very small touchpad combined with glitchy multitouch gestures. I'm swaying towards the Mac thus far.
  4. MTD's Mac macrumors regular

    MTD's Mac

    Mar 18, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I went through a similar comparison not long ago and the MacBook Air won, hands down. Besides preferring the design, the real factor was Max OS X. You'll be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion later this week for free, which looks to be an even better operating system. In any case, no crashing, no viruses, and easier to use.

    As for durability, my 2011 MacBook Air just turned 1 year old and is in excellent shape. Super fast, plenty of SSD space left, the aluminum body looks like it's new even though I never use a sleeve or case.

  5. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    With the Air you get better support, a more durable case, somewhat cheaper, and OS X.

    With the Sony you get a faster computer, a much better screen, a more unique design, and potentially longer battery life. You can also add a Sony GPU Dock later on if you want to.
  6. boto macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2012
    I own a Sony Vaio Z and it is a great machine, however, I really dislike TWO things about this computer. One, the vents and the heat it emits is RIDICULOUSLY LOUD AND IRKING. Even in moderate usage (web surfing, email, and music), the fans crank up to a somewhat audible level. Two, the speakers are extremely terrible compared to the MBA, it is probably half the max volume of the MBA and the sound clarity is incrementally better. These speakers won't even be heard in a coffee shop. The only advantages of owning this computer would be the display and quad core performance. I absolutely love the 1080p quality on a 13". It is readable as long as you scale things to medium settings using the software included and the color contrast and accuracy is probably one of the best in the market. I like it even more than my rMBP in fact, but it's probably because of the matte screen. Otherwise, I would prefer the MBA just because the OS is my personal preference. So keep the machine you ordered, you won't regret it one bit.
  7. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    I have them both. The Z is fast quiet cool & very durable. I tend to push mine hard, and of the various VAIO's I've had, this latest Z is absolutely fault free.

    That said, I am very happy with my fully maxed out 13" 2011 MBA. I will admit I biased towards Macs, as I've been using them for years with stellar results. The trackpad has no rivals, it's simply the best in the business. The more you use it, the more you realize how great it is, and all it will do.

    The major reason I have both is I work in a cross platform engineering lab, I'm a laptop addict, and like choices in size & performance. Therefore I always have the various sizes of MBP's, MBA's, ThinkPad T & W series, & VAIO'S.

    My suggestion for your use is the MBA, you won't be disappointed.
  8. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    Sony customer support is terrible, I won't ever buy another one of their machines (especially a higher end machine) and be left hanging in the wind...(talking about lack of support for my TX150 11" ultraportable that was a ~$2,100 machine about 6 years ago.

    And from what I understand from all my friends that still buy Sony products, the support hasn't gotten any better:(
  9. Daginator macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2012
    Don´t forget the "Chick dig it factor", chicks dig Mac notebooks. Because they have seen it in Sex and the City they think it´s cool!
  10. RightMACatU macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
    OMG... just had a flash of "The Shermanitor" :p


    I've been looking for an ultrabook for quite sometime now.
    Feature wise, the MBA still can't be touched. All Windows alternatives have 'Fail' points. They either fail on keyboard, mouse pad, lack of 256GB SSD, lack of 8GB RAM option, etc.

    I was a bit concern about MAC OS X but I solved that issue by getting VMWare Fusion & Bootcamp.

    Conclusion: MBA hands-down over any Windows-based ultrabooks.
  11. Vyruss thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    Wow thanks for all the awesome comments and input guys! I really appreciate it! I'm leaning towards just sticking with the MacBook air as I like having more space!
  12. kyjaotkb macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    London, UK
    How time flies...
  13. Vyruss thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    I still have the 14 day return period if I don't like it but I get 512 gb of space versus the 256 gb the vaio offers for the same price. Other issue is the bloat ware that comes with the vaio is annoying to remove unless I purchase the fresh start option. I hear the recovery partition takes up 20 gb or so on the vaio this true?
  14. quactaur macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2007
    It's not 20GB and you can delete it if you want.

    To be honest I was in a similar position to you but went for an Air. The things that decided it were:

    • Price. The Air costs less than similarly specced ultrabooks. I've seen cheaper HP 'ultrabooks' but these come sans SSDs
    • Touchpad. It is hard to overstate how badly Apple's trackpads spoil you. I have used several HP laptops since my original macbook, and end up disabling all touchpad features and using them as standard trackpads due to their unacceptable touch performance
    • OS. Airs can dualboot. Windows ultrabooks can't without considerable difficulty, and often require replacing wireless cards or losing certain functionality
    • Battery. If you're planning on using windows a great deal, the extra battery life a windows ultrabook provides may be a dealbreaker. If you're happy with OSX, the air has comparable battery life.

