Notebookcheck

NBC on site: The Vaio Notebook Line-Up

by Sebastian Jensch 02/17/2010

Welcome the Spring with Sony

Sony equips its new Vaios with Intel's i3, i5, and i7 processors. Highlights are 13.3 inchers with an i7-620M beside four SSDs and FullHD. Consumers can be even more pleased about ATI's HD5650 moving into a 15.5 inch Vaio. The price of 799 euro (MSRP) is surprising. Apart from that, there is a CULV 13.3 incher with a SU7300. More inexpensive alternatives of the F11 range with other materials are also now available. The user can attract attention with the new CW 14 inchers. They're available in pink, violet-blue, white, red, and black.

Mobile 13 inchers, inexpensive gaming all-rounders, crazy colors and high-end bolides – Sony has them all in its range
Mobile 13 inchers, inexpensive gaming all-rounders, crazy colors and high-end bolides – Sony has them all in its range

Sony's road show virtually presented a firework of new Vaio models in the past weeks. Retailers and press could touch and try Sony's products. We ignored the FullHD camcorders and the 3D TVs and pounced on the Vaio notebooks. We weren't deterred by the simple names, like VPCEB1S1E/Wi or VPCY11S1E/S so short before our goal. If you can remember GPU names, you can also memorize such names with ease.

All-rounders in 13.3 inches - Sony Vaio VPCS11X9E/B

VPCS11X9E/B view
VPCS11X9E/B view

Customers want to be spoilt for choice when it comes to notebook buying decisions, so that they have many models to choose from. Sony has likely split up the SR range into an S and Y range for this reason. Both are 13.3 inchers. The new S11 range addresses mobile business persons or demanding private persons with its 3G module (HSUPA) and security features like a hard disk shock sensor. Merely the VPCS11M1E/W alternative lacks an integrated UMTS.

The high-end model, for example, is equipped with an illuminated keyboard. All models have an HDMI port, a FireWire socket and a docking connection on the base plate. The S11 is thus lavishly equipped with all connections.

Sony builds in Intel's Core i3- or i5 processors as the engine. An i3-330M (2.13 GHz) or an i5-520M (2.4 – 2.93 GHz), a 4 GB DDR3 RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 310M with a 512 MB GDDR3 VRAM are occupied as the standard.

An integrated light sensor (beside the Assist button) adjusts the display's brightness according to the surrounding light. Thus, the user doesn't have to use the FN key when he moves from the office to the balcony. The S11 user won't have the benefit of low reflections since matt display.

VPCS11X9E/B configuration
VPCS11X9E/B configuration
Audio ports detailed front
Audio ports detailed front

Basic Configuration S-Series
13.3 inch (33.8 cm) LED display (1366 x 768, 16:9)
Nvidia GeForce 310M, 512 MB GDDR3
4 GB DDR3 SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM drive
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Weight 2 kilograms

VPCS11M1E/W.G4 white, starting in week 07, 899 euro (MRSP)
320 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
Intel Core i3-330M processor (2.13 GHz)

VPCS11X9E/B.G4 black, starting in week 07, 999 euro (MRSP)
320 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
Intel Core i3-330M processor (2.13 GHz)
HSUPA module (7.2 / 5.76 Mbit/s)

VPCS11V9E/B.G4 black, starting in week 05, 1199 euro (MRSP)
500 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
Intel Core i5-520M processor (2.4 - 2.93 GHz)
HSUPA module (7.2 / 5.76 Mbit/s)
illuminated keyboard

Belated CULV consumer - Sony Vaio VPCY11S1E/S

The new Y range, also originating from the SR series, addresses consumers interested in mobility. The CPU performance isn't so important for this target group, as a CULV processor from Intel, the SU7300 (1.3 GHz) is used. It has already provided for a battery life of 5 to 10 hours in many test devices. Sony declares up to nine hours. The 13.3 incher is built agreeably stable, but light anyway with two kilograms and a robust magnesium case. An optical drive hasn't been built-in. However, a black USB DVD burner belongs to the scope of delivery.

Due to the already longer GS45 chip set use, a GMA 4500MHD integrated into the chip set is used. The user has to forgo on a dedicated Nvidia GPU, as in the S range, in favor of battery life.

