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Sony VAIO S5VP - Sony VAIO S5VP
The 13.3in widescreen display is superb, although it doesn’t sport the same 1,366 x 768 resolution of the TX1XP, instead displaying a more conventional 1,280 x 800 pixels. The screen is equipped with Sony’s high-contrast X-Black coating. The result is bright and vivid colours, and an image that reaches out and grabs you when you’re watching movies. As always, I’ll mention that the X-Black coating does mean that the screen is more reflective than a standard TFT, but the general opinion around the TrustedReviews office is that the benefits far outweigh this issue. Interestingly, at a recent Sony event, the head of IT for the England cricket team insisted that the X-Black screens meant that they could use the notebooks in bright sunlight - something that they could not do with normal screens. Now there is probably some truth in this, since standard TFT screens can often “wash out” in bright sunlight, making it impossible to read anything.
The keyboard is up to Sony’s usual high standards, and should be large enough for most users to cope with. Personally I find the keyboards on the T Series VAIOs fine, but then I do have fairly small hands. The keys on the S5VP are a decent size, while the Tab, Caps Lock, Shift, Return and Backspace keys are all large, for easy striking when typing at speed. One thing that I have always liked about Sony keyboards is that the Ctrl key is located at the bottom left, just where it should be. Many notebook manufacturers place the Fn key at the bottom left instead, which can be annoying if you use a lot of keyboard shortcuts and expect the Ctrl key to be where it is on a desktop keyboard. The cursor keys are dropped away from the main keyboard too, which makes cursor manipulation easy.
Below the Spacebar is a small silver touchpad with a widescreen aspect ratio to match the display. The far right side of the touchpad can be used for scrolling up and down through documents, while the bottom can be used to scroll sideways. However, Sony still insists on giving no indication of this functionality on the touchpad itself. Below the touchpad are two large buttons finished in what looks like brushed aluminium. The touchpad and buttons worked flawlessly during my time with the S5VP and pointer manipulation was quick, simple and accurate.