It seems like Sony has a never ending stream of slim line notebook computers in its stable. Just when one has bolted free from the confines of the paddock, another one slips its rope and makes its way into the market place. It was only a matter of weeks ago that I reviewed the VAIO X505VP, but already a new thin, light and desirable notebook from Sony is in my possession.
Anyone who regularly reads notebook reviews here on TrustedReviews will know that I’m a big fan of thin and light notebook computers. I’m all for ease of portability so that I can work in whatever environment I find myself. Take right now for instance - I’m currently sitting on Eurostar heading for Paris, and even with the small excuse for a table in front of me, I’ve still got plenty of space to place this latest Sony VAIO down and get some work done. This would not be an option if I was working with a hefty desktop replacement - I’d either have no room to set the notebook up, or I’d severely upset the passenger sitting opposite me by taking his side of the table as well as my own. Now, if only Eurostar would install WiFi Internet access on its trains, this picture would be complete.
There was a time when a thin and light notebook meant no power, no features and no battery life, but those days are long gone. OK, so the VAIO X505VP had little in the way of integrated features, but let’s face it, that machine is an object lesson in just how portable a usable computer can be. For the most part, your average thin and light notebook computer can handle any application you’re likely to throw at it, and still manage a good few hours of battery life.
The VAIO VGN-S1VP doesn’t really fall into the ultra-portable category like the VAIO X505VP and the IBM X40, but it is quite light and unobtrusive all the same with dimensions of 310 x 230 x 30mm (WxDxH) and a weight of 1.89kg. The S1VP is really competing with products like the Fujitsu-Siemens S7010, which is also slim but features an integrated optical drive.
Finished in a very fetching black and silver, the S1VP is the kind of machine that all self confessed IT style junkies would love. It doesn’t draw the same amount of attention that the X505VP does, but then if it did, I wouldn’t be able to write this review - I’d be too busy answering questions about it, and letting people feel how light it is - the kind of situation I found myself in every time I pulled the X505VP out of my bag. With the lid closed this notebook is cool, but in a very understated way. The black lid is offset beautifully by the mirrored VAIO lettering and the smallest of Sony logos. Opening the lid reveals a black keyboard at the centre of a silver chassis, opinion in the office is split about the chrome plated touch pad buttons, but I quite like them.
But even Sony knows that a product needs more than good looks and stylish design to be a success, and the three core components of any notebook are, as ever, paramount. With any notebook computer the screen, keyboard and pointing device have to be up to scratch, otherwise you’ll never really enjoy using it, no matter how good it looks.