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TSE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
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St. Paul, Minnesota
What are your guys' opinions on VAIO notebooks?

I loved Sony VAIO back in the day - they were honestly on par with Apple in terms of quality and innovation. In fact - in some instances they were ahead of Apple in some aspects - for example the X505 can be considered the first "Ultrabook".

It makes me happy to know the brand still lives on - and it appears to me they are doing fairly well as the lineup has expanded over the past couple years.

I also think it's cool that they are all manufactured in Nagano, Japan.

They have definitely delivered a unique niche - they have all the ports that business users want, they have a pretty unique design, and after all is said and done, they are doing well. I'm surprised they aren't talked about more, and I just wish they would make a notebook with a discrete graphics card. I'd like to see a MacBook Pro competitor.
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,232
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I had several back in the day. They were nice enough machines but always had something weird to brag about-- a little scroll-wheel on the side of the laptop to navigate a special Sony menu that never worked right, a rear ventilation platform that would swivel down when the display was opened, for extra ventilation, etc. Always something non-standard and useless, so they could pretend they were innovating. It usually meant software oddities too.

I switched from Vaios to Thinkpads back when they were IBM. Now those were solid machines. But nothing holds up as well as my MacBook Pros.
 
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LindsayD

macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2019
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England
Sony VAIO 040419-1020.jpg


I sold my pearl white 2014 VAIO two weeks ago - gorgeous machine but too heavy for me now (17 inches). Lovely screen, too. It was tactile with very nice edges.
 

0989382

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Jan 11, 2018
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Sony knew a thing or two about design. One of the companies Steve Jobs looked up to, back then, of course.
 
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cube

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May 10, 2004
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I looked at a small VAIO once, but it was not quad core. And it did not inspire confidence.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
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Resurrecting an old thread here because I have the same question.

Anyone try a VAIO recently?

The SX12 in particular seems to check a number of boxes for me. The main reason I'm interested is because of headaches I'm getting from using the M1 MBA.

They don't seem to be as spec-driven so while they might not have the widest color gamut, I'm thinking it might be easier on my eyes.
 

mi7chy

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2014
9,627
10,352
The main reason I'm interested is because of headaches I'm getting from using the M1 MBA.

What headaches? Have you tried rolling back to Big Sur 11.6.2 before throwing more money at the problem?
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,448
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What headaches? Have you tried rolling back to Big Sur 11.6.2 before throwing more money at the problem?
There's a couple of threads about this:
The issue has been around even in Big Sur (I had returned one back then and kept using my old machine). Was hoping Monterey would have it fixed, but doesn't look like it.

Unlikely it's PWM. It's either temporal dithering or something else (like dynamic display brightness and/or color). I never had problems with pre true tone displays.
 
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TSE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
3,492
1,792
St. Paul, Minnesota
Resurrecting an old thread here because I have the same question.

Anyone try a VAIO recently?

The SX12 in particular seems to check a number of boxes for me. The main reason I'm interested is because of headaches I'm getting from using the M1 MBA.

They don't seem to be as spec-driven so while they might not have the widest color gamut, I'm thinking it might be easier on my eyes.

I've heard nothing but great things about the most recent VAIOs. They don't give you the most bang-for-buck in terms of specs (they might be dead last on that front, actually), but they are niche devices and if you use their niche features (such as the ridiculous amount of ports or the fact that it is a 12" screen which is incredibly rare nowadays), then it's a product for you.

Another thing that Mobiletechreview (the best tech reviewer out there) also reveals with her reviews of VAIO is that the marketing for how good the cooling is and how it allows the CPU and GPU to turbo more frequently and for longer isn't just marketing but actually confirmed to be true - it places it's products above other laptops with the same exact specs. But again, you are going to be paying for it.
 
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smithdr

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2021
114
65
The issue with VAIO notebooks is that you cannot get parts on relatively new computers. Here is what happened on my last two VAIOs:
  • Two year old laptop and could not obtain a new OEM battery. Had to resort to an after market battery that was basically junk.
  • One year old laptop that required a new keyboard. None were available.
It was frustrations such as these that led me to Apple. Always can get parts for Apple laptops. At least until they declare them vintage.

Don
 
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ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
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The issue with VAIO notebooks is that you cannot get parts on relatively new computers. Here is what happened on my last two VAIOs:
  • Two year old laptop and could not obtain a new OEM battery. Had to resort to an after market battery that was basically junk.
  • One year old laptop that required a new keyboard. None were available.
It was frustrations such as these that led me to Apple. Always can get parts for Apple laptops. At least until they declare them vintage.

Don
What year were the ones you bought? Also, how do they do as far as bloatware goes?
 

smithdr

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2021
114
65
What year were the ones you bought? Also, how do they do as far as bloatware goes?
One was a 2010 and the second 2011. When I could not get a battery for the 2011 in 2013 that was when I bought my first Mac. A late 2013 15" MBP. Still going strong to this day. Gave it to my stepson in 2016 who had the battery/topcase/keyboard replaced by Apple in January of this year for $200. Bet yah you could not find an OEM battery for any VIAO! What expensive junk is a VAIO!

And for all the complaints about 2016 - 2019 MBPs with their butterfly keyboards. I never had an issue. Just getting ready to send my 2016 15" MBP back to Apple for a $720 trade-in. A VAIO would be worthless. Only issue I had with my 2016 MBP was that it tended to go through batteries quickly--every two years. But at least I could get one!

