Review Price to be confirmed
Sony VAIO S 15 (2012) Hands-on
We’ve already looked at the 13in VAIO S in Sony’s laptop stable, but what about the 15in version? It keeps the same premium aluminium body, flexible configuration options and great features, but throws a 1080p IPS screen into the mix to make for a slim, attractive 15in laptop bursting with appeal and potential.
Where design is concerned, if anything it’s even more attractive than its smaller 13in cousins. It’s not available in black or white, but rather comes in silver, really showing off its metal chassis. Its keyboard is flawlessly integrated, and its aqua keyboard backlighting is a great visual touch. Were it not for the confusion of buttons and indicators above its keyboard it would easily outclass the Samsung Series 7 Chronos 700Z5A.
Build quality is also superior to its smaller counterparts, as the lid feels more solid. The entire machine is relatively thin and undeniably sleek, and remaining under 2kg it’s very portable for what it packs in. Sony has gone for a slot-loading optical drive by default to maintain the S15’s slim lines, and this can be upgraded to a Blu-ray drive – unlike many slot-loading laptops, such as the aforementioned Chronos or the Dell XPS 15z, that don’t offer an HD disc player upgrade.
Connectivity is what you would expect from a premium 15in laptop, with headphone and microphone jacks on the left while the right houses twin memory card readers for SD and HG Duo, a Gigabit Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI for video, and twin USB 3.0 ports for hooking up fast external devices plus a single always-on USB 2.0 port for charging. On the wireless side of things we have Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 4. The VAIO S 15in also shares the 13in model’s physical power mode switch, HD webcam, and fingerprint reader for those who hate remembering passwords.
This 15in VAIO’s keyboard sports a full number pad, and typing on the large, well-spaced keys is generally a pleasure. Feedback is good with decent travel, though we couldn’t test the huge trackpad as the machine did not have an OS installed. This also made the screen difficult to assess, but we reckon it’s a pretty safe bet that an IPS panel with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 crammed into a 15.5in display is going to be an absolute winner.
Like the VAIO S13, specifications are fully configurable, with a choice of Intel processors, up to 8GB of RAM, and a choice of SSD, hybrid or pure HDD storage up to 1TB. An Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE provides dedicated graphics that should give you a bit of gaming leeway.
There’s more competition in the 15in market, but Sony appears to be staying ahead of the curve with the same great 15in 1080p IPS option offered on last year’s model. That by itself makes the VAIO S15 an interesting proposition, and when you throw in its other features we can’t wait to get it into our lab.