VPC Y11S1E/S view
VPC Y11S1E/S view

VPCY11S1E/S.G4 silver, starting in week 03, 799 euro
320 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
Intel Core 2 Duo processor SU7300 (1.3 GHz)
13.3 inch (33.8 cm) LED-Display (1366 x 768, 16:9)
Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
4 GB DDR3 SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
No optical drive, USB DVD burner included
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Weight 2 Kilograms

VPC Y11S1E/S configuration
VPC Y11S1E/S configuration
external DVD drive
external DVD drive
Audio, FireWire details
Audio, FireWire details
VPC Y11S1E/S view
VPC Y11S1E/S view

Core i5 15 incher without bells and whistles - Sony Vaio VPCB11V9EB

VPC B11V9EB view
VPC B11V9EB view

The B series is the business all-rounder amongst the Vaio laptops. For example, an anti-glare display as well as Windows 7 Professional is used here. The VPCB11V9E/B is a 15.4 incher with an efficient Core i5-520M processor. The CPU supports turbo boost that allows an automatic overclocking depending on the requirement. Sony evaluates the business customer as a non-gamer and wavers on a dedicated graphic card. The image is rendered by an Intel HD, which is in the i5 processor.

The comparatively massive case is made of a magnesium alloy. The wide ranging keyboard has been placed in a depression, which is supposed to improve ergonomics. It's surprising that Sony doesn't integrate a numerical block. The display has a resolution of 1440x900 pixels (16:10) and therewith creates a clearly arranged desktop, on which even two windows fit beside each other.
VPCB11V9EB view

VPCB11V9EB silver, 1099 euro (MRSP)
500 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
Intel Core i5-520M processor (2.4 - 2.93 GHz)
15.4 inch (39.1 cm) anti-glare LED display (1440 x 900, 16:10)
Intel HD Graphics (in CPU)
4 GB DDR3 SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM drive
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Windows 7 Professional

VPC B11V9EB configuration
VPC B11V9EB configuration
VPC B11V9EB view
VPC B11V9EB view
Power button detailed
Power button detailed
Keyboard detailed
Keyboard detailed
DEpression detailed
DEpression detailed

Carbon Fiber Flat Pack remains in the range - Sony Vaio VPCX11S1EB

VPC X11S1EB view
VPC X11S1EB view

We're already acquainted with Sony's 11.1 inch carbon flat pack. It's supposed to provide the highest grade of mobility with its 780 grams and a HSUPA module. In terms of technology, it keeps its high clock rated Intel Atom Z540 with 1.86 GHz (533 MHz FSB) and a HD Ready resolution (1366x768). We could admire a rugged case for the expensive mite on the road show.

VPCX11S1EB black, available, 1499 euro (MRSP)
128 GB SSD (SATA, MLC)
Intel Atom Z540 (1.86 GHZ, 512KB, 533 FSB)
Intel GMA 500
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM (onboard)
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
HSUPA module (7.2 / 5.76 Mbit/s)

Core i7 goes 13.1 inches - Sony Vaio VPCZ11X9EB

VPC Z11Z9E/B view
VPC Z11Z9E/B view

The Vaio z range has always been a combination of highest technical performance and mobility. High-performance hasn't always been automatically connected to CPU power but often given by technically refined solutions. This time, Sony takes a try on both fields: Performance with a Core i7-620M and refinement with automatic switching between IGP and Nvidia graphics. This is not Nvidia's recently announced Optimus technology. As if that weren't enough, so-called Intel Quad-Solid State disks join in.

The slim 13.1 incher only weighs 1.35 kilograms despite components that come close to a bolide. That's the weight of a 10 inch netbook. The low weight is accomplished by a carbon case. We could convince ourselves of the good stability on site.

Either an i5-520M (VPCZ11X9E/B) or even a high performance i7-620M (2x 2.66 GHz; not a quad-core!)  (VPCZ11Z9E/B) work in both new Z models. The latter is equipped as a high-end model with a six gigabyte DDR3 RAM.

Both Z models are configurated with an Nvidia GeForce GT330M (1 GB GDDR3 VRAM) and integrated Intel HD graphics. The i7-620M is equipped with an embedded graphic. That isn't the case in other i7 CPUs, such as the 720QM. The hardware switch of the Dynamic Hybrid Graphic System can rest in three positions: Speed (dedicated), Stamina (IGP) and Auto (software selection). The switching takes place without image interruptions or waiting times. It is not Nvidia's Optimus (see Switchable Graphics 3.0) but Sony's own solution. The rendered image is displayed in either 1600x900 or in 1920x1080.

Dual versus Quad. The X9E/B alternative works with two SSD memories with 64 GB each. In the Raid 0 network (striping – increase without redundancy), which Sony calls Dual SSD here, the access and write rates of Intel's SSDs are supposed to turn out much higher as in single SSD solutions. 4 x 64 GB SSDs from Intel work in the high-end model (RAID 0).

Our impression: Sony tries to exceed itself and stuffs in everything that is technically possible. Astonishing is that an optical drive has even found a place. We're eager to find out how the cooling system will cope with 35 watts of computing power (without GPU). The matt FullHD display looks impressive and even has feasible viewing angles.