As to your second question. Unbelievable amounts of bloatware and crapware on those VAIOs

Don
 
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ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
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One was a 2010 and the second 2011. When I could not get a battery for the 2011 in 2013 that was when I bought my first Mac. A late 2013 15" MBP. Still going strong to this day. Gave it to my stepson in 2016 who had the battery/topcase/keyboard replaced by Apple in January of this year for $200. Bet yah you could not find an OEM battery for any VIAO! What expensive junk is a VAIO!

And for all the complaints about 2016 - 2019 MBPs with their butterfly keyboards. I never had an issue. Just getting ready to send my 2016 15" MBP back to Apple for a $720 trade-in. A VAIO would be worthless. Only issue I had with my 2016 MBP was that it tended to go through batteries quickly--every two years. But at least I could get one!

As to your second question. Unbelievable amounts of bloatware and crapware on those VAIOs

Don
Yours were from the Sony era. Vaio became an independent company in 2014, so I think things could be very different now in terms of quality, servicing, and bloatware.
 

smithdr

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2021
114
65
The were indeed both Sony's. Things may be different. But what happened left me untrusting of the brand. I wonder how well brands such as Lenovo and Dell fare over time.

Don
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,448
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The were indeed both Sony's. Things may be different. But what happened left me untrusting of the brand. I wonder how well brands such as Lenovo and Dell fare over time.

Don
I think all of the brands have had their ups and downs over time both in terms of quality and service especially as the new entrants (Acer, ASUS, Samsung, LG, etc.) were making their way in as mainstream players on the global scene. I think most are well above their low point, but maybe not as great as they once were, but we were paying $3k for Pentium 700 MHz laptops at that time (equal to about $6k today) when they were at their peak.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,448
3,922
Thought I'd post my experience with a VAIO SX12 which I ordered and just returned.

I really liked the form factor and weight (2 lb). The build quality was perfect and the design was also very good. The matte screen was plenty for me.

The reasons I decided to send it back are as follows.

Major issues (in order of importance):

- The fan. They actually have a silent mode but even in that mode the fan keeps turning on evening when doing simple things like browsing or even with the machine idle. The fans are not high pitched like some machines, but they are very audible and can get load. This was probably the biggest negative.

- The touch pad is an old style with physical buttons. This means if you want to do a long press, it becomes a two-handed operation (at least for me). Also scrolling wasn't as smooth as I would have liked.

Minor issues in order of importance (I could have lived with these if not for the above 2):

- The 12.5" display was a bit small.

- When the backlight was on, the characters on the white keyboard were hard to read. This could easily be addressed by getting a color with a black keyboard (the only one with the white keyboard was the white laptop).

- Windows.

- The audio was a bit weak.

Their return policy unfortunately involved me paying for the return shipping/insurance and also have to pay a restocking fee ($99).

--

I'm not sure what to do next. The other lightweight option I was considering was the Thinkpad X1 Nano, but to get that with 512GB, there is currently a shipping date 4 months from now.

I think I will just get an MBA and reduce screen time to avoid headaches. I have tried the 14" MBP in store, but I just can't get over the weight. I hope the new MBA is lighter (I'm starting to have doubts) and also does something to address headaches.
 

TSE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
3,492
1,792
St. Paul, Minnesota
Thought I'd post my experience with a VAIO SX12 which I ordered and just returned.

I really liked the form factor and weight (2 lb). The build quality was perfect and the design was also very good. The matte screen was plenty for me.

The reasons I decided to send it back are as follows.

Major issues (in order of importance):

- The fan. They actually have a silent mode but even in that mode the fan keeps turning on evening when doing simple things like browsing or even with the machine idle. The fans are not high pitched like some machines, but they are very audible and can get load. This was probably the biggest negative.

- The touch pad is an old style with physical buttons. This means if you want to do a long press, it becomes a two-handed operation (at least for me). Also scrolling wasn't as smooth as I would have liked.

Minor issues in order of importance (I could have lived with these if not for the above 2):

- The 12.5" display was a bit small.

- When the backlight was on, the characters on the white keyboard were hard to read. This could easily be addressed by getting a color with a black keyboard (the only one with the white keyboard was the white laptop).

- Windows.

- The audio was a bit weak.

Their return policy unfortunately involved me paying for the return shipping/insurance and also have to pay a restocking fee ($99).

--

I'm not sure what to do next. The other lightweight option I was considering was the Thinkpad X1 Nano, but to get that with 512GB, there is currently a shipping date 4 months from now.

I think I will just get an MBA and reduce screen time to avoid headaches. I have tried the 14" MBP in store, but I just can't get over the weight. I hope the new MBA is lighter (I'm starting to have doubts) and also does something to address headaches.

I'm really sorry to hear your experience with it, but really do appreciate you coming back and sharing this information that may help others in the future. Really kind of you.

I hope you find what you are looking for, definitely!
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,448
3,922
I also think it's cool that they are all manufactured in Nagano, Japan.
Most of the Japanese brands -- Fujitsu, Panasonic, Vaio, and others -- are made in Japan. But I think Vaio is the only brand that has a presence, albeit very small, in the US.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,448
3,922
I wanted to add a few points about how the VAIO SX12 was packaged.

It came in outer shipping box. The inner cardboard box was sealed and contained a black box and power supply wrapped in plastic. The black box, which wasn't shrink-wrapped, contained the unit. So, unlike Apple, the power brick was actually packed separately from the laptop.

The unit itself was wrapped in a cloth dust bag with no plastic. Between the screen and keyboard was a cleaning cloth the size of the screen.
 
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