Sony Vaio Z vs Macbook Air

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Epsilon88, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Epsilon88 macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2009
    Hi guys,

    So I've been looking for a thin, ~3 lb notebook with a 13 inch screen for use at university. I've narrowed it down to the Sony Vaio Z and the Macbook Air. I'm not going with the 13 inch Pro as it is too heavy at 4.5 lb. Anyway, here are the configurations that I'm currently considering:

    Sony Vaio - $1499 Canadian (clearance sale)
    - 3.04 lb, 1 inch thin
    - 500 gb SATA 7200rpm hard drive
    - Win7 Professional, including Adobe Bundle (eg: Photo Elements)
    - Memory: 4 GB (2GB/DDR3/1066MHz/SO-DIMM)x2)
    - Built in camera
    - fingerprint sensor
    - Bluetooth
    - Wi-Fi : 802.11abgn (Intel/HMC_1x2)
    - Processor: NVIDIA® / NB9M-GS
    - Video RAM : 256MB
    - Speed : 2.53GHz
    - Technology : C2D/Pe
    - Type : P8800
    - Display: 1600 x 900, 13.1" matte-style, LED
    - Has an optical drive. Read/write CD and DVD
    - Battery: 7 hours
    - Construction: solid, attractive build, chiclet style keyboard, excellent display
    - noise cancelling headphones included
    - Ports: Ethernet port, HDMI connection output, express card slot, 3 USB 2.0 ports, DC-IN, VGA Output


    Option Number 2: Macbook Air after student discount, $1499 (same price)

    - 3 lb
    - 120GB 4200-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive
    - Snow Leopard operating system
    - 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM onboard
    - Built in camera
    - 1.86GHz or 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB on-chip shared L2 cache running 1:1 with processor speed
    - 1066MHz frontside bus
    - Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking4 (based on IEEE 802.11n draft specification)
    - Built in Bluetooth
    - Display: 13.3", glossy-style, 1280 x 800
    - NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB
    - Mini DisplayPort
    - Battery: 5 hours
    - Connections: 1 USB, Mini display port, audio out


    Thanks for your help!
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Depends on what you want to do with it. Personally, I would probably go with the Sony, because the current MBA is out of date, but if you are just going to be writing papers and surfing the net, either will be fine.
  3. emiljan macrumors 6502


    Jan 25, 2010
    Seems like the Sony is the better deal. Personally i think the MBA is kind of flimsy and underpowered for the price.
  4. R94N macrumors 68020


    May 30, 2010
    Sony Vaios are very nice, and they are similar in that they are quite media/content-orientated. I can't make my mind up :D
  5. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Go with the sony. 120 GB hard drive is pointless these days and I believe you can't add more ram to a macbook air. Sony's resolution is way better, battery life is way better, and you get ethernet, 3 usb ports, and hdmi. With a macbook air, you can only plug in one device, so if you're on a wired network you cannot use a usb thumbdrive.
  6. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    I would not get another Sony laptop unless it was free to me... their customer service is very poor and my TR-3A is now a brick after 5 good years of use.

    I've replaced the RAM, HDD and Mobo but it still refuses to boot and Sony won't even consider looking at it... it was a $2199 machine when I bought it.

    Sony also doesn't tend to use standard parts so if you do get it make sure the HDD, etc... aren't odd sizes (my HDD in the TR3 used a 1.8" drive and non-standard interface)...
  7. Epsilon88 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2009
    Thanks for your advice, guys. I ended up buying the Sony at a discounted price of $1299. I really wanted to go Apple, but the disparity in features and power between the Air and the Sony Z model that I purchased is astounding. What is more, the Z had a less glossy, higher resolution screen. I wish Apple would update the Air, but it's going to take a big overhaul to get it up to speed. In some ways I even found the Z preferable to the 13" inch Macbook Pro. It's more powerful, 1.5 pounds lighter, has a higher resolution non-glossy screen, etc. It remains to be seen just how good Windows 7 is.

    Anyway, the moral of the story is that Apple needs to get its act in gear and improve its existing line-up. Cut weight, improve performance and add features. I feel sad about moving to a non-Apple, but hey, at least I still have my iPhone!
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Glad to hear.

    Apple is never going to get their MBA "up to speed" because it would step on the 13" MBP's toes. Yes, they could just make the MBA a lot more expensive, but Apple would rather sell a modestly priced (in Apple terms) "ultraportable"*cough* than one that costs $2500+.

    I think the MBA is quite a good computer, but not when it's sitting beside a Vaio Z. :p The connectivity and other features is just flat-out poor. The only reason I think it's a good computer is because it's not slow for what it was meant to do. It serves the needs of most MBA users, and isn't over-the-top expensive. It's expensive for what it is, but not truly expensive enough to price everyone out.
  9. tuna macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2010
    Wow at $1300 CAD that Vaio seems like an incredible deal. Compared to even the 13" MBP it has discrete graphics and a much bigger hard drive. I'll believe that 7 hour battery life when I see it, but yeah, in your position I would have definitely chosen that Vaio too over even the 13" MBP. I don't know if you have muscular dystrophy or something that would make the 13" MBP too heavy...

    But yeah, Sony puts a high amount of design into their laptops relative to other popular manufacturers who don't even do the design anymore, they outsource it to ODMs in the far east who have no idea what the consumers want. I think Apple design is slightly better on average... but in this case I agree that Vaio is the clear winner.

    It really points to A) the drastic need for a MBA update and B) the need for Apple to increase the screen resolution and quality on the 13" MBP. It's really a bottleneck for that computer. 1280x800 is not an acceptable resolution for that expensive of a computer anymore. For its price, the 15" should have the 1680x1050 screen by default, too.
  10. R94N macrumors 68020


    May 30, 2010
    Really? Very silly if you can't. Maybe it's to do with the space-saving/trimming they had to do.
  11. peapody macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Yep it is non expandable.

    That sony vaio looks more than 1" to me!

    Having just gotten a macbook air myself for mainly travel purposes - it was a great buy. But if you are going to be using it as a main machine, I would get the sony.

    The 13" macbook pro is not heavy at all, and I think it should have been in the contending. It is a solid performer, and while it is "heavier" than the mba and the sony, it is not a clunker. It is slim and sleek and you won't notice it weighing your backpack down. I would have really looked into it.
  12. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    Sony all the way.

    You'd really regret not getting the Sony at that price. With regards to Uni use, these I think will make a difference:

    Bigger hard disc
    More Memory
    Better Graphics
    Faster Processor
    Higher Resolution Screen
    Optical Drive
    Decent headphones (something less to buy)
    HDMI connection output
    It's also got a VGA, which may be useful for hooking up for a projector.

    You'll also be able to run Windows Office, which will ensure maxiumum compatibility without needing to buy a Virtual Machine and a Windows License. And One Note. And Microsoft do some great deals for students.

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