I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a Sony fan-boy, but I have been fond of the brand for many years having owned and reviewed several of their products across a wide range of applications. Therefore it’s interesting to note that this is the first time I have ever even laid a finger on a Sony VAIO laptop.
So I was quite excited to play around with the new VAIO F Series and see what all the fuss is about, especially when I could put it up against a comparable machine in my Dell XPS Studio 16 laptop.
There are two main differences between the two machines, the first being processing power. This is the first VAIO range to feature the new Intel Core i7 processor that enables effective parallel processing and delivers blistering speeds while multitasking. This quad-core processor is enhanced with ‘Turbo Boost Technology’ (yep, that’s the official name for it) which, along with 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM and nVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M graphics chip with CUDA™ technology makes the F-Series ideal for gaming or other graphics-intensive tasks.
Despite all this processing power, the F-Series runs considerably quieter and cooler than the XPS which is always an advantage when it comes to portable computing.
The other main difference is the inclusion of a Blu-Ray writer disc drive – something that makes the F-Series a very cost-effective purchase when you can use the HDMI output as part of your home entertainment system.
Aesthetically I found the F-Series to be quite boring, not that a laptop needs to be flashy, but the matte black outer shell with matching underneath and leather-like textured palm rest seems pretty safe when compared to other brands. I’m also not a fan of the square, separated rubber keys with no contours. They initially reminded me of an old Sinclair ZX82, which is taking it to extremes, but also reminded me of the new Apple slimline keyboards that I just can’t stand.
The Weight-wise the XPS and the F-Series are indistinguishable in the hand with the F-Series 16.4”coming in at 3.1kg.
Perhaps my biggest gripe with the F-Series is the underwhelming built-in speakers. They sound very tinny and lack any decent bass whatsoever – which makes using them for movie playback an unpleasant experience.
These things aside, the F-Series is cheaper than the Dell XPS equivalent, and when you throw in the added Blu-Ray drive it makes for a great buy if your considering a laptop for gaming, video, graphics and entertainment purposes.
Sony VAIO F Series
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