VPC Z11Z9E/B configuration
VPC Z11Z9E/B configuration
VPC Z11Z9E/B configuration
VPC Z11Z9E/B configuration

Basic Configuration Z11-Series
Nvidia GeForce GT 330M, 1 GB GDDR3 VRAM +
Intel HD Graphics (dynamic hybrid graphics)
DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM drive
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Dynamic Hybrid Graphics
HSUPA module (7.2 / 5.76 Mbit/s)
Windows 7 Professional 64Bit
Weight 1.35 Kilograms

VPCZ11X9E/B.G4 black, starting in week 11, 1899 euro (MRSP)
128 GB Dual-Solid State Disk (SATA, RAID 0, MLC)
13.1 inch (33.3 cm) LED-Display Premium (1600x900, 16:9)
Intel Core i5-520M processor (2.4 - 2.93 GHz)
4 GB DDR3-1066 SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)

VPCZ11Z9E/B.G4 black, starting in week 11, 2499 euro (MRSP)
256 GB Quad-Solid State Disk (SATA, RAID 0, MLC)
13.1 inch (33.3 cm) LED-Display Premium (1920x1080, 16:9)
Intel Core i7-620M processor (2.66 - 3.33 GHz)
6 GB DDR3-1066 SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
illuminated keyboard

VPC Z11Z9E/B configuration
VPC Z11Z9E/B configuration
Graphic switch (treble)
Graphic switch (treble)
VPCZ11Z9E/B keyboard
VPCZ11Z9E/B keyboard
VPCZ11Z9E/B lid
VPCZ11Z9E/B lid
Connections detailed
Connections detailed
Nvidia GT330M + Intel HD
Nvidia GT330M + Intel HD
VPCZ11Z9E/B front view
VPCZ11Z9E/B front view
Full HD versus 1600x900
Full HD versus 1600x900

15.5 inch consumer with a strong ATI graphic - Sony Vaio VPCEB1S1EW/I

VPC EB1S1EW/I view
VPC EB1S1EW/I view

Gaming enthusiasts can be pleased that Sony has selected an ATI Radeon HD 5650 (1 GB DDR3 VRAM). ATI's middle class GPU does its job in the 15.5 incher for 799 euro (MRSP). The graphic is supported by a Core Core i5-430M (2.26 GHz) for this price. An i3-330M is used in the somewhat cheaper EB1 alternative.

The display has a resolution of 1366x786 pixels. The data sheets speak of the newest Vaio display technology. We could hardly evaluate the contrasts on site, the viewing angles aren't the best in any case (see picture).

The customer is spoilt for choice in terms of colors. Aside the high-gloss white, there is silver, brown and metallic black. eSATA appears to be establishing itself as standard in connectivity. The port for connecting fast memory media is standardly on-board beside HDMI and ExpressCard34.

Our impression: Sony bids a technically interesting combination of an i5 processor with the best value for money ratio, an efficient graphic card and a big 500 GB hard disk. The HD 5650 should achieve between 6500 and 7000 3DMarks06 with the i5-430M (if Sony doesn't clock down the graphics very far again). For 800 euro, a Sony bargain.

VPCEB1S1EW/I, starting in week 11, 799 euro (MRSP)
500 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
Intel Core i5-430M (2.26 – 2.53 GHz)
15.5 inch (39.4 cm) LED-Display (1.366 x 768, 16:9)
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 1 GB GDDR3 VRAM
4 GB DDR3 SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM drive
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit

VPC EB1S1EW/I configuration
VPC EB1S1EW/I configuration
VPC EB1S1EW/I view
VPC EB1S1EW/I view
VPC EB1S1EW/I viewing angles
VPC EB1S1EW/I viewing angles
Keyboard detailed
Keyboard detailed
Numerical block detailed
Numerical block detailed
eSATA, HDMI, ExpressCard detailed
eSATA, HDMI, ExpressCard detailed
i3 sticker detailed
i3 sticker detailed
Metallic effekt detailed
Metallic effekt detailed

Shrill colors in 14 inches - Sony Vaio VPCCW2S1EP

VPCCW2S1E/W view
VPCCW2S1E/W view

If you want to attract attention, you'll make your decision based only on looks and not specifications. Sony reserves the second CW range generation for these customers. The 14 inchers have a colorful finish and are supposed to serve multimedia needs. Five trendy colors are at the start: Violet-blue, pink, red, black, and white.

VAIO Gate contributes to a clean desktop. We've already seen the navigation bar on the display's upper edge in the 16 inch F11. The confusing amount of desktop links is eliminated, as frequently used links are simply moved into the gate.