    Given that I like OSX and am used to a decent trackpad, I've yet to find an ultrabook that can lure me away, despite trying.
  15. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    Don't know much about the VAIO Z, but the Asus Zenbook Prime looks to be quite a good looking ultrabook. I almost bought it over the MBA.
  16. RightMACatU macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
    I looked at the Asus (2011 & the latest 2012) and they both have a major Fail on their touchpad. Also, I think your limited to 4GB RAM.
  17. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    I almost did too. They have a slightly slower processor, and I heard the trackpad isn't quite as nice. The corners are supposedly a tad too sharp to rest your hands on. Finally, the 1920*1080 resolution sounds appealing but isn't handled by all apps very well and requires adjustments to scaling pretty frequently.

    That's not to say that the zenbook still isn't very nice, but I figured for the few bucks in price difference I'd try the macbook air out. I hate to admit it, but the zenbook doesn't look as nice either and that played into my decision.

    For this comparison you really can't overlook the processor. It's loads faster (being a quadcore and all). If you do very cpu intensive things you'll enjoy the faster vaio.
  18. DVD9 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    The screen credits for the MacBook at IMDB run more than 200 pages.

    Seriously though, the touchpad on non-Apple laptops are defective. Otherwise the Z is superior in every way to the Air.

    But, if you're spending two grand, that's a Retina. I would never spend more than $1,200 for an Air until Apple dramatically improves the screen quality.
  19. Vyruss thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    Nothing against the retina, I think its an incredible computer however I don't usually like investing in first generation products until all the kinks are worked out.
  20. chanyitian macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2012
    Yes! The trackpad on my Macbook Air is awesome. I originally thought that it would not be as user friendly as a trackpad with specific left and right buttons. I even considered getting a Magic Mouse. However, just after a day of getting used to, it turned out to be the best trackpad/ mouse I have ever used.


    I am using a 2012 Macbook Air, high end 13 inch model with 8GB ram. I must say that the Macbook Air is great. I like the keyboard, they are so easy to type on compared to my Dell XPS 15z. THe trackpad is the best in the market. Moreover, OSX is the best operating system I have ever used. I have seen the Sony ultra books. I am not sure if they are thinner than the MBA. Although they look good, I don't think that it gives the solid feeling that the MBA gives me. The sony laptop feels less durable compared to the MBA. I am totally happy with my MBA and I think you will enjoy using it too:) good luck!!!
  21. Vyruss thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    The Sony weighs 2.58 lbs compared to the MBA's 2.98 lbs and it is .66" at its thickest point compared to the MBA being .68" at its thickest point. I love the MBA but I think I'm going to have to go with the Sony as I get more bang for my buck :/ I'm gonna miss the MBA's trackpad but will welcome the 92% aRGB gamut rating over the air's 42%. I love OSX and thankfully I still have my iMac at home :)
  22. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    Retina blows both of the others out of the water. And while people keep calling it a "Rev A" product, it's really just another variation on the MBP. If the uMBP was a "Rev A" product, then it's a Rev A product that had little to no issues. The only real reported issue is a slight software UI lag. The gambit of manufacturers' defects that you see are the same as whenever Apple starts making a new version of something, whether it be "Rev A" or not.

    (cue glassgate, antennagate, yellowgate and countless others)

    Otherwise, I'd probably go with the MBA because I never seem to have luck with trackpads and hardware on non-Apple computers. The VAIO Z has better specs, but remember that you are paying for them as well.
  23. Vyruss thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    The retina MacBook pro is gorgeous and I actually had one on order originally, but I didn't want to be unlucky and get a screen with ghosting nor did I want a 15 inch laptop in the end. At 168 ppi the Sony comes decently close to the rMPBs 220 ppi. Beyond that the Sony still has the 92% aRGB screen compared to the 67% aRGB (according to anandtech) of the rMBP. The Sony also utilizes IPS technology so it is comparable to the rMPB hence why I even began to consider it. It also has a quad core like the rMBP.
  24. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    The RMBP still has 1GB of discrete graphics unlike the Sony, and has a smaller form factor. For the same price, I feel the RMBP is the better buy, especially considering that it's Apple vs Sony (purely for customer service and hardware component quality).
  25. Vyruss thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    The Sony also has 1GB of Discrete graphics through its external gpu, the Power Media Dock, just plug it in to the laptop and then it is running on discrete graphics. The Sony still has the smaller form's still smaller and lighter than the rMPB and packs much of the same power.

    Apple definitely has great, if not the greatest customer service no denying that. Hardware wise apple does make great stuff, but these LG screens in the MBA seem to be a little lackluster, and Sony seems to have put a high quality screen in the Vaio Z.

    I think for a 13 inch laptop the Sony is top notch, and for a 15 inch laptop the rMPB is top notch :)

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