Posted by: kurtsh | August 31, 2011

INFO: Introducing… my new Sony Vaio S!

clip_image002Okay, so the story goes – I won a laptop a couple months ago and had to wait for its delivery.  The problem is that I didn’t know what laptop it was or what its specs were. 

I hypothesized that it might be the Sony Vaio Z here in this post I wrote on my other blog.  But I really didn’t know.  All I knew was that it was a Sony and that it was a well-equipped business laptop.

Lo-and-behold:  It arrived but it’s not the Sony Vaio Z…
…it’s the Sony VAIO S (Model VPCSA25GX)

Here’s some of the basic physical specs:

  • Black matte finish
  • 13.3” antiglare screen
  • 3.6lbs in weight (about 1lb more than the Samsung Series 9)
  • .92” in thickness (.24” thicker than the Samsung Series 9)
  • 5.9 Windows Experience Index (Samsung Series 9 has a 4.7)

Most importantly, what was given to me is NOT the cheapo stock “VAIO S” laptop that you see on the front page of the Sony web site for $899.  It’s a much higher-end professionally configured model with a retail sticker price of $1949.  Yeah.  Seriously.  And I got it free for me to keep!  And I never win anything!

And this is what it comes with:   (Noted “Technological improvements” over my existing Samsung Series 9 are highlighted in BOLD)

  • Intel® Core™ i5-2410M processor (2.30GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 2.90GHz
    2nd Generation “Sandy Bridge” CPU w/ clock speeds almost twice that of the Samsung Series 9’s 1.4GHz
  • NEW Intel Z68 Chipset
    Including Intel Rapid Storage Technology for SSD caching of magnetic storage; Samsung had older P67 chipset which lacked RST & Hybrid Graphics (see below)
  • BOTH Intel integrated-graphics GPU & discrete AMD Radeon™ HD 6630M (1GB VRAM)
    • 50% better graphics performance over the Samsung Series 9
    • Supports “Hybrid Graphics mode”, enabling low-power integrated-graphics GPU use for most operations & high-performance AMD Radeon GPU for higher octane games & more demanding graphics requirements
  • LCD display with 1600×900 screen resolution
    Much greater display real estate for doing work
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM (max 8GB)
    User upgradeable near as I can tell to 8GB by installing a single 4GB DDR3 DIMM into open slot –
  • Trusted Platform Module 1.2 (TPM chip)
    Yes, DirectAccess & BitLocker work
  • 7.5hr battery
    with optional add on-extended battery for an additional 7.5hrs
  • Built-in 3G Cellular Networking
    with AT&T/T-Mobile SIM
  • Intel Wireless Display
    Sends display & stereo audio wirelessly to your home HDTV if it has a WiDi receiver
  • 256GB Solid State Drive
    Twice the capacity of the Samsung Series 9
  • Built-in CD/DVD player/burner
  • 720p HD Exmor embedded WebCam + Microphone
  • Fingerprint biometric reader
  • Integrated VGA port, full size HDMI port, full SDflash slot, integrated gigabit ethernet port
  • Physical switch for laptop “performance” vs. “battery life”
  • Physical on/off switch for laptop wireless adapter
  • Multitouch trackpad with palm detection & physical buttons
    Dependable pointing device requiring no adjustments
  • Backlit island-style keyboard
  • Intel Centrino-based Wireless Ethernet WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
    (Improved range in WiFi mostly due to antenna placement)
  • 1xUSB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1/A2DP stereo (and a memory stick slot – meh)

One thing: 

  • The power brick is MUCH larger than the Samsung’s.  It’s more than twice as big and 3x as heavy.
  • The device is definitely thicker than the Samsung and not as light either.  It resembles a more traditional laptop instead of an ultrabook-style device.
  • The styling isn’t as attractive as the Samsung.  Clearly the Samsung was designed more for the executive-on-the-go.  This Sony Vaio S is more utilitarian.

This is one heck of a laptop and a solid technological improvement over the Samsung Series 9 in trade off for portability & styling. 

If you:

  • Want twice the CPU speed
  • Want twice the SSD storage
  • Want to play Crysis 2 or Starcraft 2 with better graphic detail
  • Need a built-in DVD player or built-in 3G cellular networking
  • Need the availability of an extended battery for 15hrs of use
  • Hate VGA or Ethernet dongles

…and don’t mind the heavier, .24” thicker, less stylish form factor with a similar profile, this may very well be the laptop for you to check out.


If you need to update the drivers – although the machine was only manufactured last month – go here:


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