Configuration CW-Series
320 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
Intel Core i3-330M processor (2.13 GHz)
14 inch (35.5 cm) LED-Display (1.366 x 768, 16:9)
Nvidia GeForce GT 330M, 512 MB GDDR3 VRAM
4 GB DDR3 SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM drive
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit

VPCCW2S1E/W.G4 white, starting in week 03, 899 euro (MRSP)
VPCCW2S1E/R.G4 red, starting in week 03, 899 euro (MRSP)
VPCCW2S1E/P.G4 pink, starting in week 03, 899 euro (MRSP)
VPCCW2S1E/L.G4 violet-blue, starting in week 03, 899 euro (MRSP)
VPCCW2S1E/B.G4 black, starting in week 03, 899 euro (MRSP)

VPC CW2S1E/W configuration
VPC CW2S1E/W configuration
VPC CW2S1E/W view
VPC CW2S1E/W view
Wrist-rest detailed
Wrist-rest detailed
Logo detailed
Logo detailed
VPCCW2S1E/W lid view
VPCCW2S1E/W lid view
VPCCW2S1E/W white
VPCCW2S1E/W white
VPCCW2S1E/W violet-blue view
VPCCW2S1E/W violet-blue view
Wrist-rest detailed
Wrist-rest detailed

The "Studio" among the Vaio notebooks starting at 999 euro - Sony Vaio VPCF11M1EH

VPCF11M1E/H.G4 Titanium Gray 999 euro (MRSP)
VPCF11M1E/H.G4 Titanium Gray 999 euro (MRSP)

The F range, which we could recently review extensively in the VPC-F11Z1/E, was also on site. The 16.4 incher isn't only available in the high-end configuration for 1499 euro (MRSP), but also in more inexpensive versions. The smallest model with an i5-520M processor, FullHD display doesn't have an anti-reflective coating.

All F11 models have the good connectivity in common. Even professional users won't be left wishing for much more. eSATA, i.LINK (FireWire), HDMI, VGA, and even S/PDIF are on board.

Our impression: In particular the 999 euro model in titanium gray doesn't appear to be as high-end in terms of looks and feel as the other models. The glare display also shows weaknesses in the viewing angles (see picture). The wrist-rest of the premium model (see review) is made of the same material as the grip surfaces of Sony's SLR pro cameras. The wrist-rests of the other models is made of plastic, which doesn't feel very high-end.

VPCF11S1E/B view
VPCF11S1E/B view
Matt Full HD
Matt Full HD

Basic Configuration F11
Nvidia GeForce GT 330M, 1 GB GDDR3 VRAM
500 GB hard disk (SATA, 5400 rpm)
LAN 10/100/1000 MBit, Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Windows 7 Home Premium (64 Bit)

VPCF11Z1E/BI.G4 Premium black, starting in week 03, 1499 euro (MRSP)
Intel Core i7-720QM processor (1.6 GHz)
16.4 inch (41.6 cm) anti-glare VAIO Display Premium (1920x1080, 16:9)
8 GB DDR3-SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
BluRay burner BD-R/-RE/-ROM/ DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM

VPCF11C4E/B.AE1 black, starting in week 04, 1399 euro (MRSP)
Like the F11Z1E/BI.G4 but with inferior wrist-rest quality, slightly different color and only DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM drive.

VPCF11S1E/B.G4 black, starting in week 03, 1299 euro (MRSP)
Intel Core i7-720QM processor (1.6 GHz)
16.4 inch (41.6 cm) anti-glare VAIO Display Premium (1920x1080, 16:9)
6 GB DDR3-SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
BluRay player BD ROM/ DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM

VPCF11M1E/H.G4 titanium gray, starting in week 05, 999 Euro (MRSP)
Intel Core i5-520M processor (2.4 GHz)
16.4 inch (41.6 cm) glare VAIO Display Premium (1920x1080, 16:9)
4 GB DDR3-SDRAM (2/2 occupied, max. 8 GB)
BluRay player BD ROM/ DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM

VPCF11Z1E/BI lid
VPCF11Z1E/BI lid
VPCF11M1E/H 999 euro model configuration
VPCF11M1E/H 999 euro model configuration
VPCF11M1E/H connections detailed
VPCF11M1E/H connections detailed
VPCF11M1E/H lid
VPCF11M1E/H lid
VPCF11M1E/H.G4 wrist-rest of the 999 euro model in titanium gray
VPCF11M1E/H.G4 wrist-rest of the 999 euro model in titanium gray
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > NBC on site: The Vaio Notebook Line Up
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2010-02-22 (Update: 2012-05-26)