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Design And Features
Playing Catch-Up In The Ultrabook Game
The Sony VAIO T is the first true Ultrabook to come from the Japanese tech giant, ever since the concept was revealed at last year’s CES. During that time, most of the major PC manufacturers introduced their take on what was supposed to be thin, sexy, and affordable. Sony went out of their way, however, to produce a notebook – the Sony VAIO Z – that symbolizes what an Ultrabook should be. The VAIO Z had everything an Ultrabook wishes it had: A full HD screen, super thin and light body (16.65mm, 1.17kg), super fast SSD and even a Power Media Dock (comes with a discrete GPU) that turned it into powerful little machine. One could even say that it was ahead of its time.
Unfortunately, the VAIO Z was also targeted as a premium product and couldn't answer the “affordable” aspect of a typical Ultrabook in a manner that satisfies mass consumers. However it’s a question which Sony hopes the new 13.3-inch VAIO T can answer successfully. At a glance, the Sony VAIO T does resemble the more powerful VAIO Z, but it differs slightly in terms of height (17.8mm) and weight (1.6kg). The build materials used for the VAIO T are also different. Instead of carbon fiber, Sony opted to deck the VAIO T in silver colored aluminum alloy (lid), silver colored magnesium alloy (palmrest) and plastic (bottom).
Sony, being known for its flamboyant notebook designs, managed to blend the three different materials quite well in one handsome notebook design. The overall look of the machine doesn’t exactly make you gasp in amazement, but it hardly disappoints either. The diverse materials used also help to keep the weight of the machine down and keeps the price in check as well. However we noticed that at 1.6kg, it does weigh quite a bit more than other Ultrabooks (average of 1.3kg and below). So do take note of this point before you decide to make your purchase.
As a reasonably priced (PhP 49,999), portable multimedia machine, the VAIO T does its job fairly well. Having said that, given a 13.3-inch screen and a rather standard 1366 x 768-pixel screen resolution, it doesn’t immediately stand out from the sea of the first generation Ultrabooks already in the market. At this point in time, many people are expecting a slightly higher resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels for better productivity and screen clarity. Screen matters aside, the speakers on the machine sounded adequate, as Sony adds the newly developed xLOUD speakers and "Clear Phase" audio correction technology. They're not the best we've heard from an Ultrabook, but they do sound much better than the fairly weak ones found on the VAIO Z.
There are also some gimmicky things added in the software side, like the gesture control which works via the embedded webcam. Theoretically, it’s great to be able to control your notebook – particularly the VAIO’s Media Gallery features – with gestures. Although when we tried it, we found that it doesn’t work all the time. Granted, being the first integration so far on a VAIO device, it could still use some improvements and fine-tuning, but it’s a cool feature to have nonetheless.
For a more thorough discussion of the VAIO T’s physical aspects, read on.
Next: Specifications, performance benchmarks, and conclusion.
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