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Sony VAIO P Series (VPC-P11S1E) - Performance, Battery Life & Verdict

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell


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If the P Series is a little rough around the edges where usability is concerned, what really sets it back is its performance. Notionally it's no worse than your average netbook, but then your average netbook costs at most £300 and often as little as £200. When you're spending as much as £800, netbook-like performance is harder to forgive.

From cold the device takes a leisurely minute and a half to be ready to use, a time that could be easily reduced were there not some somewhat pointless applications - such as the VAIO Gate toolbar - to load first. If all you want is the Internet then you do have option to load the instant-on web browser, which takes a more agreeable 20 seconds, but it's only really sufficient for quick tasks that one could easily perform on a smartphone instead - probably quicker, too.

More damning are basic things like adjusting the brightness of the screen. For reasons that aren't entirely obvious, manual adjustments of the brightness are incredibly laggy. This is particularly annoying if you want to adjust the brightness when watching a video, as it results in noticeable slow down. It's just as well there's an ambient light sensor to handle screen brightness the majority of the time.

Video playback on the device is also somewhat patchy. Both 720p and 1080p h.264 video can be played thanks to the video decoding abilities of the integrated Intel GMA 500 graphics, but it's not perfectly smooth due to a few dropped frames, a modicum of jitter (9ms on average) and some minor sync offset. It's still watchable, but only barely. Flash video, meanwhile, is no less picky. Standard definition is okay, but HD YouTube clips are a no-go and the BBC iPlayer's high quality videos aren't smooth in windowed or full screen mode.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect, however, is the battery life. Because of the size of the P Series it has a measly 2,500mAh (19 Watt-hour) battery, which in our tests managed 193 minutes (3hrs, 13mins) of video playback and 222 minutes (3hrs, 42mins) of web browsing on Wi-Fi. Both these tests were performed indoors at 50 per cent brightness, too, so increasing brightness or using the notoriously power-hungry 3G HSDPA modem will only decrease these distinctly below-average figures further.


Despite Sony's design tweaks, the VAIO P Series is still an awkward prospect that's way too expensive to be a realistic purchase. Someone, somewhere might be able to make an argument for it, but for the most part it's an expensive indulgence - more so even than Apple's iPad.

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May 19, 2010, 5:34 pm

For that money I'd get a Macbook Pro and install windows on it.


May 19, 2010, 5:42 pm


Sorry, don't have a comment on the article yet; just looked at the scores.

Digital Fury

May 19, 2010, 6:34 pm

WTF? Sony is now issuing Shrek themed laptops. Those P Series were already a hard sell, but who now will buy these things?


May 19, 2010, 7:14 pm

@Digital Fury: wemen.


May 19, 2010, 7:58 pm

@Digital Fury - And colour-blind people (speaking as someone who's colour-blind). And people who like their over-priced netbooks, a vomit shade of green (a small market I must admit).


May 19, 2010, 10:06 pm

Like it. Want one.

But the price is way too high .....


May 19, 2010, 10:50 pm

Am pretty sure the market for net books were for those on a budget and just wanting to access the internet. So what an earth is going on here. To be honest this is one area Sony should have left to Asus. At hat price I could buy a hard core Laptop with more capabilities, however I do acknowledge that the Sony Net book is different to a laptop - but you understand.

Ian Wright

May 19, 2010, 11:58 pm

Aside from it being hideous and slow... I have had it confirmed today from someone in Sony support and the head of customer services that all P series Vaio have a flaw in the screen which allows dust to find its way behind the screen. I was shocked they actually admitted it to be honest. Yet another reason to steer clear of this.


May 20, 2010, 12:36 am

Article is a little harsh to be honest! The P series is the only truly portable netbook (i mean really portable) without having to resort to a tablet or UMPC. Yes its expensive but it is also unique. What are the alternatives and if they are any if you spec them up to this level guarantee the cost will be the same...


May 20, 2010, 2:11 am

I like that green... yum mushy peas... wait that is a bad thing...


May 20, 2010, 3:45 am

No optical drive then? (And the other shortcomings aside - sod you all cos I love the orange!)


May 21, 2010, 8:53 pm

@darkspark88 Are you serious? Comparing a full featured netbook with a performance notebook? Totally different products.

@goldenguy How would you fit an optical drive in it? At this level all it needs is the card reader.

My opinion: a little cheaper it might be perfect, but depending on how solid and durable it is it might just be the perfect netbook. Not knowing the other colours this green looks like something you would buy for a child, though...

So stick a black one inside a leather pouch and it will look sweet in the next board of directors meeting.


May 21, 2010, 9:23 pm

Ooops... didn't see how pathetic the autonomy is...

Rachel Ingram

May 22, 2010, 3:21 am

@darkspark88 Can you install Windows on a Mac?

P.S. Im about new to this :)


May 24, 2010, 7:03 pm


"Ooops... didn't see how pathetic the autonomy is..." I assume you mean 'anatomy', or are you one of those laptopists who are against laptop independence? :)

@Rachel Ingram:

Yes, you can, especially now that the underlying hardware is virtually identical to that of a PC. There's loads of info about the various ways of running Windows on Apple systems out on the net, a quick Google search should provide in-depth reading on this topic.

Art p.

February 19, 2014, 10:05 pm

Wer can I get one in green?

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